The Colour Of Madness: Hue Shift

By John Walker on May 6th, 2010 at 12:15 am.

Take that, graphics.

Right now, this instant, play Hue Shift. Goodness me, it’s brilliant.

The instructions from developers Broken Radio Games are not exactly clear. Let me quote:

“You can change the colour of the player. If the colour of the player matches the colour of a levelblock, this and all other blocks in the same colour become solid. If the player and the levelblocks have different colours the player does not collide with the blocks.”

But it’s not nearly this complicated. To understand. To play – that’s another matter.

The game is a series of coloured platforms in a tall column, either green, red, blue or white. You control a square which can be green, red or blue by your choice. When it’s green, it will pass through red and blue platforms. And so on. When it’s the same colour as the platform, it will bang into it if below, or slide along it if above. The aim is to see how high you can get.

Your control of movement is only jumping. The block moves left and right itself, changing direction each time it reaches one side of the column. So it’s just jumping and changing colour you’re in charge of. Which seems simple. Until you try to do it.

There’s two control methods – either cycling through the colours by hitting left or right, or choosing each colour directly with left, right, and down. (Or ASD of course.) So if you want to get onto a red platform, turn green or blue, then switch to red to land. Then maybe it’s a blue platform that turns red halfway along, so you’ll either need to jump again or switch to red and blue for that length. But if the platform above is blue, you’re going to need to pick red or green at the right moment. But red for red, right, except now it’s blue, and oh no!

Which is the pattern of things. In panic, it’s so easy to fall through everything. You lose if you fall further than the bottom of the screen, with your highest point marked for your next attempt. Attempting to maintain the correct tactics in your head is enormously fun, and when you fail it’s always, always, always your fault. It’s that combination of exasperation and laughing at your own mistake, and of course the need to have another go. It’s free. You can play it here.

Here’s the trailer:

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44 Comments »

  1. Hal Kilmer says:

    I’ve been playing for 5 minutes, but I can see this lasting a long time. I love games that make me feel utterly useless.

  2. LewieP says:

    Yep, that’s a fun game.

  3. Kirrus says:

    Argh.. makes my brain go all gooey and horrible.. can’t play that :(

  4. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    Was completely hopeless at this, until I switched to control style B. Now I’m just merely bad at it.

    Great fun though.

    • Thants says:

      Control Style B is clearly superior and I’ll fight anyone who says different!

  5. HarbourMaster says:

    Made 1059 on second attempt. Had enough then.

    • Clovis says:

      I’m just terrible at this stuff. I think it took me 15 minutes to get to 1000. I finally got a 1700 and gave up. This reminds of how amazingly bad I am at QTEs. They almost completely ruined Prince of Persia for me.

  6. Raum says:

    This is the kind of game that annoys me to the point that I’m gonna obsess over it.

  7. merc says:

    Pretty good, but having to do the little tutorial bit every time you start again makes it slightly duller than it should be.

  8. Hobbes says:

    Oh dear, there goes the degree… one to file alone with Canabalt and Airfield Mayhem in the DO-NOT-OPEN drawer.

  9. John Peat says:

    That’s – erm – that’s just a form of mental torture wrapped up in Lego…

    Don’t mean to be mean but I thought we’d moved past games like that into more rewarding and satisfying stuff (Canabalt falls into the same pit really – being random and hard just for the sake of it).

    • John Walker says:

      No, “we” haven’t moved on from games like Canabalt! It’s just you. You should come back, because we’re all having rather a lot of fun.

    • Mo says:

      Yeah, it’s not really about “moving on” from this type of game. We all get different things out of our games. And we want different things at different times. On the bus, I want to squeeze a quick puzzle game in on my iPhone, just to pass the time. When I get home, I want to play something with narrative and drama. Or maybe I’m not up for all that and just want to play a mindless shmup. It all depends on context.

    • Stu says:

      Speaking of Canabalt, I see it’s gone all Mavis Beacon:

      http://adamatomic.com/canabalt/edu/

    • Vinraith says:

      @John Peat

      There’s no “moving on,” there’s just what individual people find entertaining. Personally I don’t find anything rewarding about games like this or Canabalt, I played both for a mere few minutes before getting bored and moving on. Other people may find it compelling and addictive, and that’s fine too.

    • Bret says:

      I dug it. Not, you know, boundless love, but it’s fun enough.

      Now Canabalt, that’s love.

  10. Robert says:

    Cheers.

  11. Akirasfriend says:

    Ach, it’s too much for my feeble brains to cope with. But OH THE PRETTY COLOURS.

    But I genuinely cannae play this. D:

  12. Veret says:

    Interesting. I’m not going to post my score, because…well, it royally sucks. But still, interesting.

    On the theme of color-shifting, though, have any of the hivemind seen Primary? It’s got the same mechanic of color-coordinated platforms, but it also throws in a pleasantly surprising mix of elements from Trine and N. Just as long as you can get past the god-awful narrator at the beginning.

  13. Erik says:

    If the gameplay was fun, it would cover over the garish sound and graphics.

  14. DMJ says:

    My head asplode.

  15. Serenegoose says:

    It’s supposed to be red blue green? It’s red blue yellow to me. :( Yeah, double checked. To me, that’s bright yellow. To adapt, I had to change it so that I looked at the block, and then the colour I wanted to get to, and thought of it in terms of ‘left’ and ‘right’ rather than colours. “To get up onto that block, I’ll need to press right” rather than ‘be yellow’ fun game though. :)

    • MWoody says:

      Out of curiosity, how does green looking like yellow change the game if you can still tell the difference between the three?

  16. Clippit says:

    waaaaaargh %D

  17. Serenegoose says:

    It doesn’t, MWoody. What you witnessed there was when I typed out one post, then changed my mind, typed out another, but forgot to remove all evidence of the first. I was originally going to make a bit more of a point of how my mind doesn’t work visually, and so I don’t play colour games by thinking of colours, but in other terms – in this case, direction. All that’s there is a mistake on my part that I didn’t notice.

  18. Risingson says:

    Zoop. Am I the only one thinking about Zoop?

  19. Serenegoose says:

    Let none say ‘John Walker is verily afraid to kicketh it olde school’. Zool. I was playing that game before they sent me to -school-. Not Zool School, though.

  20. Skusey says:

    It’s too early to have to think this hard.

  21. Hmm.-Hmm. says:

    Ooh. Fun!

  22. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    This succeeded in making me feel completely stupid. I barely got past 500, no matter the control style.

  23. Robin says:

    Two same-coloured, full-width platforms in a row = impassible obstacle. Hmm.

  24. ZamFear says:

    blargh. I’m already terrible at platformers. Trying to play a game of Simon at the same time makes my head hurt :(

  25. Sanns says:

    It’s a cute concept and I hardily agree its worth 2 minutes to play, but I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the You-Must-Be-At-Least-This-Twitchy-To-Ride variety of games.

  26. JuJuCam says:

    I’d buy it for my iPod Touch.

  27. disperse says:

    @Serenegoose

    First thing I thought of when looking at the color palette was “what a terrible color choices for gamers with colorblindess”. There was even an article on this very site about the issue: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/02/12/colourblind-gaming-is-it-in-his-eyes/

    Red/Green should not be a designer’s go-to colors.

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