Hue is a game that caught me by surprise. I sat down to give it a quick play and found myself still exploring the colourful landscapes many hours later. With an innovative colour changing mechanic and some devilishly tricky puzzles Hue is a very well made platformer that will keep you entertained for several hours.
The Full Spectrum – Hue starts you off in a grey and dreary world, which immediately made me think of Limbo. Fortunately these are very different games though. In Hue you play as the titular boy on a quest to find his missing mother. Along the way you’ll pick up envelopes which will give you information as to the whereabouts of your mother and why she has disappeared. After a very brief section where you can familiarise yourself with the basic controls you’ll come across your first colour piece. Picking this up lets you see the environment in a completely different way. What was once grey and dull becomes full of vibrant colour, and crucially anything that was an obstacle that is the same colour will now have disappeared so you can enter areas that were previously inaccessible. As you advance through the game you’ll pick up more and more of these colour blocks, until you have all eight. Changing colour is a very simple procedure, you simply use the right analogue stick and point in the direction of the colour you want. The puzzles do become more and more reliant on quick changes as you get further and further into things, and at times the swapping can be a little hit and miss although it fortunately only seems to not register your input on rare occasions. It’s a fun twist that really makes you think.
Beautiful Music – Although Hue is a game that relies heavily on your ability to solve puzzles to be able to progress I never once felt overly worked up or stressed out when I wasn’t initially able to figure out how to progress. The soundtrack definitely played its part in this as it is one of my favourite in-game soundtracks of 2016. As soon as I heard the music from the title screen I know I was in for a treat. Each part of Hue has a very different look and feel, as well as its own accompanying music that really helps to make every area feel unique. Alkis Livathinos is the person responsible for the soundtrack and he’s done an excellent job. The rest of the audio is just as good, throughout your journey the letters you pick up from your mother are narrated to you. I know I have a tendency to skim read items I pick up when gaming so to actually hear what was written was a nice touch as it made me pay closer attention to everything.
Thoughtful Features – When a game comes out that involves collectibles that are spread throughout the entirety of the game world there is nothing more soul destroying then having to backtrack all the way back to the start to pick something up, especially if it’s something you couldn’t pick up first time around due to not having the relevant abilities. Fiddlesticks and Curve Digital must have realised this too as they have put in a fast travel feature on the map which allows you to easily move to any sections that you may be missing a collectible. Another really well thought out feature that makes Hue more accessible to the masses is the addition of a colourblind mode. Turning this on causes each colour to be assigned with its own unique symbol, allowing everything to be easily identifiable for those who would have otherwise struggled.
Beaker Brainteaser – For those of you who want more of a challenge from Hue I strongly advise you to try and find all of the 28 collectible beakers dotted around the map. Some of these can be found early on your journey while other cannot be picked up or accessed until you have unlocked more colours to change the world. I played for four or five hours after I had finished the main storyline trying to find some of the more elusive beakers and only managed to find them after working with a friend. I was a little disappointed that after finding all 28 beakers I didn’t get anything other than an achievement for this, as I would have liked to have had it unlock an extra snippet of story or even have an effect on the game world itself, but its still a fun challenge for those who like to explore every orifice of a game.
Not A Lot – There was very little that I disliked in Hue although I did encounter a couple of problems that could do with ironing out. After restarting my game if I fast travelled to the beginning area and tried to change the colour of the world I would get stuck with the reticle up and the only way to fix this was to fast travel to another part of the game and back again. I also found that sometimes I would select a colour and it wouldn’t register it correctly. This mainly happened in the sections where you need multiple colour changes quickly and the checkpoints are very generous so this wasn’t a big deal overall, but I did feel that if we were able to assign colours to some of the unused control buttons so we could quick swap more efficiently it would maybe resolve this. I should also note that the version of Hue I played was an early version of the game and the release date was put back a week to allow the developers extra time to give a final polish to things, so these faults may not even exist in the final version when it releases on August 30th.
If you are looking for a fun filled entertaining platform game that has a well balanced set of puzzles and an endearing story I would strongly suggest you pick up Hue. It may not be the longest of games but this is definitely a case of quality over quantity, as it stands this is one of my favourite games on 2016.
Hue was developed by Fiddlesticks and published by Curve Digital. It was released on Xbox One August 30th, 2016 and is also available for Playstation 4, PSVita and Steam. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.
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