Set in a world completely washed of colour, the eponymous Hue awakens to find that his mother Anne, a researcher specialised in colour theory, has vanished. Stumbling upon a mysterious note, you learn that a ring she created to a experience a vast spectrum of colours has fractured, painting her an impalpable shade, unperceivable to the human eye. After uncovering the lost remnants of the ring you must locate a rainbow of colour fragments and travel across the land in hopes of finding her.
At its core Hue is traditional 2D puzzle-platformer that is comparable to Playdead's Limbo both mechanically and aesthetically. Its approach to puzzle solving is truly innovative as you can manipulate your perception of colour to vanquish potential threats and uncover hidden objects and doorways. A memorable section we encountered early on had us dashing across an assault course of spike pits and towering drops, whilst using the colour wheel to eliminate the presence of oncoming boulders. As you collect more of the eight available colours, puzzles become steadily more complex and demand much sharper timing and accuracy.
A single push of the right analog stick is all that is need to bring up the colour wheel and from there you can simply select your desired colour. This may sound straightforward enough, but at times the colour wheel unexpectedly snapped shut, leaving us to unfairly plunge to our demise. Shades of pink and purple on the wheel also looked awfully similar and it became easy to mistake one for the other when trying to maintain a brisk pace. These hiccups regularly resulted in frustration, but fortunately there was always a checkpoint nearby so we never felt too cheated.
Hue also implements elements of classic Metroidvania titles, providing a fresh deviation from the usually intense bouts of puzzle solving. As your colour palette begins to expand you'll be required to backtrack to gain access to areas that were previously unreachable. As Hue's world is tightly woven together and linked by a network of winding doorways it's not too much of a slog until you find yourself looped back to these areas. The mechanic of using colours in a Metroidvania style feels refreshing and much more meaningful and organic than shattering obstructed pathways with newly unlocked artillery.
While it may appear completely blackened and vacant of expression, Hue's world is one that is brimming with beauty under its surface. Once you've activated a splash of colour the sky is soon to illuminate with a bright neon glow, creating a power juxtaposition against its cold dreary structures. Presented in a bleak silhouetted style, Hue's despaired world is inhabited with the ring of wavering chains, the chirps of bustling wildlife and the splash of gentle flowing water. Its soothing piano flourishes work to mimic the charm and tranquility of its ambient soundscape and help to further immerse you into its pacifying dream-like world.
While its innovative mechanics and charming presentation cannot be faulted, its bombardment of puzzles does start to become fatiguing and monotonous. Its backtracking segments remain infrequent and besides walking down vacant passageways to grab new colour fragments, there's little variation to truly shake things up. But while puzzles themselves can feel grueling, they're always met with fresh new additions, later including non-adjustable black objects and destructive laser beams. Another fault that can be drawn is that Hue handles surprisingly light and floaty, if you're not careful enough you can easily find yourself drifting too far off a platform's edge and land straight onto a spike-ridden death trap.
Although it manages to dish up an ample slice of playtime, there is little incentive to return back to the experience upon completion. Secret vials are all that exist in the way collectables, and we found that we were able to track down the majority them during our first venture. But that being said, there is many sights to be seen and plenty of depth to the main story, so it's pretty likely that you may find yourself urged to return for a second outing.
Adding a splash of colour to the saturated indie puzzle-platformer scene, Hue is a worthy experience that is as individual as it is charming. Having the ability to manipulate the perception of colour is fresh take on the genre and its silhouetted world looks breathtaking when illuminated with vibrant neon colours. Its lack of variation and monotonous barrage of puzzles may limit it from excellence, but it's still a truly innovative journey that stand as a work of art to marvel at and fully immerse yourself in.