December 20, 2012 2:00 PM | Staff
[Guest editor Colin Brown profiles the games currently offered in the Xmas Bundle 2.0 from IndieGames' co-created site Indie Royale.]
There's a certain phrase that gets tossed around a little too often for my liking, and I generally try to avoid using it: underrated. However, that really is a fantastic way to describe the deceptively simple puzzle platformer Colour Bind from Puppy Punch Productions. At first glance, the game looks like a simple, standard, minimalist and perhaps even generic platformer. Those sly first glances are wrong though, because Colour Bind is a very challenging game that defiantly dismisses almost all of your indie platformer expectations. Where the heavy hitters zig, Colour Bind zags. This direction makes for a game that runs counter to everything one might expected, but still manages to be pretty great.
In Colour Bind, you drive a stark bit of geometry with two wheels, able to inflate and break your tires as needed to flip and bounce through the levels. The most important aspect is your colour, as the physics of the world are based on where your hue falls on the RGB palette. Throw in colour swapping lasers and you can easily see where the mind bending aspect of the game comes into play, as a swap from red to blue might mean your car-thing is now falling up and driving around on the ceiling. Hilarity, or at the very least physics puzzling, ensues.
What you don't get from your deceitful first glance is how much of a challenge the game is. It's hard, and in a way that might be unfamiliar and frightening. You see, unlike the very predictable physics engines one finds in most twitchy platformers, the bouncy physics of Colour Bind are quite unpredictable and harder to manage. With this complete 180 in physics design, the game becomes less about mastering the controls and more about mastering the ability to remain in control, and even then an errant bounce or a mistimed break can still send you reaching for the restart key. And this isn't a bad thing, mind you, but simply a matter of taste. While I wouldn't recommend the game to the easily frustrated, the unpredictable physics are a neat way of shaking things up from the near universal standard style of engine.
What Colour Bind lacks in the graphic and story department--another departure from fellow physics platformers--it more than makes up for it through content with 50 levels that all feel unique, using a handful of gimmicks in new and different ways to make every challenge feel unique. Then of course you have some very welcome local co-op, and the developers of Colour Bind capitalized on one of Steam's best perks, the community driven Workshop. That means a slow but steady drip of new content, plus a place to show off anything built with the intuitive editor.
Having played Colour Bind on release, my reactions to it varied wildly from adoration to anger, but eventually I gathered my thoughts and decided I liked the cheeky little game. It's a game that feels totally different from the rest of its own overcrowded genre by reversing the physics platformer tropes to make an experience that is amusing, challenging and, most importantly, new.
[Colour Bind and six other games are available now in Indie Royale's Xmas Bundle 2.0.]