As some of you hardcore fans of World of Warcraft probably already know, there was an expansion due out on 30th August which fortunately I had the privilege of receiving a copy for review. (stay tuned!) Fortunately as well I also received a copy of Hue, but I was a little concerned with how I’d manage to find time for both of them, since the last time I played WoW I actually grew a beard in one sitting… and trust me I’m not a fast grower…
Fortunately though, Hue stands tall and… dare I say this… It’s actually THE best indie game that I have played in a long, long time. As some of you may know, the game was recently released on August 30th 2016 on Steam, Xbox and PlayStation 4. The game was developed by Fiddlesticks and published by Curve Digital and sees you take control of a young and smart chap by the name of… yep, you guessed it! Hue!
Hue is in possession of a colour ring, which allows him to change the background of his current map by selecting a particular colour, which he unlocks more and more of through playing the various puzzles and maps that inhabit the game. It’s not just a puzzle game though, as Hue contains some quite interesting story regarding his Mother and her background. Whilst going through the various maps and puzzles you will learn about how Hue’s Mother created the colour ring, only to have it disregarded by Doctor Grey, you’ll also learn about how she and Dr Grey had many a good time and bad together, and how she’s gotten herself into the predicament that she’s in, which now see’s Hue trying to rescue her.
The game’s natural beauty highlights an important topic within current society, one that we all take for granted and that’s being colourblind. As you begin to play through the game, you begin to realise how people with the ability to see colours actually take such a simple thing for granted, with the story line even going as far as to document that the mother’s first time seeing colours as a thing of pure beauty and amazement.
We can’t talk about puzzle games without actually mentioning the puzzles! Whilst some of the puzzles for the first couple of hours are relatively straightforward and pose no actual threat, towards the end of the first couple of hours you will have to start thinking a little bit, especially when you begin to get 4-5 different colours.
How it works is that as you receive the colours, you can use the colour wheel to change the background and in doing so, each puzzle you encounter will require you to change the background to different things in order to continue proceeding through the maps. Whilst your changing the colours though, various objects with the same colour in the front layer of the game will disapear, as if they are blended into the background. For example, on one of the levels, you have to climb upwards. As you change the colour to blue, you can see the red box that you need to jump onto, but you can’t see anywhere to go to from there, but if you change the colour to green, then you will see both the red box and the blue box.
This is a very clever form of gameplay, not one that I’d ever thought to be so challenging if I’m completely honest, and although I consider myself a pretty smart guy there were several situations that I had to actually sit down and go through before I could come up with the answer. In the worst case situation, you will probably end up dead, which is okay because if you do then you respawn at the start of the map, the only downside is that it will undo all of that hard work you’ve done, so not a game changer, but can be a tad frustrating.
As I briefly touched on before, the game is incredibly well designed and it’s beautiful and sleek designs fit in well with the puzzles that you encounter. There’s never an instance where two objects are the same, and it’s very apparent that a lot of time and attention has gone into the preparation of the game and this really pays off.
As far as sound go, the music fits the tone of gameplay very well, and it’s very similar to Minecraft in that it’s soft and subtle music which doesn’t take away from the serious story line which is happening. The voices through the game are very clear and well received and you even have subtitles incase you feel like you want to read the story as well.
Whilst I’d love to put something really horrible and negative about the game, I really can’t think of anything. Hue has got everything that you require from a puzzle game. It’s relatively easy at the start, but gradually gets more difficult on a very nice and smooth curve. The graphics and sound are very relevant to the setting that you are playing and don’t remove anything from the gameplay. The story line is serious, but not so serious that you get pulled into it so much that it becomes overly serious and starts to underline the primary purpose of the game. Finally, this isn’t a game which has been made just to make money. Yes that’s probably one of the main reasons why this game was released, but it also highlights a very important issue within society.
Even once you have all the colours and can see the game beginning to come to a close, you begin scaling up the mountains and make your way to the University to go save dear ol’e Mother. But even once this is done, you still have many caves that you previously couldn’t explore to lurk through, many puzzles to go and solve, and even some nice little mini rewards to pick up so you can finally finish off those trophies.
The game has a lot of things going for it, and after a brief look on the website I could see just how many awards it’s picked up, and quite frankly each one of those awards is completely justified. It does a great job in sucking you into a fantastic story line and spending hours on solving puzzles that I consider it one of the best puzzle games and indie games that I’ve played in a long time.
This is definitely a developer and publisher to keep an eye on and definitely something to pick up if you have a bit of spare cash in your pocket.
Quote: “Change your perception of fun and colour with Hue”