Hue Review

By Andy Mills, 4 months ago
Beginning with games like Super Meat Boy, LIMBO and Braid all of those years ago, the indie-developed platformer has become quite the crowded genre nowadays. Often simple in terms of controls, each has their own unique twist, whether in terms of visuals or mechanics, around which the game is focused. Does this latest addition to the genre, Hue, and its colour wheel mechanic make it stand out from the crowd, or does it fade into the background?

It's pretty dull right now, but that will soon changeIt's pretty dull right now, but that will soon change

You play as titular character Hue, a mute boy -- at least to us -- although he does seem to talk to others even if we never see or hear him say anything, He's trying to find his mother (the game's female narrator) after an event that has caused her to turn invisible. To do this, Hue must collect colours from a mysterious robed person who appears repeatedly throughout the game. The game's story is told in the form of letters that are scattered throughout the world as a means for the narrator to communicate with Hue and the player, revealing more and more of what happened as the game goes on. The story is intriguing enough whilst playing to want to continue through the game to find out more, although once it's over it won't be remembered for very long.

As mentioned above, these games tend to have simple controls and Hue is no different. Only four commands are used. cn_LS allows you to move and go through doors, while cn_A will jump. cn_X functions as an "action" button that allows you to both interact with other people in the world and move wooden blocks about. Finally, cn_RS controls the game's unique mechanic: the colour wheel. Starting off solely with aqua, you'll gain more colours throughout the game as you progress with a total of eight different colours by the end. These colours will change the background of the game's various levels to help players to solve the game's various puzzles.

You'll never tire of looking at the game, at the very leastYou'll never tire of looking at the game, at the very least

The game's puzzles start off fairly simply; for example, players will use a colour to make a block disappear and to allow Hue to pass through. Gradually the puzzles not only become more difficult mentally as their complexity increases, but they also become more physically difficult due to the quick reactions that are required. Whilst no puzzle is incredibly difficult, there is still a sense of satisfaction when you do solve a puzzle after a few attempts and deaths in some of the later areas. Unfortunately, there are a few cases where the levels are designed in such a way that they can leave you stuck with no way to continue beyond restarting the level. However, thanks to the infrequency of this happening and the option to restart the level in the pause menu, this remains only a minor irritation as opposed to a major flaw.

As you'd expect from a game full of colour, Hue looks lovely. While it purposely starts off drab and grey, the game becomes a lot brighter as soon as the first colour is unlocked. With vivid colours like red and orange to the more soothing purple and aqua, Hue is almost always a pleasure visually. Even as you continue through the game where more colours are used and contrasting colours are involved, it remains great to see.

The filled-out colour wheel, with the symbols for each The filled-out colour wheel, with the symbols for each

In a move that should be celebrated, Hue is still accessible for those who are colourblind, despite the game's main theme being colour. When selected, each colour is represented by a symbol: Aqua is a crescent moon, purple is an hourglass, and so on. While I am not colourblind myself, I did play through the whole game with colourblind mode enabled and the symbols seem distinct enough that it would allow those who are affected by colourblindness to make their way through the game without too much additional effort. At the very least, it is nice to see a developer thinking about potential issues when it comes to the accessibility of their game.

Once you've made your way through all of the puzzles and have completed the story, there's only one reason to return to the game and that's Hue's one and only collectable: beakers. Hidden throughout some of the game's levels in each of the areas, collecting all 28 of them will earn you an achievement, naturally. While you'll pick some up on your first time through a level, backtracking will be required as a decent amount of them are blocked until some of the later colours are unlocked. One minor complaint is that a few of the later game beakers are placed behind walls through which the player can pass. With nothing like that in the first half of the game and little indication as to when the walls are there, it seems unfair that a player should be expected just know about this.

One of the game's many beakersOne of the game's many beakers

Aside from the aforementioned beaker collecting, all of Hue's achievements are extremely straightforward. Of the 13 on offer, 11 will be unlocked over the course of the player completing the game. The only other achievement is equally as simple: just watch the game's credits, whether upon the game's completion or from the pause menu. An easy 1k is up for grabs here.

Summary

While there are a few minor nitpicks here and there, Hue is an easy game to recommend. There's nothing world-changing on offer here, but the warm and vibrant colours in combination with an intriguing narrative and satisfying puzzles make it a pleasant experience to play. Throw in the easy completion and it's the perfect game to play through on a lazy day or across a weekend.
4 / 5
Positives
  • Puzzles are satisfying to complete
  • Colourblind option provides added accessibility
  • Lovely graphical appearance
Negatives
  • Little replay value
  • Players may occasionally become stuck due to level design
Ethics Statement
This reviewer played for 9 hours and earned all 13 of the game's achievements. A code for the game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.
Andy Mills
Written by Andy Mills
Just one of the fine Newshounds on TrueAchievements. An achievement hunter, and a lover of all kinds of games.