Note: This review contains mild spoilers due to the reveal of the whole obtainable color palate and nothing more. Otherwise, the remaining parts, including the storyline section are spoiler-less for your enjoyment.
Hue is a platforming indie PS4 game about a guy that discovers that he happens to have an item that contains the power to change the colors of the background to get through deadly hazards and blockages after he embarks on a quest from a series of letters by someone or something antiquated with him scattered throughout the land.
Storyline As hue goes through his journey to repair a ring that was destroyed in a conflict between the author of the letters and a mad doctor, more is revealed about him and the writer of the letters that he collects and it not only gets into some deep moments involving life, they also reveal how each color affected them and the environments around them as the tale from the letters went until the end of the journey, where their goal from back then and Hue's true objective of his journey is crystal clear and brings a satisfying end result.
Characters There are only a few characters that get fleshed out as the game goes since they only get developed through the letters. Hue is a silent protagonist, but while he doesn't have much of a personality and is basically a self-insert protagonist, the letters do reveal his origin and the person that he aims to save while being guided to wield the power of manipulating the colors of his surroundings by a cloaked figure who is helping him by directing him to the colors along with the end goal. The author of the letter is revealed to be very close to Hue and turns out to be a very deep and philosophical person as they tell Hue things about each other alongside each color that Hue obtains, one-by-one. Eventually, there is also a letter by one other person, whom was also acquainted with Hue somehow, but he manages to also be developed in the other person's letters for most of the game.
Gameplay (and Graphics)
Hue happens to be a side-scrolling 2D-animated game, and as advertised, Hue is armed with nothing but a ring that can manipulate colors and once Hue obtains a color, he can change the background to make hazards and blockages disappear alongside the reveal of some doorways. Sometimes, players have to change colors while moving on some harder stages, including those with movable hazards like boulders, lazers and skulls.. The color swapping is mostly easy to utilize, but the people that are color-blind are not out of luck either since there's a setting that places symbols on the color palate. However, that only makes select stages more easier as others are still more difficult whether color-blind mode is on or not. Ladders and other non-hazardous and movable platforms, including colored and black crates can be used and in the case of the colored boxes and walls, can either help Hue on the way or kill him in the case of certain hazards like the springs that can change color when Hue jumps on them in later areas. There isn't a life system, so if players die, they have to start the stage over again from scratch, but if the collect any beakers and then die, then the beakers are still kept when they respawn.
The hidden secret beakers happen to be a collectable item for a gold trophy to satisfy those that are into collecting achievements, but some of them require Hue to at least have access to a color that is further into the game than the area while others can be easy to miss. As for some specific mechanics, through the pause menu, levels can be restarted from the entry point, the game can be restarted from square one, the credits can be accessed at any time and you can go to a map that can warp you into specific areas that you have set foot into along with revealing how many beakers that you can collect in that specific area. There is also a cross-save cloud function that can be used in case of accidentally starting a new game. On the graphics department, the simple, 2D based world where the locations have simple designs and the people are figures that look similar to Mr. Game and Watch happen to be very easy to get used to as players go along without being too simple. The color changes to the areas, including among the effective items are very clever to see when activated and even more clever when learning of what they affect besides the background.
Other Pros and Cons The music happens to mostly be piano based and while some of them are relaxing, others are either ominous or omit a sense a danger in other areas and levels and each track manages to each feel very fitting to the game on all angles. The other mechanics like the map warps are extremely useful for areas that players want to re-visit when going on beaker hunts after getting through at least most of the game and it happens to have a good length of hours to add when it comes to the challenging puzzles in later areas. Characters can also be interacted with through the Square button as a reaction button, but while some are story relevant, others mostly involve the environment that they are in (including running into them in one lone case) and some have different messages after clearing the game. Some mechanics like pushing and pulling crates are explained as you run into these items for the first time. One other major pro is that the game also makes use of the Dualshock 4 light bar as it contains the same colors as the game's palate and switches to a chosen color at will. On the neutral side, those that love to speedrun may also have a good time with this game as it can be beaten in a day at the quickest and it may take very long depending on the puzzles contained. With the exception of a trophy area, there are no glitched parts about in the game.
On the other hand, not all the mechanics are hinted at or explained anywhere, especially in the case of the map being able to warp players back into startup areas as it could lead them to thinking that some areas are impossible to return from and have to start over from square one and lose their new game plus powers. Some puzzles may be way too much to some to go through and as of the beaker hunts, they are mostly better suited for a new game plus run instead of an initial run in the case of the late game areas due to their difficulty and is also the only challenging trophy to get for those that are into collecting hard-to-get achievements due to the rest of them being able to get very easily. (There is also no Platinum trophy about for those that were wondering.) This is definitely not for those that aren't into games where excessive raging can come naturally as there are many ways to die or fail if players aren't careful enough. Three particular areas (or two since going back to one of these rooms after leaving resets it to just one color) in the game can have the colors either change at a concerningly fast speed or get automatically swapped at a set speed to prevent seizures, but be very careful about even playing the game in the first place if you are prone to seizures or other related health problems.
Final Verdict After going through mounds of upsetting and hilarious fails, including ones where I couldn't tell pink from purple, I thought the payoff was great enough for the Absolutely Nice rating. Definitely give this game a try if you want a challenge for the small price that it has. Well worth the rage moments that I had with this game and hopefully well worth it for other players as well.
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