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Color Guardians Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Color Guardians has a simple premise that quickly overstays its welcome. The gameplay is basic and easy to learn, but the unfair stages will send players into a rage. The game becomes less fun as each additional obstacle is introduced, and many of the 70+ stages feel like filler. Color Guardians starts out fun, but lost me the longer it went on. Rating: 64%
Color Guardians
Color Guardians Color Guardians Color Guardians Color Guardians
  • Review Score:

  • B-
Lately it feels like there's something new to worry about every time I turn on the news. From natural disasters to getting old to fears of another economic crash plunging the entire world into the Stone Age, there's a lot to be concerned about. But of all the things that keep me up at night, I've never been too concerned about flying demon monsters swooping down and sucking the color out of the world. Now that I've played Color Guardians by Fair Play Labs, I'm still not convinced this is a catastrophe worth getting worked up about.

Maybe I shouldn't minimize what appears to be a traumatic event for Rod, Lia, Grock and the rest of the colorful cast of Color Guardians. When that winged beast attacks their peaceful city, they grow stronger and set out on an adventure to bring color back to the world. They do this the only way they know how, which involves running full-speed towards Dark Fort without even a minute put into strategizing a plan that will actually work.

As much as I want to scoff at the devil may care approach to defeating the evil monsters, it clearly works for the Color Guardians. These are simple creatures with colorful bodies and feet with no legs. They aren't good at hand-to-hand combat or holding deadly weapons, but they can run real fast and change colors to avoid obstacles. And with some practice and a lot of patience, these little creatures may have what it takes to restore color to the world.

The core mechanics combine basic platforming elements with the tropes made famous in the rhythm genre. As one of the Color Guardians, the player runs along a three-lane path dodging obstacles and picking up floating orbs. Our hero can transform into three different colors at the push of a button -- red, blue and yellow. You can only interact with objects that are the same color as the character, so it's up to you to constantly switch between the colors to complete each level.

While the game looks like it's aimed at the younger crowd, Color Guardians proves to be incredibly difficult. I've put thousands of hours into Rock Band and Guitar Hero, yet I found myself struggling with the multi-tasking the game demands. Players are not just changing colors, but also paying attention to the lanes to avoid dead ends.

Color Guardians (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

To make things even trickier, there's a timing component to picking up the floating orbs. It's not good enough to simply run into the items, as our hero will need to push the button at just the right time to pick them up. This is easy in the first few stages, but you'll find that changing lanes, switching colors, hitting the button on time and keeping an eye on the track can quickly become overwhelming.

Things get a lot more complicated when the developers introduce new obstacles. There are floor panels that will send our hero flying through the air, spooky enemies to avoid and even mine carts to ride. The level designs will also evolve beyond straight-forward and turn into devilishly difficult mazes. While occasionally infuriating, the multiple checkpoints found in each stage will make the game more manageable.

Unfortunately, the checkpoints aren't enough to keep this from devolving into one frustrating exercise after another. The difficulty ramps up in a hurry, often in ways that feel unfair. The close-up camera also causes some problems, as it limits how far we can see. This isn't so bad when you're asked to bounce off differently colored jump pads, but many of the obstacles feel purposely cheap. You'll spend way too long on small sections, simply because the developer was over zealous when adding hurdles to jump.

Color Guardians (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Color Guardians boasts more than 70 different stages, but a lot of them start to bleed together after a while. You'll see the same traps repeated countless times, as well as a boss that keeps coming back. Even with new elements being added from stage to stage, a lot of this adventure feels like filler. Instead of wanting to go back and better my high scores, I couldn't wait to be done with the difficult levels.

This is a game that clicked with me from the very beginning. As a fan of rhythm games, Color Guardians scratched a very specific itch. For the first hour, I had the biggest grin plastered on my face. But as the hours began to add up, I found myself losing interest in the things I initially liked. The game is fun in small doses, but ultimately marred by repetitive levels that feel more like filler than cleverly assembled puzzles.
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