Colour Zen Review | A new kind of puzzle game. One that invites you to put on your headphones, relax, and find your way through an abstract world of colours and shapes.
Developer: Large Animal
Console Played On: Nintendo Switch
Number Of Players: 1
Touchscreen Compatible: Yes
Would you like to chill whilst being challenged? Check ✅
Do you like trip-hop music? Check ✅
Do you like touchscreen controls that give you a sense of power? Check ✅
Well if so, this puzzle game might just be for you.
“Russ, Have You Seen This?”
I came across this game from an article my wife sent me, on Switch games that were currently free (or freemium). Most were action/FPS-based, however this one stood out for me. Curious to know more, I downloaded it and tried my hand at solving Colour Zen’s puzzles.
Relax and Immerse Yourself
You’re probably wondering why I’m reviewing this game. One, its 8 years old and two, it’s freemium (initially free, but then can incur potential costs when the player is drawn in). That out of the way, if you haven’t played this before it might be worth a visit, particularly when mindfulness is a large tool for functioning well as a human being.
There is no story or narrative, it is purely a vehicle of 120 puzzles to solve, using the game’s rules which ultimately revolve around; combine matching colours to fill the screen. To progress, your final move must fill the screen with the same colour that the boarder is. There are a couple of variances that come into play as you progress but on the whole it is deceptively simple. Of course, it is far from that.
Simple But Effective
The visuals are simple, but they are attractive and the filling of the screen of differing colours are pleasing for the player to witness. They serve the game’s greater purpose very well; to create a relaxing environment whilst your brain is being challenged. Additionally, the music; another simple, implemented concept, has this major trip-hop vibe which again, fits the overall concept highly appropriately. It’s the kind of soundtrack that I would be looking for on Spotify to listen to whilst at work, or just before I go to sleep.
Amazingly, with all these (minimalistic) parts coming together, there were many times that I lost myself in the game, becoming fully immersed. Not immersed in a conventional escape room sense, but more so that I forgot everything else around me whilst I was fixated on the challenges presented. Again, considering the game’s mantra of mindfulness, it’s a great triumph.
Swiping Never Felt So Good
Colour Zen is primarily suited to touchscreen consoles ie: Switch and Mobile. There are non-touchscreen options for the Switch but they are not finely tuned and do not present any options for differentiation. That being said, I’m certain everyone would choose to go touchscreen, given the choice. The touchscreen controls are in a word, majestic. The flicking motion to manipulate the coloured shapes on screen; simple but oh-so effective. It’s certainly one of the many factors that draws you into the overall immersion.
Colour Me Puzzled!
The puzzles are not overly innovative past the core game loop and they do not present any large amount of variance. What they do offer however, is a puzzle-set with a steady learning curve, and something that is balancing on the verge of challenging without being frustrating, which again, fits the objective of Colour Zen appropriately.
There is no hints system, however you can skip a puzzle if it’s too difficult to solve. The first two skips are free, however from then on, any further ones do incur a financial cost. That aside, there are plenty of video walkthroughs online to bypass this cost.
A Controversial Or Smart Decision On Price?
So as previously mentioned, the download of the main game is free and presents 120 puzzles. There is a cost to skip levels if stuck, however as said before, video tutorials exist to quash this. They cost 89p for 3 in case you wish to do it old-school.
If your appetite goes further than the 120 puzzles presented, you can purchase one of their many other Colour Zen puzzle bundles, that can be bought for 89p each.
Aside from the freemium stigma, I feel that with the bypassing method as a remedy towards paying for level skips, this can be a very cost-effective method of getting your puzzle fix in.
For A Shape-Thrower Or A Shapeshifter?
Because of its easy-to-pick-up-difficult-to-master style gameplay and lack of price, this game is suitable for practically everyone. For children however, I’d advise adults to block any form of auto-payment, to prevent unwanted purchases.
This is a game that is simple but effective. Yes, it’s freemium, but it’s easy to look past that; based on what is actually offered for free. If you are looking for a cost-effective game that promotes a simultaneous cocktail of challenge and mindfulness, then get it on your download list.
Color Zen can be downloaded here.
Color Zen Review
RussBuilds is an independent escape game designer. Here, he is writing on video games and escape rooms in the middle of the UK.