Friday, March 10, 2017

Indie Impressions - DYE


Now Available on Steam

Developed by Bat Country Games 

The color of the world is draining and with it the creativity and imagination it inspires. Soulless and undead Necrolights sap all of the vibrant terrain-painting sprites known as Pigments of their life giving power and its up to you, Hue, to restore them to their former glory. DYE is a retro platformer with vivid and addictive level design and an incredibly high skill ceiling that appeals to casual and hardcore platformer players alike.

There are four distinctly colored crystal worlds where these Pigments reside, each with a sprawling and initially grey overworld of locked gateways leading to dangerous trials of skill and reflex. Our round and determined little protagonist slides, dashes, and glides through each maze of hazards with Kirby-like grace saving the isolated and trapped Pigments, restoring colors to the level and to the hub-world with each one. These range from difficult to maddening in their fast-paced and classic Super Mario Bros.-like obstacle avoidance, and even give the option of a harder difficulty on completion for true gaming masochists

As it should be with run 'n jumpers as challenging as DYE, the controls are pitch perfect. From the movement to the control you have in mid-air while aiming for that small platform or moving cart, the only factor I could really blame for each repeated loss was my own flimsy and overacting fingers. Reaching a calm and almost Zen-like state while heading into a challenge for the next dozen of tries was a necessity, especially when going for the necessary hard-to-reach Pigments needed to open new parts of the hub.

Your eyes are treated to an incredibly sharp and crispy pixel art style that is reminiscent of many of the forefathers of the masochistic precision platformer genre. With deceptive trickery akin to I Wanna Be The Guy, punishing and fast platform action like La Mulana or Cave Story, and even a little bit of rewarding exploration similar to the classic Knytt Stories this is obviously a labor of love that will visually appeal to anyone with a taste for colorful and lo-fi indie sidescrollers.

DYE is a fantastically creative platformer. The melodies and background music that paint the atmosphere around your adventure are warm and nostalgic, ranging from ambient and soft tones to bright and energetic electronic beats.  The different gradients of color streak across the screen in a satisfying way that rewards players when they finally succeed in a particularly acrobatic feat for an overwhelming vibrancy that eventually fills the worlds of the accomplished like a trophy.

It's a game I can find little to no faults with in its platforming perfection, outside of some challenges being just a little bit too difficult for me to wrap my brain and my fingers around. These few and far situations were entirely my own fault though, as this is created with the intention to give anyone with the right amount of determination and persistence a fighting chance.

Like the legendary indie platformers before it, it sets a new precedent for challenging games with a high-skill ceiling that can push even the most seasoned veterans harder and further than they've ever gamed before. DYE is so incredibly addictive, and no matter how many times I die (dye?) I'll keep coming back to color its world some more.

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