Kaleidoscope: a smorgasbord of colours?

Review of Kaleidoscope on XBLIG: Try
All the colors of the rainbow in one platform jumper.

“The world of Kaleidoscope has been shrouded in darkness!” The main character’s name is Tint and he has to maneuver around odd levels where the color has been taken away by some mysterious “sickness”. This “sickness” apparently has affected all of the flora and fauna except for those of Tint’s race. Tint is described as being unusual and the only reason I can see for that is that he decided to stay and help the elders re-color the world since his grandparents were too old to evacuate while everyone else just booked it off the planet.

At the start, levels are monochromatically black, white and grey. There are three maneuvers that Tint can do: jump, dash, and float. Each maneuver corresponds to the three primary color spheres that Tint picks up to add color to his surroundings (these spheres are called tints… ha ha, real funny.) In the top left corner are three special maneuver gauges which double as constant prompts. As he does this, the music becomes more complicated and cheerful and some enemies fade to the background and can’t hurt you.

The first level, which is the same as in the demo, introduces you to the moves and items with suggestion signs in the background. There are small puzzles to solve while trying to get all the tints where you move things to jump on, avoid spikes, pits, murmurs (the fuzzy enemy guys), flames and unblock pathways. There are also three “special” colored tints that end the rounds as you collect them to unlock later levels. There are also in-game achievements that will pop up now and again.

I didn’t realize at first that the prompt-like constant buttons were gauges that do run out until I stood against a wall to test out the moves. All of the “special” tints look rather similar to me… but what do I know about color? I wish you didn’t have to restart the level to get each of the “special” tints. At least once you’ve gotten one it disappears for subsequent playthroughs. The music is pleasant but forgettable, even when you’ve heard it several times while getting everything or when stuck. Some of the traps are difficult to distinguish from the background whether colored or in black and white but that’s not too frustrating as the shapes of “bad to touch” things are the same throughout and become easily recognizable.

During loading screens there are little anecdotes that are supposed to give you insight into the world like: “Tint’s cat is afraid of murmurs.” I’ve never liked those little snippets because there are never more than about 6 that randomly appear in any game I’ve seen them in (Fable, Dragonage, I’m looking at you…).

I loved Tint’s death animation. There’s nothing more to that statement except that I wish that there was a little Pac Man or Dig Dug sound to go with it.

Some of the maneuvering seemed squishy and slightly unresponsive at times. I’d do a series of jumps and get what felt like different responses to the same timing. It bothered me so much at one point that I stationary jumped to a metronome to see if it was truly lagging and it really seemed to sometimes. I may be being a bit picky there or missing something about how Tint is supposed to move… Possibly there’s a dandelion seed metaphor, considering how the populace poofed off into space and how much they look like little seeds.

This is a solid platformer with a decent amount of puzzle elements to it, good graphics, as much of a storyline as we used to get in the arcade era, and passable gameplay. I don’t know if it’s worth 240MSP but I think it’s definitely worth more than just 80 and well worth a Try.

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