Previously known for their work on PC and Mobile platforms, Exkee, a French developer, have decided to move over to the Nintendo Wii in order to develop for the WiiWare platform. This has seen them come up with their first game, ColorZ, a game revolving around aliens that need to absorb enemies of differing colours to survive.
The premise sounds relatively simple, and it is. The player starts off controlling an alien space ship that is a certain colour. The ship can absorb enemies of the same colour, but gets hurt by coming into contact with enemies of differing colours. Moving the ship is done by pointing the Wii Remote in a specific direction, and it's very intuitive. However, things start to get more difficult rather quickly with the inclusion of another vessel that comes under the player's control.
Adding the second ship turns what at first seems to be a relatively easy puzzle game, into something far deeper. The second ship is controlled by the Nunchuk analogue stick and is quite often a different colour to the primary ship. Puzzles start to require traversal through smaller colour grids, sometimes in opposite directions in an attempt to confuse the player. Things become even more complicated with the ability to merge the two ships in order to blend colours and this is performed by pressing Z or B and moving the ships together. When enemies start appearing in colours that aren't in the RGB colour gamut, for example, purple, this becomes mandatory. It is possible to change the base colour of the ship using designated colours, but sometimes more than one alternative is offered.
The game might still sound relatively easy, that is, until a third ship is added. The player now has ships of red, green and blue, all under his control at the same time. The latest addition to a player's control is commanded using the d-pad on the end of the Wii Remote, which is actually rather tricky. It's difficult to use the d-pad without altering the Wii Remote's direction, and the d-pad isn't really the best at moving in diagonals. Pressing in the C button keeps the primary ship motionless allowing the other two to move around without the prospect of the main ship wandering into harms way, but the third ship still feels a bit unresponsive. The three ships can also be merged in order to make white, as well as all the other possible colours.
There is plenty of diversity in the levels that ColorZ offers. The first world effectively acts as a tutorial and offers hints throughout levels. It also introduces players to the format of future levels: one level with one craft, three levels with two crafts, one level with three crafts. There are 25 levels in total available in the single-player component of the game and this is more than enough to keep players occupied; no two levels feel the same at all. The difficulty also increases quite noticeably as the worlds progress. The speed of the crafts increase and this in turn means that quicker thinking is required. This is then made even more difficult with the inclusion of enemies that cannot be absorbed, and enemies that attack the ships.
Graphically, ColorZ is appealing to look at. It has a very vibrant art style, which is to be expected since the game is all about different colours. The enemies themselves may seem a little bland, as they're all the same object just represented with different sizes. It doesn't really retract from the experience though, as so much time is spent concentrating on the player's ships. It would have been nice to see a bit of variety though. The music is reasonable, but it does start to get a little bit repetitive after a while.
While ColorZ can seem a rather difficult task to accomplish alone, it's possible to play the game with up to two other people. Fourteen of the levels are available to play with two people, and there are six levels available if three people are playing. Some of the levels are borrowed from the single player campaign, but it can be much more enjoyable not having to worry about every single craft. Medals are also awarded depending on the level of performance throughout the level, so for those wishing to complete the game in its entirety, there is an added challenge to complete.
When reading about ColorZ it may seem fairly simple, but it is quite possibly one of the most difficult games in existence. The level of dexterity that's required really takes gamers out of their comfort zone, as they have to think about so many different things at the same time - challenging is definitely a word that springs to mind. It's not going to win any awards for its graphical prowess, but it's still appealing and the puzzles offer a lot of variety. This is definitely a game that's easy to recommend for those looking for a challenge. It can't really be considered a casual game though, unless played with friends.