The PS Plus lineup of free games vary wildly in quality from month to month, but there’s no denying that Sony manages to offer some hidden gems for subscribers. I added Hue to my library when it was offered a while back, and I was looking for something to play recently, and just on a whim, I decided to launch it. Developed by Fiddlesticks, Hue is a delightful puzzle platformer with a unique twist on the genre: colors define your experience here.
You play as Hue, a young boy in search for his missing mother, a woman who literally discovered color in a grayscale world. Found letters throughout the world tell the complicated story of her relationship with Mr. Grey at a nearby University. The story weaves in and out of philosophy and academic tangents, but it never strays from its emotional anchor: a mother and the relationship with her son. I wouldn’t launch the game expecting Shakespeare or The Witcher III, but it’s a neat tale with interesting undertones.
Your mother bestows her color-changing gadget to you, allowing you to shift between a spectrum of colors in order to tackle the puzzles in each room. There’s a red box blocking your way? Shift the world to red and that box disappears. Need that box to jump on a ledge later on? Shift to another color for it to reappear. The puzzles start off basically that simple, but as you gain more colors, the puzzles become daunting. Lasers, motion activated death blocks, and slime that warps the colors of objects all become part of the equation. By the last section of the game, the amount of factors and steps you need to consider to solve a puzzle is challenging for even veteran platformers.
However, the puzzles never felt unfair. Every time a solution dawned on me, I had to smile in surprise at the clever design. There’s no combat, and if Hue is ever killed by any of the traps, you simply restart the room. It’s a weird tonal shift watching Hue get impaled by spikes or struck by a death laser, but it doesn’t ruin the experience. The only major complaint I have with the game is the similarity between the colors, especially in moments where the puzzles required quick thinking and reaction. Discerning between yellow and gold, pink and a light purple, and blue and darker blue while trying to outrace falling rocks made me wonder if I was colorblind.
My playthrough of Hue is something I wish I can experience again for the first time. It is a short but surprising journey, full of difficult but clever puzzles. While not perfect, it was a joy to play, and I hope others give this one a chance.