Release Date: 09/7/2009
Number of players: 1-3 players locally
ColorZ, a new WiiWare game, is one of the simplest in concept that I have played recently, but by golly, it isn’t easy. It starts off simply enough, allowing you to control a single ship through a level while trying to avoid dissimilar colored enemies, but once you start controlling 2 and 3 ships, it gets crazy. Do you have what it takes to navigate through all the levels? Maybe, but it’ll take some practice.
ColorZ’s premise is easy enough to understand. Your goal is to maneuver your ship(s) through a level that is constantly moving. So, while you can move around all you like, you have to flow with the game’s camera and follow its path. At the end is a base that you go to to complete the level, and you get points and medals based on how many enemies you absorbed and how many lives you lost. Your ships can take the form of the three primary colors; red, green, and blue; and you can absorb like-colored enemies for points, while also gaining points for narrowly dodging other enemies.
In the first few levels, most of the enemies are stationary and act more like a barrier than anything malicious, so your main objective is to simply navigate and avoid the walls, while collecting points. However, in later stages, things become much more complicated and frantic, when enemies chase you, or encircle you and do other things that will require precise movement. While this would be easy enough when controlling a single ship, doing it while controlling three at the same time becomes a quick exercise for your brain.
Depending on the level, you will control 1, 2, or 3 ships. The first ship is controlled with the Wii Remote’s pointer, or IR, while the second is controlled via the nunchuck’s analog stick. When the third ship is thrown in the mix, you have to command it with the remote’s d-pad. Any one of these control methods is simple to do, but trying to manage the three ships at once, while avoiding obstacles and imminent destruction is pretty tricky.
If this wasn’t enough, you also have to be thinking about color mixing. At any time of your choosing, you can combine ships by holding B and moving them into each other. Not only can you control them easier in single-ship form, but they also change color depending on the ones you’ve combined, which will allow you to get through a wall of yellow enemies, for instance. It isn’t the most difficult task to figure out that you get purple from red and blue, and yellow from green and red, but trying to do it in a second, figuring out which ship is where and controlled by what is nerve racking.
There are a few more items that make levels more interesting as you progress. One is the color-changing circles. These will be one of the primary colors, and whenever one of your ships flies through it, it becomes that color. This is typically a useful thing to do, so you can get through a certain section of a level, however, there are times when there are a ton of these things flying around. Let’s say, you are red and there are hundreds of red enemies on the screen. Well, there may come a time when there are then 20 blue color-changers floating around; just one more thing to try to avoid. There are also items that change the speed of the camera flow, so getting the slow-down ones are obviously beneficial, while the speed-ups can make things even crazier. And then you have enemies that can’t even be destroyed, so you just have to fly through them with the right color, and then sections of enemies that change colors, so you have to have super good timing, and all sorts of things to turn this basic gameplay element into something much more challenging, and fun.
The single player experience is comprised of 4 worlds, each of which have 5 levels. Luckily, you don’t have to beat every level to progress, but you do need to acquire special points. You get a certain number depending on the medal you achieve; bronze, silver, or gold; all of which are based on the number of lives you lost for that level. You can get a silver for dying less than 5 times, while a gold requires no deaths. The first few levels can be done simply, but the rest will require multiple play throughs to complete successfully, let along getting that gold.
ColorZ also offers a decent multiplayer experience, which allows one to two of your friends to join in on the madness. Here, you’ll have to work together to clear paths for each other and get to the end. There is only a handful of 2-player levels, and even less 3-player levels though, unfortunately, but they are just as much fun as the single player ones.
I don’t think there is one. Just flying a spaceship around, avoiding enemies.
Fairly basic at its core, but the unique control mechanic and ability to man three ships at once makes for a unique, difficult experience.
Basic music; nothing too memorable.
Flash-like material, and what you’d probably expect from a WiiWare game. They aren’t bad by any means, but nothing special.
While the controls take some getting used to, training yourself to think a bit differently, the results are rewarding and levels are difficult enough to make you work at them, but not so much so that you can’t do it.
The controls, at first. Trying to move around three different ships with three different control schemes at once isn’t very easy; you end up moving all three in the same direction, which you don’t want to be doing. However, you get used to it and it’s fun.
Watching a n00b try to maneuver all three ships at once. Ugly, perhaps; funny, definitely.
ColorZ manages to create a new experience from an old idea. There are plenty of games out there where you try to avoid enemies or change colors or polarities to be able to absorb bullets, but ColorZ changes things up a bit by focusing more on control thought rather than shooting. The difficulty ramps up pretty quickly, as you are given your second ship on the second level, but through practice, you learn to control both, and then a third, at once. You can then combine ships to form new colors to get through seemingly-impossible situations, and getting a gold on a level is definitely satisfying. It’s like a Mega Man game; you’re definitely not going to beat it on your first life, but you’ll get there with practice, and it’s rewarding to do so.
Final Vote: 4/5