Colour Me Happy: Music Explorer Hummingbird Out Now

Niall Moody is a creative chap who tends towards abstract, eye-catching, and slightly off-the-wall videogames – some of which you might’ve spotted here on RPS over the years. His latest, Hummingbird [Itch page], follows suit and is billed as an “infinite procedural exploration game”. I dived in earlier this morning and although convinced I’d been playing for around 20 minutes or so, I’ve suddenly unwittingly lost the last hour to it. Come have a look.

Like the rest of Moody’s games, there’s something strangely enchanting about Hummingbird as you guide a wandering glowing entity around the game’s procedurally-generated vibrant landscape. As you steer your orb towards other larger clusters of shapes, you activate pleasant melodies and prompt coinciding screen-wide bursts of colour.

At one stage during my playthrough, a huge black cloud cut across my screen, froze play and I thought the game had crashed. I suddenly warped into a disfigured shape and as I tried to move away, I began firing off huge grey bubbles with a baseline deep enough to prompt a beyond the grave nod from Hendrix himself. Another set piece saw me enter into a neon-bleached haze where everything became distorted and blurry and quirky monologues appeared writ across the background from nowhere. It was all a bit Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and it was lovely. Here’s how some of that looks in motion:

The procedural nature of Hummingbird means that every new game offers up a new backdrop, new colours, new sounds, and new things to interact with. Those of you who’ve played things like Hohokum will be able to draw some parallels here, however Moody’s typically abstract spin makes this a pretty different beast entirely. While local multiplayer is possible with multiple gamepads, Hummingbird is probably best enjoyed in single-player mode. And at night, so says Moody:

“Hummingbird is a top-down shooter without any enemies, score, or time limit. It presents an infinite 2D world full of procedurally-generated entities which interact with the player and each other in unexpected ways. All audio is procedurally-generated in realtime. It is designed for exploration and is best played late at night.”

Hummingbird is out now for $5 (£3.40-ish) for Windows and Mac from Itch. If you like, you can pay $10 to also get a 12-page PDF zine “each page of which is filled with dense, hand-lettered text originally generated by the game itself.”

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