Picture a world unlike any other, where colour exists only in dull monotones. Hue, your wouldbe plucky adventurer, searches for his mum through the power of a colour ring. Changing reality with the colours of the rainbow, rendering obstacles invisible; he traverses the bleak landscape in search of the truth and most importantly home.
Having no expectations other than its title, I expected Hue to be either artsy or a take on Runbow type of game. Which it kinda is more or less, but that’s probably what made it an instant win over my bleak heart. It’s narrative painted a colourful mirage of delight, with the narration by Anna Action giving the narrative a wonderful sense of vibrancy and life in what is already a mechanically solid game. It’s use of colour to create the puzzles and bits of platforming demonstrated all of the game’s shades of passion.
Spiel of praise aside, Hue’s use of colour incorporated into the puzzle mechanics were executed on point, the level of difficulty felt just right with the use of colours used as hints at times - despite 92 deaths in my play through. It’s not the first game to use this concept, but having adored the Professor Layton series for its puzzles and storytelling, it hit an itch I didn’t know I had. And by no means is this a tough puzzle game: having been broken into small chunks of sections, the puzzle elements of traversing felt easier and the slight breaks between sections aided in the game’s design to as effective as it is. The learning curve never throws you into the deep end, but gradually teaches you at a good pace.
It’s this game design that made Hue such a stand out for me, but that’s not to say the game isn’t without its faults or punishing when it can be. Some levels require quite a bit of planning and the odd bit of lateral thinking, it was in these sections where I hit my head quite a bit. Which isn’t helped by the instant death and my frequent restarts in that regard (mileage may vary), luckily as part of the game it features colourblind mode using symbols to distinguish objects and removes some of the visual spectacles in the background. It’s a god send even for someone who doesn’t have issues with distinguishing colours, but its choice of green and yellow being the most heinous offence for my eyes making some object nearly invisible for me!
Whilst the puzzles were solid, the platforming aspect of the game could be tweaked slightly such as Hue’s moving slightly faster to make the long passages of movement feel less like a dawdle or even the intermission breaks for the compelling narrative. It’s a game that I joked in mind being a “climb a ladder simulator” for a lack of a better joke, which broke the pacing of the game quite a few times. It’s at moments like this that I felt animated shorts/illustrations as part of cutscenes would have gelled these interludes better, considering that the game doesn’t let you skip these elements it’s more a criticism of the overall pacing rather than a quality of life implementation.
That’s not to say that its sense of narrative wasn’t concise or outstayed its welcome. I would definitely like to see more world building content if Fiddlesticks Games were to build off Hue. Its use of music helped elevate these dullset moments, building on the game’s themes and world with its use of mysticism and pacing. At points the music did too good a job, with some of the more frustrating parts that it made me nearly perform acts of violence to my controller. Not sure if that’s a great thing, but it definitely built the mood to what is a fantastically solid game that really came out the blue for me - or is that throwing a bit of shade?
Hue (Reviewed on Windows)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
This a game I could easily recommend to anyone with its mechanics being simple but complex enough to provide a decent challenge, it would be an awesome addition if they were to implement a tool system to make and play custom levels, almost a Mario Maker in that regard. It’s great from start to finish and provided an incredibly consistent experience that made me want more. If there’s a sequel or a dev studio I’d keep an eye for a solid you couldn’t do worse than to keep tabs on Fiddlesticks Games