Chicory: A Colourful Story
June 10, 2021
Platform PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Developer Greg Lobanov
Video video games do destruction all too effectively, however Canadian indie developer Greg Lobanov appears to have made it his mission to concentrate on the constructive and artistic. Lobanov is following up his winsome music-focused venture Wandersong with Chicory: A Colourful Story, an progressive new Zelda-esque journey that lets gamers paint actually all the pieces in its black-and-white world whereas exploring matters many inventive sorts could discover hit fairly near residence.
Chicory’s coloring-book world is a neat idea that should attraction to children, households, and those that simply have an insatiable itch to doodle, however is the top outcome worthy of a spot on the fridge? Or does the sport attempt to put an excessive amount of on the canvas and find yourself a muddy muddle? Let the artwork critique start!
Chicory: A Colourful Story takes place within the whimsical Picnic Province, the place all the pieces and everybody is known as after edibles (reply correctly when the sport asks your favourite meals, as a result of that will probably be your title for the sport) and all of the world’s colours are manually painted in by the highly effective Wielder and their magic Brush. Your character desires of being the Wielder and worships Chicory, the present holder of the Brush, however is caught because the lowly janitor of the Wielder’s Tower originally of the sport. Fortunately (or maybe not so fortunately) you get your alternative to shine when the world is mysteriously drained of shade and you discover the Brush deserted. From right here, you declare the Brush and set off to re-color the world, and work by means of a couple of private points.
Like Wandersong earlier than it, Chicory begins out goofy and upbeat, however darker themes and extra advanced motivations quickly creep in across the edges of the canvas. Imposter syndrome and fighting the burden of expectations are main themes right here, as your character is determined to show they should be Wielder, regardless of more-or-less lucking into the Brush, and Chicory is affected by some fairly nasty doubts of her personal. Doubts which may be tied to what’s taking place on the planet. Considerably related themes had been explored in Wandersong, however they’re expressed extra clearly and forcefully right here. Wandersong was a contact extra summary, whereas Chicory makes use of artwork and the inventive course of as a powerful metaphor for engaged on your self. And hey, simply in case I’m making this all sound a bit too heady, that is nonetheless a sport the place you may design donuts, assist a preppy snake throw a celebration, and paint butts on something you need.
Along with a greater story, Chicory one-ups Wandersong by way of presentation. The sport’s character designs by Alexis Dean-Jones are cute as heck, and the protagonist is delivered to life with a ton of enjoyable animations — dozing in the event you go away them alone or doing somewhat wet-dog shake after they emerge from the water. And, in fact, all of it seems to be higher when you shade it in. The sport’s soundtrack is by Celeste composer Lena Raine, and it deserves to rake in some awards later this yr. She’s working in a Zelda mode right here, however with loads of fashionable touches. Notably spectacular is the way in which the music dynamically modifications, changing into extra intense or heavy as occasions within the sport ratchet up.
As for the way Chicory: A Colourful Story really performs, you run round screen-by-screen ala basic Zelda and may paint on stuff at any time with a cursor you management independently out of your character. Finally, you’ll acquire a wide range of powers that can assist you to traverse the world, together with the power to “swim” by means of ache Splatoon-style, leap over gaps, and extra.
In the event you’re questioning how Chicory manages to mix adventuring and portray with out issues getting irritating, effectively, it doesn’t. Not completely. Taking part in with a keyboard and mouse is nice for portray, however isn’t so nice for a number of the extra exacting timing-based motion stuff. Utilizing a controller is healthier for the motion, however makes for a lot much less exact drawing (taking part in on PC I didn’t have the choice of utilizing the PlayStation touchpad for portray, however that doesn’t sound like the right answer both). Sure parts really feel like they might have been polished a bit extra – exploding globes you must push round for sure puzzles typically get caught on issues and the much less stated in regards to the finicky crops you must experience later within the sport, the higher. General, Chicory’s controls really feel only a contact clunky, however that is an indie sport, and its chill vibe (other than bosses, there aren’t any enemies within the sport) means its occasional sticking factors aren’t too irritating.
