Stone Age Game Review: Colored Effects
A Colorful Puzzle Platformer
The world isn’t exactly hurting for puzzle platformers. In fact, the indie game space is positively lousy with them. And you know what? A lot of them are good, too, which is what makes it really hard to stand out in that particular genre. The folks at Flynn’s Arcade, the ones who published some killer arcade-inspired fare like Donut Dodo, Galacticon, Sentry City, and more, were kind enough to offer me a review code for their latest offering, a game called Colored Effects. It’s a puzzle platformer with a minimalist look and I’m happy to say that it does indeed stand out from the crowd, albeit not at first glance.
If you’ve ever played games like Kombinera, BoxBoy, or even the sublime Donkey Kong ‘94, you can get a pretty good read on what kind of game this is just by looking at it. You take control of a little character with an objective that must be completed through a combination of platforming skills and puzzle solving. What makes Colored Effects special is the same thing that makes all the best in this genre special, a combination of great personality and design.
The hook of Colored Effects is the, well, colored effects. You play as a little fella in a cape who looks strikingly like the main character from Hollow Knight if he were smaller and more pixelated, and your mission is to get through a door in each stage by collecting colored keys, a task that becomes more and more complicated as the game goes on.
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The name comes from the powerup system, which is based on colors. Very shortly after starting the game, you’ll encounter your first boss battle. Once you defeat it, you gain your first color ability, which is a blue double jump. Throughout the game, more bosses show up, and they each grant you new color abilities from teleportation, a ranged attack, and more. The trick is though, you can only hold one powerup at a time, meaning that the more complex levels will require some serious planning to figure out how to best utilize your abilities to get the keys required to open the exit door.
There’s a bit more to it, but that’s the basics of the mechanics, and honestly, all you need to know to know to decide if you’re going to like this game. It’s got some catchy music, a nice simple visual style, and some serious head scratchers in terms of puzzles. I made it about halfway through the game so far (or at least I think I’m halfway done) and I’ve really been enjoying my time with it. It doesn’t revolutionize anything, it simply does what it does extremely well, which is not a bad thing in the least.
I had said before that I got this game via review code supplied by Flynn’s Arcade, but if I’m being honest I probably would have wound up buying it myself anyway because it only costs a whopping 5 bucks.
If you like these kinds of games, give colored Effects a go. If you don’t, this one probably isn’t going to turn you into a fan, but not for lack of trying. It’s a wonderfully well-made game with a great price and plenty of solid puzzling action. Here’s hoping I can actually finish it someday, as I’ve been stuck on level 24 for a few days, but I’ll figure it out!