Review: Color Guardians (PS4/PSV/PSTV)

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Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita

Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible Yes
  • Cross-Buy Yes
  • Cross-Save Yes
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No
Title: Color Guardians
Format: PlayStation Network Download (PS4 741 MB) (PSV 741 MB)
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Fair Play Labs
Developer: Fair Play Labs
Original MSRP: $14.99 (US), €9.99 (EU), £8.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 7
Color Guardians is also available on PlayStation 3 (Summer 2015), PC and Mac.
The PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita versions were used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Color Guardians is a beautiful endless running platformer and memory game. It’s deceptively cute and childish upon first glance but after the first few minutes of play you’ll soon realise its anything but. Before I tell you about that I should get the story out of the way first. The very colorful world of Terra Color has been turned into a colorless and sad place by an unknown enemy and it’s up to the guardians to restore their world to its former glory.

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You switch between three different coloured characters called Rod, Lia, and Grock. Controls are simple to understand, with one of three buttons assigned to each color – Square, Triangle and X correspond to Red, Yellow and Blue respectively. Circle releases your character from the Wind Chopper, a device that lets you glide for a long distance. You switch lanes by moving up or down with either the left analog stick or directional pad. That’s it, all the controls. Sounds easy doesn’t it?

… frustration builds with every level …
Your character automatically runs at a fixed speed from left to right. You switch between three paths to avoid obstacles and swap your character to match the Color Orbs allowing you to pick them up to restore color to the level and gain some points. You also have to be the correct color to trigger jumps, switches, platforms, and loads more. Pressing the same the button that you used to change color causes your character to spin. Doing this when picking up the orbs awards a perfect and boosts your score, as does continually changing lanes and characters.

One mistake and you instantly return to the beginning of the level or the last checkpoint you passed, thankfully without any repercussions or consequences, apart from some feelings of frustration. That frustration builds with every level as each becomes more maddening and convoluted than the last as if the level layouts have been tweaked to the Nth degree by the Devil himself.

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So I shook off my obsessive compulsion to collect every orb and perfect every level and actually started to enjoy the game. Knowing that I could revisit any level whenever I wanted kept my disorder in check most of the time. Plus I could also keep an eye out for Tokis, if I collected enough of them I could unlock a secret area.

… an explosion of color like a bursting balloon …
I was very pleased to see that Color Guardians features not only Cross-Buy but also Cross-Save, however it annoyingly doesn’t save to the cloud automatically and has to be selected from the main menu. It shares some amusingly named trophies and has that all important Platinum. A feast of extras to unlock and plenty of levels to master should keep the determined few busy for quite some time.

I did encounter a few little bugs, mainly concerning the sound after watching an unlocked video from the extras menu and once on the Vita the game wouldn’t allow me to do anything except scroll up and down the main menu. That was after leaving the game in sleep mode for awhile. Oh, and it completely crashed on me after completing the second area.

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Visuals:
Color Guardians is fast, smooth, and very colorful. You can see that a lot of care and attention went into making it almost sickly sweet and happy. Even when your character dies it’s in an explosion of color like a bursting balloon filled with paint. Collect a steady stream of orbs and the level around you fills with color and happiness as the grey is washed away.

Playing on the Vita is a very similar experience to the PlayStation 4 with only a slight downgrade on the little handheld. I didn’t notice any problems visually and it plays well on both systems.

… a fantastically cute game …
Audio:
Just like the visuals the audio department is very fun and happy with sound effects very reminiscent of an old Sonic the Hedgehog game. Unless you encounter the audio bug I mentioned earlier that makes the audio sound as if it’s emanating from the Devil himself.

Some of you might find the music a bit too jolly and upbeat after an hour or so, but fear not as you can adjust the volume for the music, ambience, and sound effects in the options menu.

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Online/Multiplayer:
This is a single player game only but does feature online leaderboards for each level.

Conclusion:
My initial thoughts about Color Guardians were that poor design had made it too much of a challenge and it would become yet another game lost into the abyss of deletion. You have to either master every inch of the level with excellent timing and patience or learn to accept an imperfect score and move on.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this game is as easy as it looks, it will keep even the seasoned players going for some time. Color Guardians is a fantastically cute game that hides a dark secret, the Devil did the details.

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature and the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

PS Vita Screenshots

PS4 Screenshots

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