Costa Rican developer Fair Play Labs’s Color Guardians is a fast paced, 2.5D side scroller set in a world that has had its colors taken from it. It’s up to you to guide the characters through each level to restore those beautiful colors by collecting color orbs as you rapidly travel between castles through seventy plus levels of fun.
Gameplay has you running on a horizontal plane that also includes several vertical planes that you can switch to at times. The object is to switch the color of your character by pressing a face button that corresponds with the correct color of the object in front of you (Square = Red, Triangle = Yellow, and X = Blue). Hitting the proper button just as you hit a colored object will give you a perfect mark, and completionists will want that 100% perfection for each level.
The game is fast paced and the action only stops when you reach the next castle or when you fail, which will probably be often. There are plenty of pretty colored things to keep you on your toes throughout each level, and the levels get trickier as you progress through the game. Items such as mushrooms. which are used for jumping, require you to be switched to their color or there will be no bouncing off of them and will result in your untimely death. Failing isn’t fun, but checkpoints are plentiful and seemed close enough to keep you interested and not too far apart to totally discourage you from another attempt at the section.
Color Guardians is a beautiful game to look at and watch while others play it as well. While I spoke to Claudio Murray, CEO of Fair Play Labs, the Art Manager for the team, Diego Calvo, was showing off his skills on some of the harder levels farther into the game. I played the game for 20 minutes and thought I was pretty good, but Diego was going through a level like a mad man on a mission, and showing me how intense the game can be later on. As Claudio and I watched him, we started cheering him on and looking for his next checkpoint just as anxiously as he was, as the game not only draws in the person playing, but spectators as well.
The graphics for the game on the PS4 are smooth and impressive. Seeing the different characters running through the environment, changing colors and splattering paint everywhere, was easy on the eyes with no motion blurring and vibrant colors that seemed to jump out at you. While I didn’t see the Vita version first hand, it is probably a safe assumption to say it will look just as good on that powerful little handheld.
Color Guardians is scheduled for release on April 14th for the PC, PS4 and PS Vita, with cross-buy and cross save functionality between the different platforms it will be available on. It’s designed for a quick pick-up-and-play style so you can spend 20 minutes or two hours, depending on how much time you have to play at any given time.
I look forward to playing through the game and getting to those harder levels myself come April 14.
GDC 2015: Hands-on Preview With Color Guardians