Review: ColorZ (Wii)October 5th, 2009 | Written by Chris Selogy | Topic: Reviews, Wii
With co-op being a big feature this generation, it’s no surprise that a few developers would try to step it up and go for a self co-op game that challenges your hand-eye coordination in juggling multiple characters at once. ColorZ is a WiiWare game that attempts to do that concept some justice with an added focus on color mixing and matching that turns the inherent difficulty up a notch.
ColorZ isn’t the first of these self co-op games, as Schizoid on Xbox Live Arcade was another notable game in that niche genre. Like Schizoid, you control up to three ships at once with the goal of getting through many colored obstacles by using the like-colored ship in your control to run into and destroy these gear-like enemy things. In addition to the basic blue, red, and green colors of your main ships, you can combine them to turn them into other colors to match the colors of upcoming obstacles. There are even some portals that will change the colors of your ships to challenge your ability to react to what’s ahead and what colors you need your ships to be so they can be combined for the correct resulting color. So as you can see, not only will this game challenge your hand-eye coordination, but also your ability to mix and match colors on the fly, as well.
With single-player as the headlining mode in ColorZ, the complex controls are probably the biggest hindrance. It’s not so much the actual controls, but more that a good number of the levels need you to control all three ships at least. With just a Wii Remote and Nunchuck, the first ship is controlled by the Remote’s pointer, the second ship is controlled with the Nunchuck’s analog stick, and the third ship is controlled with the d-pad on the Remote. You do have the ability to hold down the C button to freeze your main ship in its place along with being able to merge all of the ships together by holding the B or Z button, which determines whether the combined ship is controlled by pointer or analog stick for some choice.
The single-player mode in ColorZ features mostly two ship levels and quite a few three ship levels that may prove to be the hurdle you have to work hard to overcome. It just feels like unnecessary complication when there’s plenty of challenge in levels with only two ships, so controlling three ships could’ve been better utilized in either of the co-op modes. To help out a bit when you try levels again, you get an extra life or two to possibly help you last longer if frustration doesn’t wear your skills down faster than the extra lives can help. There are opportunities where you can game the system so that you can use the second or two of invisibility after you lose a life to zip past obstacles as a meaning of progress that the developers may not have intended. That makes the single-player mode less attractive to play when it has more levels than either of the other modes.
The co-op modes do feel like the best way to spend your time in ColorZ, as it unloads the pressure of controlling multiple ships yourself to friends that you can better yell at when they fail. With just co-op, it’s easier to enjoy yourself with a lot of the frustration disappearing as you work with friends to get through the dozen or so levels in either. When combining ships with a friend to mix your colors, the combined ship moves in the direction that is in the middle of both or all three cursors for an interesting way to handle that mechanic. It’s a shame that the two or three player modes don’t offer more levels, so the fun won’t last as long as you’d like.
ColorZ definitely has an interesting style to it, being naturally colorful by virtue of its main gameplay mechanics. The ships have a classic glass sphere-style UFO look to them while the enemy things are a bit overly simplistic with little variation between them outside of colors. Being a game that’s all about color, it doesn’t seem like there are options to make the game friendly to the colorblind, so depending on what colors give you issues, this game is likely to be unplayable for most of the colorblind. The soundtrack has a nice techno-ish vibe to it that is entertaining, though the bubble wrap-style popping sound when destroying enemies may be an agitating sound that you’ll hear often.
ColorZ certainly offers an interesting style of gameplay that has a twist of mixing and matching colors with a requirement of great hand-eye coordination, but it’s the overload of what the single-player expect you to be able to handle that kind of sours the appeal a bit. Co-op helps ease the pain by letting you work with some friends to get through the fairly small amount of levels those two modes have to offer. For just 700 points ($7 in the US), it’s not very recommendable unless you have friends that want to play it or if you don’t mind a difficult challenge.