Chicory: A Colorful Tale Review
In 2019, developer Greg Lobanov’s Wandersong generated quite a bit of buzz in the indie gaming community, enough that his next project, Chicory: A Colorful Tale, was funded almost immediately on Kickstarter. Like anything, Kickstarter games can be hit or miss, sometimes falling short of expectations while other times blowing them away. Luckily for fans of Wandersong and Greg Lobanov’s work, Chicory: A Colorful Tale falls into the latter category, and it’s one of the best games of 2021 so far. Chicory: A Colorful Tale is a new twist on the Zelda-like formula, with a top-down view and overall gameplay design reminiscent of the SNES classic The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. As a dog character named by the player, players explore the overworld map, complete quests, uncover secrets, meet characters, and unlock new abilities that will allowing them to reach places that were previously inaccessible. The Zelda influence is felt throughout Chicory: A Colorful Tale, with the game never straying far from that formula. However, it eventually changes things up by taking inspiration from other Zelda games. While the first half of Chicory: A Colorful Tale feels like a linear A Link to the Past-style Zelda game, the second half feels like a 2D take on a Breath of the Wild-style Zelda game. It is at this point when players have most of their abilities and are set to complete the next set of objectives in any order. The game opens up completely, which keeps things interesting until the end credits. Aside from basing its plot on The Legend of Zelda, Chicory’s main hook is the fact that the entire world is completely black and white. The main goal of the game is to bring color back to the black and white world of Chicory, which players can do with a magic paintbrush. There are no restrictions here. Players are free to color literally everything they see in front of them, from the ground to trees to buildings to characters. After seeing the world in black and white, the vibrant colors players use to fill it with realism, making it fun to spend time coloring every inch of Chicory’s world map. When players open Chicory’s map, the game shows them the color they have left in the game world. This gives players the feeling that their actions are having a real impact on the game world, and it helps NPCs recognize this as well, and even comment on it. Chicory’s various NPCs are great because they each have unique looks and personalities, their dialogue is well written, and despite the fact that they’re all anthropomorphic animals named after foods, they speak like real people. The dialogue is emotional, expertly deals with serious themes like mental illness, and is often funny. The game occasionally touches on some dark topics, but does so while maintaining a great sense of humor. Some of the NPCs players meet in Chicory: A Colorful Tale have side quests for them to complete, which can be anything from finding lost items to drawing logos. There are several different drawing challenges in Chicory where players are tasked with doing more than just coloring the world, with players being able to paint anything they want and see it pop up later in the game. Chicory’s characters will make comments specific to the colors players choose while creating paintings, which is a nice touch and reinforces the feeling that players are truly leaving their own mark on the game . When they’re not painting the world and completing tasks for NPCs, Chicory players will find themselves taking on the game’s main story quests, all of which are great and offer plenty of variety. . One in particular that really stands out sees players scale Dessert Mountain, a snowy area with Peanuts-like Christmas music blaring in the background as players complete platforming challenges to reach the top. It ends with a rhythm mini-game that goes back to Elite Beat Agents, which is a refreshing change of pace since most games seem to copy Guitar Hero with their music/rhythm mini-games. Most of the main story adventures in Chicory: A Colorful Tale end in short dungeons themed around a specific gameplay mechanic, not unlike the Zelda series. The puzzles in Chicory are fun and never disappoint, and there’s plenty of variety thanks to a constant focus on a new gameplay mechanic. Really the only downside to Chicory’s Zelda-like dungeons are the boss fights. Chicory’s boss fights are like when someone tries to pat him on the head and rub his stomach at the same time. Not only do players need to pay attention to where they move Chicory’s dog hero, but they also need to move the brush around the screen to deal damage to bosses. Chicory’s gameplay mechanics don’t mesh well with boss fights, and since getting hit has no real consequences other than having to repeat the last few seconds of gameplay, the fights lack any thrills. The boss fights with Chicory are the only point in the game where there is any “battle,” but it seems better if there isn’t any at all. One thing that can make Chicory’s boss fight less difficult is playing in co-op. Chicory: A Colorful Tale is one of the best local co-op games of 2021 so far, even if only played in a certain way. In co-op, the first player controls the dog and a brush, while the second player only controls a brush. To make the co-op game more fun, we recommend that the first player only control the dog and let the second player do all the brush actions. This will make them feel more involved, as it requires some extra communication between players to solve puzzles and overcome challenges. The first player doing everything makes the whole experience a bit dull for the person joining the co-op. Whether alone or with a partner, Chicory players should have fun completing the game. All told it will probably only take around 10 hours to earn Chicory’s Platinum trophy, but no time is wasted and it’s engaging from start to finish. Exploring the world map of Chicory and finding all its secrets is an enjoyable experience, and players will not regret taking the time to get 100% completion. The chicory is small enough that players must find it all without pulling their hair out, but the game offers extra help for those who want it. Instead of forcing players to hop online and figure out what to do next, anyone stuck in Chicory can find a phone booth and call their in-game parents for advice. The first clue is always given by the player character’s mother, offering a vague idea of what to do next, and then an optional second clue comes from their father, offering more specific clues. instructions. This way, those who are stuck can decide if they want the game to hold their hand or if they just want a little nudge in the right direction. Similarly, all collectable items in Chicory have things set up to make hunting them easier as well. There are NPCs that players can talk to that let them know what areas still have collectibles to find, whether it’s trash that players use as currency or lost kittens that can be returned in exchange for decorations. From the side quests to the main story, Chicory: A Colorful tale is a fun time that will hold the attention of players until the end, especially fans of The Legend of Zelda franchise. There are a few nitpicks one could make about certain moments of gameplay that require pinpoint precision with the brush not working correctly or some of the platforming sections feeling off, but really the only major knock against it is the lackluster boss fights. It’s otherwise close to perfect for what it is and certainly one of the better Zelda-like indie games. Chicory: A Colorful Tale is out now for PC, PS4, and PS5. Today Technology reviewed the game on PS5.