A colorful puzzle game that leaves me feeling a bit blue.
Hue is a puzzle game that takes place in a seemingly monochromatic world. Over the course of the game, you’ll gain access to a color wheel called the spectrum that allows you to fill the world with one color at a time. When you fill the screen with a certain color, any objects that are of the same color will blend into the background and temporarily cease to exist, opening new paths or removing dangerous hazards. You gain new colors of the spectrum one at a time until eventually you have a full rainbow of colors at your disposal.
Naturally, each color that you gain will ramp up the complexity of the puzzles that you encounter. When you’ve only got one color to start with, you’ll be limited to simple tasks like moving through a boulder that’s blocking your way or moving a box around when you can’t normally get to the opposite side to push it. Once you upgrade to multiple colors, you’ll need to start thinking about which objects need to be present in the world at which times and which objects can be safely removed from existence until they’re needed. Soon enough, you’ll be swapping between colors on the fly to try and squeeze your way between hazardous objects that can’t be avoided without blending them into the background.
Unfortunately, the puzzles that serve as the centerpieces of Hue’s gameplay are not very fun to play. It was rare for me to ever really need to solve a puzzle—the solutions were almost always obvious within a few seconds of walking into a room. Moving a red box across the floor through yellow and green walls so you can climb up to a door isn’t very hard to figure out, but depending on how many spiked floors or falling objects a room has, it can get frustrating pretty quickly. It usually takes much longer to physically move pieces into place than it does to figure out where those pieces are supposed to go, and with every one-hit death setting you back to the very beginning of the room, individual puzzles can get old in a hurry.
The saving grace of Hue is its striking visual design, which is impressive to see evolve throughout the course of the game. Each color is bright and bold, and the changing background contrasts strongly with all the opposing colors on the spectrum. I found it strangely relaxing to sit and take in the beautiful scenery. Sadly, that relaxing feeling acted more as a counterbalance to the frustrating puzzles than an asset in its own right, but it still managed to carry me through the majority of the game with few problems.
Even though Hue struggles to hold up as a puzzle game due to its simple but tedious tasks, I can’t bring myself to say I really hated the experience. The game commits so fully to its art style with strong, screen-filling colors that pop against each other that I wanted to keep playing to see more of it. I do wish that this art style had been applied to a game that’s less frustrating overall, but despite the disappointing puzzles I’m still pretty happy with the time I spent in Hue’s bright, bold environment.