It’s not really any secret that I’m a huge fan of classic games, and by classic, I mean dating back to the days of the NES, Atari 2600, Intellivision, and so on. Today we have sophisticated 3D rendering to make things look more realistic than ever before. Back then we had dots, lines, vectors, and polygons and we had to use our imagination. Colour Bind looks like a games based on those old-style graphics and has some nice puzzle elements to it, but does it hold up? Let’s find out.
Colour Bind is probably one of the simplest puzzle games I’ve played in a while. The goal is simple: get your…vehicle (for lack of better term, though it’s more like a block with two wheels on it) to the colored circle. Easy, right? Well, not so much, otherwise it’d be pointless to play. There are some basic platforming elements to the game as you have to occasionally jump from ledge to ledge to get to the goal, but there is one other factor that plays heavily into the game: gravity.
At the bottom of the screen are four circles with arrows. The right three circles are colored red, green, and blue, and the arrow indicates the direction of gravity that is in effect when your vehicle is that particular color. The left-most circle indicates your current color and current direction of gravity. In most stages you’ll see different colored lasers that you can safely drive through to change your vehicle’s color, and thus it’s direction of gravity. Herein lies one of the game’s missteps in my opinion: the controls. The controls (which, by the way, you can’t change) rotate your wheels more than it moves the vehicle. To put it bluntly, holding A rotates the wheels counter-clockwise while D rotates them clockwise. This might not seem too bad, but throw in the next mechanic and it can get a little disorienting. You can also hit W to jump and S to apply your brakes. You’ll have to really get used to these and how they affect your vehicle, namely the brakes. Just remember that the brakes stop your wheels dead in their tracks. However, they don’t stop your vehicles momentum. (For the record, you can also use Left, Right, Up and Down instead of A, D, W, and S respectively)
Next up is gravity. I already talked about how to tell which way gravity is currently flowing based on what color you are. Throughout the stages you may see a colored laser. Anything that hits a laser will turn that color, be it you or a stage obstacle. If you’re on the ceiling, holding A will move your vehicle to the right since the wheels rotate counter-clockwise. However, if you turn a color that drops you to the ground, A now moves you left and if you’re not ready for that, it can really mess up what you were trying to accomplish on whatever puzzle you were working on.
Now for the puzzles themselves. In each puzzle you’ll find the aforementioned lasers, switches to raise and lower gates, other switches to change the direction of gravity for a certain color, and other objects that you have to somehow manipulate to reach the goal. Normally you’ll find red, green, and blue lasers to turn your car to those respective colors. However, when you get to the early twenties you’ll learn what happens when two lasers cross each other: you turn a different color altogether and the direction of gravity. For instance, if you’re standing the path of a red laser and a blue laser, red’s gravity is going up while blue’s gravity is going left, then you’ll wind up with a purple vehicle who’s gravity is up and to the left. Now in the first stage where this happened you’re not one of these new colors for long as you have to pass another laser to proceed, but it’s a nice introduction to what you could encounter ahead.
Difficulty-wise, it’s a decent mix. Some of the puzzles are actually quite fun. Some are quite challenging. Some are quite frustrating. Then again, what’s a puzzle game without a bit of challenge? Thankfully there is always a few levels open in case you get stuck on one and wish to skip it. The early puzzles you’ll have no issues with for the most part, but somewhere around the teens is where you may start to get those feelings of frustration. For me it was level sixteen. Here the game tries to teach you that while your vehicle is in the air you can still physically rotate it to alter how it lands, and it wants you to do this, then perform another jump as soon as you hit the ground to reach the goal. Checking the time played on Steam, I’ve put about an hour into Colour Bind. I can personally guarantee that over twenty-five of those was on level sixteen alone. Needless to say it’s still not finished so I ultimately just skipped it.
If you’re looking to play with a friend, or just wish for a bigger challenge for yourself, the game has special levels designed for two players working together, typically with one person hitting a switch that allows for the other person to proceed to the next section. For these stages player one uses ADWS while player two uses Left, Right, Up, and Down. While meant for two people, it can be a decent challenge on your own. If you’re really feeling sadistic, the game also features a level editor that you can use to make your own levels. My only real issue with the level editor is that unless you know what you’re doing, you might have a hard time figuring out what you’re doing. After about ten minutes, all I had in my level was the goal, a random box, a switch, a laser, and two vehicles. Half of that was just clicking and dragging to see if it did anything. While the level editor can seem confusing, you can do a lot with it, including making lasers of colors other than just red, green, and blue. Try making a black laser and shut off gravity altogether.
Overall, Colour Bind is a pretty fun game, though it can get frustrating at times. If you’re looking for a game with fancy high-def graphics and sound, you won’t find that here. However, if you are looking for a puzzle game that’s different than other puzzle games you’ve tried, you might want to give this one a shot. The single-player puzzles are challenging, the co-op puzzles are pretty fun even by oneself, and the level editor can be fun once you get the hang of what you’re doing. There are medals to collect on each of the single-player stages depending on how fast you clear the stage, as well as leaderboards to see how you fair against other players. For $9.99, this might be one to check out.
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