Review: Colour Bind (PC)
Colour Bind is an indie physics platform puzzler that plays with gravity, seeking to boggle your mind and test your reflexes. Does it succeed?
Let me start by saying that Colour Bind is unlike anything I’ve played before and as a fan of many types of games that’s saying a lot. Sure, I’ve played puzzle games, puzzle platform games and even physic based platforming, but never all three combined to the degree you see here. Throw in a novel gravity system based on primary colors, plus their combinations, and you have a challenging array of levels to get through that will test not only your mind, but your fingers as well. Make no mistake about it, Colour Bind is a hard game, one with a brutal difficulty and some of the most devious solutions to puzzles I’ve ever seen.
The underlying concept behind the game is simple, though it doesn’t remain that way for long. You control a two-wheeled vehicle armed with the ability to inflate your tires (an jump basically), and are tasked with reaching a triangle composed of the three primary colors; which is most often easier said than done. The vehicle will begin the level a certain color, and at the bottom of your screen you will see the current gravity orientation of each color designated by an arrow. For instance green may be up, blue may be to the left and red may drag your car downward. If your car is red that means gravity would work as per normal and you would simply drive forward through the level navigating toward your triangle. Gravity and colors are never fixed though, red may be down one level and up the next.
Very soon you’ll be introduced to the idea that different colored lasers that cross the screen will change whatever passes through them to the color of the laser, hence affecting their gravity. So if your red car passes through a green laser, and green is currently up, than your car will turn green and sail to the ceiling affected by physics as it travels. Sometimes there will be different shapes within the level that are able to be moved and these are subject to the same concepts that your vehicle is. If you smack something that is green through a red laser suddenly it’s plunging downward (if indeed that is the current orientation of red). Even the intensity of the gravity can be changed, which means that suddenly you can jump higher once you use a switch to lower the intensity of the downward gravity or, conversely, make gravity more powerful; which could let you navigate a section with jumps that you can’t jump high on. In addition certain-colored switches will affect same colored doors and change the flow of gravity of the same color. You start to see where the challenge comes in.
Colour Bind is the best kind of platformer, one that’s simple, but complex with a difficulty that gets layered on until the game becomes extremely challenging and ultimately rewarding. Again, let me stress that this game is not an easy puzzle game and just being smart won’t cut it, you’ll also have to be quick and fast of finger. Coming up with a solution to the puzzle is just the first step, implementing it through a series of increasingly difficult physics based jumps and gravity switches is the rest. Honestly, the physics can be one of the worst parts of the game as movements and especially jumps feel very imprecise and floaty. There were moments where I knew what I had to do, but couldn’t manage it because of how unwieldy jumping can be. Inflating your tires while going too fast will launch you end over end, while going too slow might not be enough. If you are more on your front tire you will only bounce on it lowering the height of your jump, whereas jumping with both wheels on the ground bounces you higher and straight up.
As far as graphics and music are concerned it would be being kind to call Colour Bind intentionally minimalistic. The game reminds me of old school vector graphics, and the four music tracks are mixed throughout the game repeatedly in different ways. Combined it makes a game that is pretty bland to look and listen to, and it brings down the overall package. Of course, gameplay is king here being a puzzler, but it’s certainly something that gives an overall lack of polish to the experience that sullies the experience.
The amazing thing though is that the game, with all its reliance on color, manages to be one of the most color blind friendly games out there. With multiple settings you can adjust and cues within the games to help color blind players, even someone with a severe version of the disability should be able to progress through the game. It’s a real testamaent to the skill of Finn Morgan that he was able to make that happen. With 50 levels and 20 co-op levels the game can be over pretty quickly depending on how awesome you are, but the addition of a level creator should add longevity to the experience. Those who will get the most bang for their buck are those who love to set records and beat them; striving to beat each level with the best time.
Colour Bind is an innovative and expertly programmed puzzler that suffers from a lack of visual and musical flair, combined with an often imprecise and floaty feeling physics system that can leave a person frustrated. There were a couple of times that I got utterly stuck with a jump and felt like I lucked into making it finally; in a game that is all about the reward of figuring your way through a level that can be a bad feeling. I also felt through much of the game that maybe PC isn’t the best platform for the game and couldn’t help but think that this game would be a smash hit on iOS at a slightly lower price. All of these things aside though if you enjoy puzzlers, and can get past the great difficulty curb, imprecise jumping, and lackluster presentation than I believe you’ll find a great amount of entertainment with this indie game.
A copy of this title was provided to The Paranoid Gamer for reviewing purposes. To purchase the game from Steam visit this site.