Hue is a unique platformer that manages to innovate enough whilst maintaining the core concepts of the genre that make these sorts of games so fun.
At face value, you’d be forgiven for thinking Hue is just like any other platform game. The silhouetted aesthetic is reminiscent of fellow platformer Limbo, and the control scheme is simplistically designed. Where Hue excels is with its ingenious level design and unique concept of changing the background colour which in turn manipulates the game world. The challenging and rewarding puzzle sections are mixed in with precise platforming to get from one level to the next. What initially begins as somewhat of a novelty, the colour-changing quickly evolves into a literal game-changer, with puzzle and platform sections reliant on quick timing and changing the background colour to progress further.
Although Hue is a relatively short game in comparison to other titles out there, it’s no less effective in what it sets out to be. Hue is a diamond in a sea of rocks, and the way it confidently and ingeniously increases the difficulty with each puzzle and platforming section makes it a game with a decent learning curve and some genuinely challenging sections. The loose storyline that threads the game together does feel more of an afterthought though, despite themes of loss and other emotions explored, with a lot of the focus solely on the gameplay and visuals.
Hue does initially start as a bland visual experience; a world inhabited by greys and blacks slowly begins to become more colourful as you work your way through the levels collecting the various colours to eventually make Hue a visual splendour. This is of course accentuated further by the levels presented with its bold silhouette effect, diverting most of the attention to the background and level design as opposed to the character itself. The tiny snippets of cut scene between the various platform sections are the extent to which we become familiar with the character, but much like other platform games, the story isn’t the main focus here. All the components in Hue combine together for a really satisfying, and more importantly fun experience. The musical score, switching between haunting melodic notes and sombre piano sections help enhance the gameplay, and with eight colours to collect in total, there’s enough variance here to prevent the game from becoming stale and tedious.
For all of the positives, Hue sadly isn’t perfect; a few of the colour sections are a little awkward to switch between and the precision and speed needed to quickly change colours on the platforms late on in the game do make for an unnecessarily frustrating experience. Some of this is prevented by a slow-motion effect taking place when the colour is changed, but some of the precision and timing needed to nail this can be especially difficult. Thankfully these sections don’t crop up too much and when they do late on, it rarely detracts from the experience, which is a largely positive one for the time you’ll spend playing.
In conclusion, Hue is a unique platformer that manages to innovate enough whilst maintaining the core concepts of the genre that make these sorts of games so fun. The concept of changing the background colour is a clever one, and it’s used to great effect in the level design which confidently traverses the line between fun and frustration for vast periods of the play time without falling into the latter too much. Accompanied by an equally great musical score and satisfying controls, Hue is a very good, albeit short, platform game that has a few niggling issues holding it back. Having said that, Hue does a great job of innovating within the genre and managing to deliver a platforming experience that’s a unique joy to play.