Krogma is an evil thief who has stolen all the colour from the world of Terra Color and left it as dark and dismal as a wet Monday morning. The Color Guardians, Rod, Lia and Grock are the only ones capable of restoring the stolen colour and making Terra a beautiful and joyful place to be once again.
It takes a lot of skill to restore colour to a world, and there are plenty of obstacles in your way. Lightning fast reflexes are essential, and prepare to be squished in an explosion of colour roughly every three seconds. The level of multi-tasking is exasperating – not fling your Vita/controller at the cat exasperating, but exasperating all the same. It’s a bit like patting your head, rubbing your tummy and taming a pet racoon all at the same time, a skill I have never been able to master no matter how hard I practice.
With seventy levels set across five different worlds; Castle Run, Windmill Breezes, Crystal Caves, Mountain Heights and Dark Fort, there is plenty to keep you busy for a while, particularly if you die as many times as I seem to. But even death in this charming little side-scroller action game is quite fun.
The mechanics of Color Guardians are simple, however the execution is tricky. You are presented with three lanes, which you must run and jump across, changing colour and collecting orbs. Once you have just about got used to this, the obstacles come. Manage to perfect a level avoiding slamming yourself into anything waiting to splat you and you’ll find yourself having to contend with moving obstacles and falling down holes. Whoever said restoring colour to the world was easy? Well no one I can think of, but if they did they would be wrong, very wrong.
The music in Color Guardians is upbeat and cheery, if a little cheesy, but where this game comes into its own is the additional sound effects. It has more snap, crackle and pop than a well-known breakfast cereal. From encouraging claps and cheers as you manage to dodge the latest obstacles, to the satisfying pop as you burst the colourful orbs earning you points. Strangely my favourite sound effect has to be the strangled cry as you die yet again. I never thought I would be able to describe an agonised death cry as cute, yet the sound effect guys at Color Guardians seem to have made it happen. In fact I like it so much, I have flung myself to a certain death on more than one occasion just to hear it again. Not really sure what this says about my state of mind, though. Oh well.
Color Guardians may look like a kids game with its happy bouncy characters, music and graphics, but don’t let this hoodwink you. It’s a tough as concrete, pull your wig off platformer that requires skill and determination to survive. Steel yourself and man-up because restoring colour to the world takes iron ‘nads.
Color Guardians has been criticised for being too hard. A little harsh, I think. Yes it is a challenging game, but that doesn’t mean it’s in any way unplayable. Some levels I have managed to get through on memory alone, rather than my quick colour changing skills. After dying for what feels like the six hundredth time, you tend to remember when you need to be red, yellow or blue and where an untimely death lurks. Rather than taking away from the game, the need to use your memory in addition to your reflexes adds another dimension that makes a difficult level very achievable.
Talking of achievements, there are a whopping forty six trophies to collect in Color Guardians. Some are easier than others to obtain, but getting the bronze trophy for falling into water three times in a row is a cinch. Color Guardians has plenty of gaming potential with cross buy and cross save on the PS4 and the Vita, plus a platinum trophy if you are hardcore enough.
Color Guardians is a vibrant, cheerful game, but hiding behind this happy facade is a tough game of determination. Fortitude and patience are required and a good memory wouldn’t go amiss either. Color Guardians isn’t what you’d expect it to be. With its twinkly music and cartoony feel, it looks somewhat twee and like a kid’s game, but it is absolutely anything but. You’ll need to butch-up if you’re going to paint a rainbow and restore colour to this world.
K Nicol rating 8/10