Review: Hue is a unique puzzler doused in colourful creativity

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch

Never let it be said that games can’t be art. Some offer unforgettable storytelling; others try and provoke meaning through the smallest of details. Some will chuck a lot of colour everywhere, often causing you to let out an elderly, “Aw, that’s nice” as you trundle through its memorable environments. Hue is that sort of artistic experience, the one that makes you feel like a grandma. “Oh, that’s nice”, you’ll say… a lot.

So, what is Hue exactly? Well, it’s a puzzle platformer, focused on changing colour to make your way through a fairly monotone yet vibrant world, when you make it so. You take control of the titular character through his journey to find a mysterious woman, a lady whose wonderful sense of humour is only matched by her ability to have an existential crisis.

Yet colour isn’t something you have from the get-go. You’ll have to find all eight pieces of your colour wheel by playing through its decent number of levels. Hue is sort of a Metroidvania—there’s a central hub with locked areas limited by unlockable abilities—but there’s always a clear sense of direction.

This may be due, in part, to its laser focus on puzzle solving. Each section is an intricately crafted puzzle requiring only a basic level of understanding to solve. All you need to know is how to change colour: it’s done with a simple flick of the right stick.

While the colours don’t do anything different from each other, using a colour will make any object of the same colour disappear. Crates, walls, lasers, and more are no exception: colour matching may as well make you a ghost.

Not only does this allow for some creative puzzles, but it also allows the player to easily correct mistakes—no deaths needed. If you’re trapped, sometimes it’s just a case of turning the sky purple and trying again. Each puzzle also builds on its predecessors rather well, introducing you to a new obstacle whilst also old ones to create brand new issues. Simple puzzle mechanics end up being rather complex later on.

Beyond that, every other ability you have is fairly basic. Platforming doesn’t challenge you beyond making a few jumps or moving blocks to suit you needs. You tale of adventure, while sweet, doesn’t contribute much to the game other than a reason to move forward. Oh, and the mysterious dude in the monk robes? He really doesn’t contribute much beyond turning up on occasion and acting mysterious.

Hue’s Aesthetic seems to be the only thing that stands out beyond the puzzles themselves. The design of the human characters is unique; changing colours swaps backgrounds and line art which looks amazing; simple but elegant artwork looks fantastic. Hue’s primary mechanic makes you feel like you’re actually changing the world.

All of this is ultimately brought to life on the Switch, two years after its initial release. Hue doesn’t fail to deliver like other Switch ports do—looking at you Ark: Survival Evolved. Everything runs smoothly, like a well-oiled machine, and it looks phenomenal in portable play. The only criticism is that Hue never makes it clear whether or not the game is actually saving, a terrifying prospect for a handheld device.

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Hue is a short and sweet puzzling adventure. Each puzzle provides a challenge that both builds on previous puzzles as well as providing something new for the player to solve, all the while being aesthetically pleasing on the eyes. It runs fantastically on Switch, but the port is somewhat bare bones. It’s still a solid puzzle platformer; great fun for anyone who has a few hours spare.

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