There isnít a shortage of indie platformers these days, and itís occasionally hard to tell which ones are better than the rest. Many of these games aim to separate themselves from the pack with flashy and unique art styles, complex gameplay mechanics, or touching storylines, while Colour Bind takes a different approach by aiming for simplicity with its look, feel, and mechanics. Though, thatís not to say that Colour Bind is an easy game by any means. It requires precise controls and perfect timing, even after a few levels.
In Colour Bind the player controls a two wheeled vehicle by accelerating, braking, and enlarging the size of the wheels. Similar to that of most platformers, the goal is to simply reach the end of the level, and this is done by getting the vehicle to touch the floating orb located somewhere in the level. At first, itís as easy as simply driving to the other end, but the game will eventually introduce gravity into the mix. This is where the color comes into play.
Most of the game is a very dull grey color, but certain objects, including the playerís vehicle, are colored, with each color having its own gravitational properties that vary from level to level, and the key to most levels is figuring out when and how to change the color of the vehicle or objects in a way that will lead to the end of the level.
The entire game hinges on this idea of pairing color with gravity, and it uses it in some pretty interesting ways. The vehicle has a very specific weight and momentum that will often play into the complexity of the puzzles. Some colors may make the vehicle extremely light and easy to maneuver, while other colors will make the vehicle heavy and difficult to control. Most levels will also have switches that change the direction of gravity, which makes careful planning essential. In fact, many levels will contain surfaces with symbols on them that let the player know there is no longer a solution to the puzzle if the vehicle has landed on that surface, and the only solution will be to restart.
Colour Bind uses these mechanics in some pretty interesting ways, but the use of the buttons and platforming can be more frustrating than fun. Due to the use of momentum, and the fact that jumping is done by picking up speed and quickly expanding the size of the wheels, even making a simple jump to another platform can sometimes be a bigger challenge than itís worth. Itís obvious the designers wanted it to be that way, otherwise they would have simply put a jump button in the game, but sometimes the lack of precision with the platforming takes away from the interesting gravity mechanics by artificially injecting difficulty into a scenario that would have been more interesting if the hardest part of the level wasnít something extremely basic like timing your jumps. It really is a shame, because there is definitely something unique and interesting in the ideas of Colour Bind, even though it doesnít always play towards its strengths.
There is definitely room for improvement and expansion of the ideas in Colour Bind. Its minimalistic look and sound doesnít help give the game any personality, but despite the retro vector graphics there is still a very solid core that the game executes well. Even with my issues I have with some of the design decisions, I still had a decent time with Colour Bind. With all that said thereís no lack of stages and content in the game, and it starts getting extremely challenging early on, so if a challenging platformer with some unique mechanics sounds like something you may be interested in, it might be a good idea to check out Colour Bind.