A tough indie platformer with a color-changing mechanic. Dying many times hadn’t felt this great since Super Meat Boy.
|Console||PC/Mac/Linux (Steam), Wii U, Xbox One|
|Genre||2D Platformer, Puzzle, Indie|
|Purchase||Purchase from Steam.|
* Previously published at Indie GAGA *
So right after finishing up Color Symphony, I decided to give its sequel a run. While only released a month ago and currently getting only a little attention, I think players are missing out on a very solid indie platformer here.
Compared to its predecessor, it has improved quite a bit. The main character’s movement is tighter and faster, making gameplay fast-paced. Like with the previous game, you have the ability to change the level’s background color to any one of three colors. Doing so may cause environments and objects to appear, but may also cause them to disappear, depending on what color they are. It also has the special ability of keeping these objects out of existence for a short time, allowing you to get past groups of obstacles spanning multiple colors at once.
And you know what else is great about the controls? Gamepad support! And for a game like this, you definitely need it.
The main character has one new ability: wall-jumping. You will encounter levels that require a lot of precision jumping, so there’s more room for level variety.
These controls remind me of Super Meat Boy, minus the slippery movement but adding in the ability to change a level’s background colors. And just like that game, Color Symphony 2 is quite unforgiving in its challenge. Completing these short levels is a very satisfying experience, though.
The HP bar from the previous game has been removed, making all hazards one-hit kills when you come into contact with them. Respawning is very fast so you can keep attempting a level until you win without having to wait.
There are two more additions to the gameplay: collectible hats and time trials (with online leaderboards). Some levels have hats that are typically difficult to obtain, like the bandages found in Super Meat Boy. However, these are mainly for getting Steam achievements as far as I know.
Each world/chapter presents new mechanics and hazards, such as color portals you have to touch in order to change the background color and moving colored platforms. This helps keep the gameplay fresh as you go through the motions.
Finally, there are world select and level select screens that allow you to backtrack for missing hats and better times. There are three secret worlds you can unlock by completing certain chapters. While they are not required to beat the game, they offer an even greater challenge than your normal levels.
The graphics are alright, but I think they are a step back from the original game’s. I liked the scrutinizing amount of detail put into the environments in Color Symphony. In this game, the objects and environments are considerably simplified in design and tend to get recycled quite frequently. Despite the nice color variety, a lot of levels looked the same. There are so many spinning blades in this game that you wished the worlds looked more unique.
One of my main criticisms of the original Color Symphony is the vague story. While it’s still quite vague in this game, there is actually more context to gain from the text passages scattered through the levels and even the game’s art style.
Still, there is a lot of ambiguity. From what I gather, the main character was part of a team (perhaps soldiers?) and his partner (perhaps the leader?) was responsible for betraying him and turning his home into a different place. Now it seems to be a world of machines and creatures have died off because the machines have siphoned off the energy from this world (which may explain why the crows and the two-headed dogs from the previous game don’t appear).
Maybe I’m still overlooking something here but even the ending doesn’t really shed any more light. You find these weird pods and touching the color portal frees what I assume to be the life energy needed for the living creatures. We don’t even know what happens to the protagonist afterward, but one can assume that he just simply made it out alive. For the amount of backstory we get, it feels like the character’s main conflict went unresolved.
Another major improvement over the original game was the soundtrack. While Color Symphony had one looped song, Color Symphony 2 gave each world/chapter a different track. From the gentle strums of a guitar to the melancholy of the piano, the music is fairly pleasant to listen to and fits squarely into this artistic world.
However, I do have to criticize the track used for the final world. It’s only a 7-8 second loop that plays through possibly the hardest levels in the entire game, so it gets tiring to listen to rather quick.
After investing over seven hours into the game, I can say that it’s more fun and addictive than its predecessor.
Color Symphony 2$9.99
- As with the previous game, the color-changing mechanic is a fun way to add and remove obstacles to the levels.
- Each chapter presents a new type of physics-based obstacle to add more depth into the level designs.
- The art style, consisted of uniquely shaped silhouettes, is appealing to look at.
- The soundtrack is very pleasant and compliments the game’s art style quite well.
- A lot of jumps require super precise timing in order to not run face-first into a spinning blade.
- Despite more hints about what is going on, the story still remains ambiguous.
- The visuals get fairly repetitive after a while, making levels seem the same.