Is there more to life than what is in front of us? Hue tackles this question through both its story and its gameplay focusing on the use of colors to guide you through its world. It is certainly a game that blends its fun and colorful world with difficult, mind-boggling puzzles to solve as you discover the mysterious world of Hue.
Uncovering a mystery is at the forefront of the game’s story. You control Hue, a young boy who is on a quest to find his mother who has become invisible due to a fallout with Dr. Grey, a University professor. As you progress, you find that your mom has been leaving little notes that give little bits of context and background to your quest. On your journey as Hue, you are tasked with collecting various colors that go onto your color wheel in your ultimate goal to find your mom in the invisible spectrum.
The color wheel brings an interesting mechanic to the game. While Hue is a platformer through and through, it incorporates the need to be focused and alert as you switch between the colors to maneuver through the game’s various puzzles. This allows the game to be a more active and, ultimately, a fun experience. No longer are you mindlessly walking through a level in the hopes to reach the next checkpoint. In Hue you are encouraged to quickly switch between colors to help navigate around the world.
You might also be wondering, what if i’m colorblind? Well have no fear, cause Hue is a handcrafted experience. It seems developer Fiddlesticks thought of, and tackled the problems that would allow for anyone to play Hue. Through the colorblind mode you will see symbols located in the middle of each colored obstacle which makes for an easy and simple fix for the colorblind gamer. It can also help even if you are not colorblind, as the symbols might even help navigating obstacles that much easier.
While the color switching mechanic is welcome and brings a fresh and fun new gameplay tool into the platforming genre, it does make the game that much more difficult. Instead of approaching a certain obstacle by mindlessly jumping from platform to platform, you have to quickly learn where the colors are on the wheel in order to successfully complete levels. Despite the game slowing down for you while color swapping, you cannot afford to dawdle along and casually switch colors.
At the beginning the game allows you to come to grips with the color swapping mechanic which is nice and pedestrian. But things eventually come thick and fast in Hue. Obstacles become trickier to get by, and the puzzles become more punishing towards the latter parts of the game. Couple this with a need to restart the whole level if you die, it makes the game that much more difficult. Levels are sectioned off into rooms in a cave, which means that you don’t have to start from the beginning of the area. But that doesn’t mean that you should walk aimlessly towards failure.
Careful analysis and focus are the keys to success in Hue. If you are not careful enough, you will end up being stuck on a level for quite a while. Also, having to start the level from scratch after you have discovered a part of the puzzle is ultimately frustrating, but once you power through the level, and use your wits to complete it, you will feel like a puzzle god.
As you go through Hue you will notice that it is as difficult as it is fun. However, hopefully you will also notice the art style, which complements the gameplay’s fun and difficult nature. The characters are all in black and white with the puzzles and backgrounds providing all the colors. Maybe this fits into Hue’s theme of perception? Who knows. But what I do know is that Hue is a beautifully crafted experience. The design of the characters gives off an Adventure Time sort of vibe, while the level design makes it feel like everything was placed into the world with a purpose. From the long empty corridors to the hectic puzzle sections, Hue is definitely a unique experience.
Hue will make you both smile, and rip your hair out. The gameplay demands full focus if you don’t want to be discouraged by the constant deaths and subsequent restarting of levels. Despite the punishment that it doles out for a death that comes through minutes of arduous thinking and planning, Hue is a platforming experience unlike any that I have encountered before. Couple this with a charming art style, it makes this game a memorable experience, and one that you should consider sinking your teeth into.