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ColorZ - WiiWare Review

Game Info
ColorZ

WiiWare | Exkee Games | 1-3 Players (co-operative play) | Out Now | 700 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote and Nunchuk
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Review
24th October 2009; By KnucklesSonic8

Ever try rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time? Have little trouble with that? How about doing it while standing on one leg? While that scenario may appear a bit ludicrous, in reality, the gameplay in ColorZ ultimately resembles a similar activity, adding heaps of frustration along with it. Although ColorZ is an intriguing concept, it's ultimately marred by some rather irritating design choices.

    ColorZ tasks players with guiding an alien spacecraft across different environments filled with various enemies and obstacles along the way. In the single-player campaign, the developers have challenged you with the tedious task of guiding not one, but three UFO's simultaneously. How does that work, you may ask? Well, to be frank, it almost doesn't. At the start, you'll only be controlling a single spacecraft with the use of the Wii's IR pointer. The goal is to get to the end of the stage with your spaceship intact, but players also have the ability to go for higher scores which can earn them medals based on how many hits their spacecraft attained (if any). These medals actually allow you to access later levels, so right off the bat, the game encourages you to get through each one with as little hits as possible. During the first level or two, players will start to get a feel for the kind of gameplay they can expect from ColorZ, but very early on in the game, things will take an unexpected turn.

    
Players will soon be tasked with controlling two spacecrafts at once - the second being controlled with the use of the Nunchuk's analog stick. Needless to say this creates a huge level of challenge that hasn't been explored in other WiiWare games, so in that respect, Exkee has done a great job. However, rather than leaving it at this, they do the unthinkable and eventually ask the player to control a third spacecraft (as if two wasn't hard enough)! Not only is this a particularly daunting task, but what makes this a problem is the fact that the third UFO is controlled using the D-Pad. In many stages, you'll be required to maneuver through some very narrow gaps and the controls simply aren't entirely there to pull off such accuracy without some intense focus. Even though Exkee should be commended for creating such a challenging game for this platform, the high level of patience and concentration required will turn many away. If you're contemplating giving this game a try, be aware that it's very likely that you will lose your patience early on and possibly even give up on the rest of the game.

    
The entire game has a way about it that looks very polished, but, at the same time, doesn't exactly have a captivating feel to it. ColorZ doesn't do a whole lot to draw you in early on and it feels a bit dry despite its uniqueness. Thankfully, just when you begin to question the game's worth, World 2 improves gameplay significantly by varying the game pace. Players will observe occasional gameplay changes in certain stages that really do add to the experience. There will be times, for example, when the camera zooms in to create more of a challenge or pans out to allow for more freedom and this definitely prevents the game from feeling like a bit of a chore. Other times, the game will feel more like fellow WiiWare title Evasive Space, where players must guide one or two UFO's through winding, narrow pathways that don't leave much room for error. Even with these gameplay alterations, the fact remains that the game is simply too difficult for the general WiiWare audience and you may very well find yourself hard-pressed to stick with the game by the time you reach World 3. Mind you, there is some replay value in going for all the Gold medals but given that getting through a whole stage without ever getting hit can be a humongous undertaking, most players simply won't even bother trying to reach such a feat.

    
Although the game is lacking in its single-player component, ColorZ shines in its co-operative multiplayer aspect. For that reason, it's our strongest recommendation that you play the game with multiple players to get the most out of the game. It's great to see ColorZ's gameplay translate into a well-tailored experience for co-operative play. Rather than choosing levels that can be completed just on your own, the multiplayer stages are geared in such a way that you're forced to work as a team. An example of this is when players find themselves guiding their UFO's through differing pathways on the same screen, and in order for the players to press forward, they must merge their spacecrafts into one unit. Undoubtedly, the amount of frustration you may endure here pales greatly in comparison to what you're bound to experience in the game's single-player component. Because of quirks like these, ColorZ marks itself to be a very co-op focused game that players of multiple audiences can get into.

    
The game allows for a good selection of profiles for all three modes of play (1-Player, 2-Player, and 3-Player Mode). Players have the ability to compare their best rankings with their friends and family across all three gameplay modes. As mentioned earlier, players can try to obtain Gold medals for all stages found across each of the game's three gameplay modes and this, in turn, gives players something to strive for if they feel so inclined. Given the amount of challenge found within the game, getting your name in flashing lights on the tables surely makes for some great bragging rights. You may even find yourself comparing one team match-up to another, seeing which team of friends work better as a team. As a whole, it's quite likely that you'll be pleased with what Exkee has done in creating a co-op experience that can be both gratifying and enjoyable when played in the right setting. 

    
Exkee's very first WiiWare title certainly is one of the more unique concepts out there, but in the end you may find yourself a little unsure how to respond to some of the conflicting design choices. The single-player component is definitely one of the most challenging gameplay experiences on the Wii period, but there's a good chance that the game will frustrate even the most patient of gamers. At the same time, ColorZ's multiplayer elements mark it as one of the better co-op experiences on the WiiWare service. For 700 Points, it can be hard to recommend (and an even harder pill to swallow) but if you have some buddies in mind who you think could get into the game, then ColorZ may very well be worth a go.


18/30 - Okay/Average

Gameplay 6/10  - Unique gameplay but simply too frustrating for the average player, great co-op elements, controls can be overwhelming
Presentation 7/10 - Polished graphics with some nice music, nothing spectacular, menus presented in a nice fashion
Enjoyment 3/5 - Great co-op that can be enjoyable with 1 or 2 friends; frustrating single-player brings the experience down
Extra Content 2/5 - Limited replay value in going for medals and high-scores but most won't bother

Equivalent to a score of 60% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

ColorZ
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Review by KnucklesSonic8  |  How we rate games

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