Hue is a puzzle-platformer which has you traversing a 2d grey mono-tone world, unleashing the power of colour to bring vibrance to the bleak underlying landscape – altering it to overcome creative challenges.
As you journey through the world you discover and unlock new colours which are permanently added to your skill pallet, allowing you to change the world’s background to that colour from that point on – and with that, eliminating obstacles of the same colour. This is the core of the game’s mechanic.
The game is one of those clear examples of how clever game mechanics and atmosphere can trump general art direction. The graphic are quite simple and blank, yet work in the context – though under difference circumstances it could easily be mistaken for placeholder art.
The character animation are particularly lacklustre, with walk cycles often being sold through mere foot shuffling …but it works. Let it be a case study to those spending years polishing up their animation dope sheets and keyframes. Such is the nature of indie – finding that time effective balance between design and mechanics.
Hue is at times a slow game with an intentionally leisurely pace. There are pockets of consecutive puzzles, though more often than not, they are spaced out between long empty corridors with little more than atmospheric purpose. It’s a game design trick, creating the illusion of size. The technique is welcome when used in moderation, although I felt in Hue it was used quite liberally. Cleverly, the designers placed some physics objects to knock about in some of these bridging sections, toys essentially – which helps keep the mundane at bay.
A large part of Hue‘s appeal is it’s highly atmospheric wrapping; with 30 beautiful music tracks to caress your ear drums, It’s no surprise that is has won dozens of awards for design and creative excellence.
The learning curve is slow and gradual, with most early puzzles being no-brainers. It wasn’t until I collected my 4th colour that things started to become interesting and precarious. Again, a subjective experience by one who is typically used to faster paced action oriented titles. It was a refreshing change of pace though, and combined with the quasi colour therapy, it does a efficient job at creating that chill factor, made famous by game’s like Journey.
As the game progresses, the creativity of the puzzles becomes quite impressive with simple blocks being used in unique combinations to create quite inventive and sophisticated challenges.
Hue is primarily a puzzler, with few ‘platforming’ moments. Unusually the player has a delayed jump which makes fast paced platforming difficult. You must hit the jump button a good half second earlier than a typical platformers like Super Mario – As a result, where the game does choose to play the platformer card, there is deep well of frustration to be found.
If you are into block and sequence puzzles I’d highly recommend taking Hue for a ride – There are a few slow and mundane moments early on, but once pushed though, the game rewards you with a plethora of inventive challenges that will be sure test your cognition and finger dexterity.
Available on Ps4, Steam, Xbox and PSVita