Relearning Gravity – Colour Bind Indie Video Game Review
This game was reviewed on the PC
Colour Bind is a physics puzzle game that stands out amongst the crowd. Whereas most games go for brighter visuals, crowded environments and complex set-ups, Puppy Punch Productions knows that less is more. In this indie game, you control a little vehicle navigating strange landscapes where gravity is based on colour and not mass. Colour Bind is a game that strips down the graphics and mechanics to something very simple while still having a few tricks up its sleeve. Does Colour Bind‘s simplistic gambit work or is the result just a one-dimensional gimmick?
The graphics and visuals are by far the most important part of Colour Bind. The environments are flat and abstract; every primary colour is bright and spotted immediately against the black backgrounds. The game adopts a very minimalist setting that means you are always focused on your goal as opposed to exploring the atmosphere or getting distracted by elements external to the core puzzle. Unfortunately, there are some visual elements that can confuse new players: Occasionally, there are dripping streams of green goo from surfaces that you might assume to be fatal but mean nothing at all, tertiary elements of the puzzle lack the bright primary colours of the more important puzzle aspects. As an example, there are spheres that you knock about in order to hit triggers and manipulate objects. Unlike other elements of the game, these pale grey balls blend into the monochrome backgrounds. Less obvious pieces are often knocked around without the player noticing in the hurly burly of navigating your vehicle throughout the stage. This can make figuring out a level unnecessarily complicated. However, these issues can be surmounted with patience and time.
While the game does allow the player to take a break from tricky stages by providing a variety to choose from, all of these stages must be completed in order to unlock another collection of levels. In addition, each round has a timer; if you reach your goal under a certain amount of time, you’re rewarded a medal of bronze, silver or gold. This forces players to learn necessary elements of the game to advance past more challenging puzzles, as opposed to lucking their way through the game until they reach a point where skill is required.
The actual gameplay of Colour Bind is where things start to become interesting. You navigate your vehicle through a world where gravity doesn’t work in the same way as our world. Colour Bind returns to the roots of 90s’ puzzle games on the PC where narrative and three-dimensional environments weren’t considered priorities. Instead, the game encompasses old school two-dimensional mechanics to get to your goal; however, the modern-day physics and mechanics make this game seem anything but dated. You’ll feel genuinely clever and accomplished when you figure out gravity, momentum and control in this game.
One of my favorite puzzles was a real head-scratcher. I had to manipulate my car across floating platforms, and then inflate my wheels to propel a sphere into a switch, which opened a gate. Beyond that gate was a similar puzzle, except the gravity had been switched to a whole new direction, requiring me to navigate the platforms and puzzles in a whole new way. It is a shame that the controls can often be a bit sloppy, slow and lacking a consistency across attempts, sometimes faster or slower or higher or shorter with very little difference in player input, leading to many retries of the same level due to factors outside of your control.
The real star of the show is the gravity mechanic. The gravity mechanic remains consistent throughout every stage: Each bright primary colour has a different type of gravity. In a stage, red gravity might be normal and conform to Earth’s expectations, while blue objects will topple to the left and green items fall upwards. The farther you progress into the game, the more interaction there will be between the different types of gravity, forcing the player to efficiently manipulate the elements together to clear passageways, leap across platforms, or tunnel beneath the level.
For those who want to take a step beyond merely playing the game solo, Puppy Punch Productions has created a level editor for players to enjoy, and the results can be much more satisfying than the single player puzzles, depending on the tastes of each individual. Additionally, Colour Bind has a co-op mode; with a second person, the puzzles become much more fun and dynamic – players will enjoy the bonding experience these extra challenges provide.
Players who are interested in puzzlers will find a lot to appreciate in Colour Bind. Colour Bind is one of those rare games that simultaneously embraces the past and manages to pave a new path into the future. Puppy Punch Productions has created an exceptional game for a studio helmed by one man and placed it at the very reasonable price of eight dollars. If you’re looking for a game that’ll require you to wear your thinking cap, this is the perfect choice for you.
Colour Bind earns a 4.5/5.0
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