I need to additionally admit, I wasn’t fairly as entranced by Chicory’s central portray mechanic as I believed I might be. The sport means that you can paint freely on giant surfaces, whereas smaller objects are robotically coloured in, and you’ll shortly change your brush dimension, kind, and shade with a couple of fast button presses. It’s all simple sufficient to get into, however in the event you’re hoping for one thing as superior as even MS Paint from 25 years in the past, you’re going to be dissatisfied. All the things simply feels considerably hand-holdy with every space solely permitting a palette of 4 completely different colours (though you may ultimately design your personal), and hit detection is usually a bit wonky, making any type of exact work troublesome. Don’t get me flawed, splattering paint round offers a easy type of satisfaction, and perhaps I might have been extra into it if I had performed the sport in co-op mode. However finally, whilst anyone who enjoys drawing (there’s a full sketch pad beside me as I write this interview), I pretty shortly discovered myself passing on the superfluous doodling to concentrate on Chicory’s marketing campaign. Fortunately, that marketing campaign could be very, superb.
Even when the drawing gimmick was significantly scaled again, Chicory would nonetheless be a rock-solid old-school action-adventure. The sport’s overworld measures as much as one of the best 2D Zelda video games, with secrets and techniques, shortcuts, and different enjoyable issues to seek out round each nook. Cities call to mind Earthbound and one of the best Pokemon video games, that includes a wealth of wacky animal weirdos you’ll really feel a right away connection to.
The sport’s puzzles hit that good Zelda candy spot, the place they’re powerful sufficient to get your gray matter percolating, however not so advanced you’ll be working for a information (and in the event you do get caught, the sport has a really charming and complete trace system). Along with the varied Brush powers you’ll acquire, you’ll come throughout a wide selection of various parts that work together together with your paint in distinctive methods, together with crops that ricochet you throughout the display, spouts of shade you may surf by means of, and ridable bugs that observe trails of paint, simply to call a couple of. And when you’re beginning to get a bit bored with puzzles, the sport will wake you up with a boss battle, a few of which get surprisingly intense (though a limiteless variety of lives means anyone can ultimately greatest them).
Admittedly, not each part of the sport is equally nice. The primary two-thirds of Chicory is nearly completely paced, however in direction of the top of the marketing campaign, the sport throws a collection of Wielder Trials at you, a few of which don’t really feel fairly as polished as the remainder of the sport. Particularly, a platforming-heavy mountain-climbing sequence appears like a misplaced Celeste stage, and Chicory’s controls and mechanics simply aren’t as much as the problem. Don’t get me flawed, these trials aren’t dangerous, some are fairly good, they’re simply not fairly as much as the excessive normal set by the remainder of the sport. That is nonetheless among the best Zelda-esque adventures I’ve performed in a while, and I haven’t even talked about a ton of options, just like the outfits you may accumulate, decorations you may place world wide, and artwork lessons you may take. There’s a ridiculous quantity of stuff packed into this sport contemplating its dev workforce consisted of round half-a-dozen folks.
Greg Lobanov has additionally retained his knack for delivering an excellent ending. As with Wandersong earlier than it, Chicory pulls collectively its threads and themes expertly for a first-pumping and finally uplifting finale. Chicory is a type of video games you end, sit there occupied with for some time, then instantly bounce again into so you may 100% it. And that received’t be a fast process. This sport serves up a strong 10-to-15-hour marketing campaign and you’ll most likely tack on a minimum of one other 10 hours if you wish to accumulate all the pieces. That is one portray that’s simple to get misplaced in.
This overview was based mostly on a PC copy of Chicory: A Colourful Story supplied by writer Finji. You may grab a copy of the game here.
Chicory: A Colourful Story is an bold, absorbing, and artistic Zelda-style journey with some significant, heartfelt issues to say in regards to the inventive course of, self-doubt, and different large points. Like its characters, Chicory isn’t good – its controls could be a bit clunky and perhaps its portray instruments aren’t as versatile as they could possibly be – but it surely’s a simple sport to like. Does it fall barely wanting masterpiece standing? Maybe, but it surely’s nonetheless very a lot price including to your artwork assortment.
- Quirky, cuddly solid
- Mature, shifting story
- Portray is sweet laid-back enjoyable
- Intelligent, diverse puzzles
- Killer soundtrack
- Tons to do
- Some management points
- Drawing instruments maybe too easy
- That rattling mountain part