Flash in the Pan #2 – “The Colour Series” Part 1

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The Colour series by Silver-Stitch was released back in 2009. It’s a collection of scrawled art games where you play a tenacious stick figure searching for his lady love in a monochrome dystopia. Each episode is fairly short, so you can play them all back-to-back in just shy of an hour. The series has won its fair share of awards on Newgrounds, its hosting site: “Colour My World” won both Daily Feature and Weekly Users’ Choice, “Colour My Dreams” won Daily 2nd Place, and “Colour My Fate” won both Daily Feature and Weekly 5th Place. Let’s find out why!

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“Colour My Heart” is an easy-peasy platformer that sets the stage for the rest of the series. The world is drab, full of cracked buildings and cold machinery. Everywhere you go, signs tower over you with disheartening slogans like “No Colour, No emotion!” and “Your world can collapse!” The smokestacks blow out hearts that quickly break in two. Our plucky hero (I’ll call him Stick) takes advantage of the city’s technology to escape above it and find the only color (sorry, title, I’m not Australian) in the world, by his lover’s side.

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The journey is what really matters in this heartwarming artistic romp, so don’t expect wildly sophisticated gameplay. Seriously, the controls are maddeningly clunky. May every known deity have mercy on you when it comes time to jump from rock to rock. The real point of “Heart” is to make you feel warm and squishy inside and to give you a little interactivity. It was released right after Valentine’s Day, after all. The game is really drawn together by its soundtrack, a melancholy yet hopeful piano piece entitled “Heartbeats”, courtesy of Coin (aka broove). Not the greatest game in history, but a necessary introduction to the rest of the series.

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“Colour My World” is longer than its predecessor and has more of a plot. Stick must travel from his home in the mountains back into Black+White City to get coffee with his girlfriend. This installment introduces two new gimmicks, both involving the mouse: by clicking on the sparkly bits in your surroundings, you can either turn on machines to help you advance or bring color back to the world through flowers and lights. Aww. You encounter more signs along the way, but this time they’re specifically addressed to Stick. At first they cooly advise him to turn back, but as the game goes on they flat-out tell him that if he leaves the mountains he won’t be able to return, and his girlfriend can’t possibly be worth the trouble of wading around an apathetic world. They even goad you into taking a flying leap of faith into the abyss.

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Speaking of leaps, the controls are much cleaner this time around, but if you’re right-handed, it’s a little frustrating to constantly flit between the arrow keys and the mouse pad. There’s also one section of platforms where you change screens mid-jump, which makes landing in the right spot even harder than usual. In the end, you stick it to B+W City once again, defying its prohibitions of love and adventure to reunite with your girlfriend. Once again, the point is not, in Silver-Stitch’s own words, a “hardcore gaming experience.”. The point is to ruminate on what matters to you in life and what you’d face to keep it. Learn to live with the wonky controls, and you can sit back and enjoy the sentimentality.

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“Colour My Dreams” was released around Halloween and oh boy does it show. Every atmospheric staple has been overhauled and replaced with darkness and jump scares. Understated ideas about the importance of love and creativity? Gone. Cute tinkly piano music? Gone. The pride in knowing it’s been quite some time since you last violently shat yourself in fear? Gone. Okay, it’s no Amnesia or Slender, but once you’ve ambled through two installments of a simple and sweet little artsy game, you feel understandably violated when the third takes a sharp left turn into the horror genre.

Once again, your job is to run through a level and click a bunch of machinery that will help you reach the end. But this time you’re in a gloomy and terrifying nightmare land, complete with crashes of lightning and dark figures that skitter just out of sight. There are still sparkly prompts to fill the world with color, but instead of helping a tree grow pretty green leaves, you unclog a pipe so it spews bright red blood!

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ENJOY YOUR COLOR JACKASS

Thankfully the programming is even smoother than last time, and the controls have been changed to the WASD keys instead of the arrows so that righties don’t have to change hands. Southpaws have my condolences. Depending on who I’ve talked to, the core compass puzzle in this episode is either insultingly easy or ankle-chompingly insane. My advice is not to overthink it, or you’ll end up running back and forth between scenes for a good ten minutes and then kicking yourself when you realize the answer. In the end, the whole ordeal turns out to actually be Stick’s nightmare, so we return to the cutesy world and leave our traumatizing Big Lipped Alligator Moment behind us.

Next time: “The Colour Series” Part 2
(“Colour My Fate” and “Colour My Life”)

FairyGodmoose (12 Posts)

Hey folks, I’m FairyGodmoose (Figgy for short)! I gravitate toward cult films, kids shows, and a whole mess of whatnot in-between.