Coloropus is a charming adventure game featuring gorgeous art, immersive music, simple controls, and a unique presentation. The game opens with a heartwarming tale, told without text or voice, of two tiny octopi in love. The boy is going to propose, when suddenly, the girl gets scooped up in a bottle. The boy octopus (just plain ďoctopusĒ from here on for the sake of simplicity) must head off on an adventure to free her from captivity.
The octopus has a few moves available to him. First off, he can move toward a location by clicking on the screen and holding down. The further away you click, the faster he swims to get there. He can also interact with objects in the world if you click and hold on them. Lastly, (and this is where the color in the title comes from), he can absorb small motes of color by running into them, changing his own color and allowing him to fire bursts of color at objects and enemies in the world by right-clicking.
Play largely consists of swimming from one area to another, interacting with objects and changing colors to overcome obstacles. For example, letís say thereís an obstacle that will not let the octopus through unless heís purple. To progress, you would have to find a way to become a purple octopus. You absorb a color by running into colored balls. When you absorb a color ball, it goes into one of two color slots at the bottom of the screen. You can click one of the slots to release that color, or grab two different colors in order to mix them. In this case, you would have to grab a red ball and a blue ball.
When you change colors, this lets you fire ink blobs at the environment, a skill youíll need to master. A tiny octopus has many predators, and to defeat them, you must change your color to match theirs and hit them with ink. Every shot you fire drains from an ink meter, and to refill it, you need to find and eat fruit. It isnít difficult to find, but the octopus is fragile enough that you need to win or run quickly. If you donít, then you will mostly likely die.
Death, however, is not the end. If youíre killed, then what happens next depends on your karma. If you helped other creatures of the sea, grew plants, and did other nice things, then you get to go to Heaven. If you wrecked plants and attacked creatures without provocation, you go to Hell. However, these locations are temporary stopovers. If you end up in either location, your goal is to find a way to escape and return to the world of the living by solving a simple puzzle to return to your body. Once you do that, you swim your way up from your grave and try again.
The gameís visuals and sounds are well-done. The music and sounds capture the feel of being in a cartoonish underwater world, and the graphics are colorful and vibrant. The presentation is unique as well. Throughout the entire game, except for the gameís title, youíll never see any written language. If thereís a mechanic to be taught, itís taught through pictures. If you click on the hint button, then the octopus will get a thought bubble with images showing what he should be doing next. If the octopus ďtalksĒ to anyone, then they communicate through illustrated speech bubbles. The gameís aesthetic as a whole is simply excellent.
Unfortunately, the game does have its flaws. Much of the game revolves around physics puzzles that require a lot of fine manipulation, but doesnít provide enough control to pull it off properly. Very early on, you need to drop a brown ball into a hole, which will grow into a plant with a brown ball growing at the top. What youíre supposed to do is grab the plant, then swim with it to lure a crab after the ball. Sounds simple enough, but the experience was an ordeal because of my inability to move the plant properly. In another instance, I was trying to escape from Hell, and the puzzle involved trying to throw a rock in just the right way to go up a hill.
The frustrating thing with these is that with most puzzle games, understanding what you do is all you need to do. In this game, you have to wrestle with and struggle against the controls in a way that isnít very fun. Still, thatís not enough to completely ruin the game, and for $10, itís a good bargain. Coloropus is a charming game that isnít like much else out there. Overall, itís a game worth looking into if you donít mind paying close attention to how you move, and the game is, overall, a pleasant experience. I recommend Coloropus as something to keep in mind if you ever have an afternoon that needs to be filled.