I’ve played many games over the years. I’ve raced, I’ve shot, I’ve run around in circles. I’ve jumped from platform to platform, I’ve reached the stars, I’ve dived to the depths of the oceans.
Never ever, have I been as frustrated as I have whilst playing Color Symphony 2. Never have I wanted to bin a game to such an extent as I have these last few weeks whilst checking out Remimory’s puzzle platformer; one which utilises the ambiguity of colour as its main selling point. Never have I been so angry with myself for not being able to work out what the hell is going on!
Color Symphony 2 tells the tale of a man who, well, I’m not sure to be honest. In fact, it’s probably a good time to drop you the blurb that the developers have pinned their selling hopes on.
‘A man returns to his world to reclaim all he has lost without knowing that everything has changed since he left…’
So that’s about as clear as mud then. An idea which is pretty prevalent to the entirety of Color Symphony 2.
Basically, without beating round the bush too much, Color Symphony 2 sends you through more than 120 levels in which the obstacles contained within are controlled by colour. It is up to you to help navigate your little lost dude through the stages, switching the hues on and off at will in order to help him progress. With a jump button assigned to either your A button or the RT, and the colours included actionable via the other face buttons, it all seems pretty simple.
But it’s not. It’s far from simple.
Now, I like a puzzler as much as the next guy, but I also like to be able to gather some sense from what I’m doing. Something which very rarely happens with Color Symphony 2. With the levels made up of moving objects, all coloured accordingly, hitting the red, blue or yellow buttons to switch off, and on, each colour individually works each and every time – swiftly and precisely. In fact, there is nothing wrong with the mechanics in that sense. But, and this is the real killer, the swiftness of finger needed to change from yellow, to blue, to yellow, to red and through the cycle again is just too complex for my liking. If you include the fact that A is the go-to button for jumping, then it’s rare that you’ll have the necessary skills to be able to flick through the buttons with success. Think of it like playing the hardest song on Guitar Hero or Rock Band on the hardest difficulty setting possible. On a standard controller. With one hand. Blindfolded. At times, Color Symphony 2 is that hard and that random.
Yes, you can hit the right trigger to make your guy jump and double jump, forgoing the need to worry about A, but the sheer nature of the trigger ensures that there is just too much of a delay – no matter how small the milliseconds may be – to make it work nicely.
Perhaps it’s me and perhaps I’m alone in not being able to get my head around the switching of hues at such a fast pace, but you’re a better man than me if you can find a huge amount of enjoyment in Color Symphony 2.
When you also include levels that scroll, left to right, and up to down, with only specific sections on show at a time, then you’ll quickly see how I’ve struggled even more. In fact, when switching off certain colours and thinking you are progressing nicely towards the portal that signals the end of each stage, you’ll easily find yourself in a position in which you want to stick, but find you must twist. In fact, it’s nigh on impossible to complete the majority of the stages without taking a good few deaths for the team, and even then potluck plays a huge role. And when it’s taken you a ton of attempts to get to that point, then to put your next move in the lap of the gods is just plain wrong.
I have to admit that the mechanics found in Color Symphony 2 are delightful, especially those of the platforming nature. Jumping from pixel to pixel is tight and always precise, and as a standard platformer would work incredibly well. The stages have also, to a degree, been created effectively and, aside from those which require utter guesswork, are clever in their structure.
It’s also very good to see a seriously comprehensive colour blind system implemented. In fact, if you should struggle to differentiate between hues, then chances are Remimory have included enough variations on the old red, yellow and blue colour scheme to ensure you are well sorted. But whilst that feature may help many gamers, there will be many more who will see it as just a token gesture.
You may also see the included leaderboards as an idea pretty much lost as, except for when you initially end a stage, there is no other chance to find out how well you are comparing against your friends. It’s a strange idea to include leaderboards and then hide them away so well and I’m not really sure why Remimory haven’t allowed for full integration. At least the grading stars that are gifted depending on how quickly you’ve completed a level are shown at all times, giving little reason to go back and fight your way through the same old levels again and again.
For all its issues, strangeness and damn bloody frustrating moments of luck, Color Symphony 2 isn’t a bad game. Indeed, it’s got both some lovely visuals, a delightful backing tune and cracking gameplay mechanics. If you can get your head around the changeable conditions then you will definitely find a game that has plenty of appeal.
The problem is, you may just be put off before that appeal hits home.
Related: Let’s Play Color Symphony 2 on Xbox One!