If it ain’t broke don’t fix it seems to be the mentality of many developers big and small in today’s gaming industry. On one hand this can be called lazy development because it’s just producing clones of games we’ve already paid for and played. But on the other hand we know what we’re buying when we purchase a clone or lazily done sequel. That’s the conundrum I had when playing Color Symphony 2 by REMIMORY. This is a well-made, smoothly running 2D platformer with very few overall flaws. But I’ve absolutely played this game before multiple times. It’s very fun and I enjoyed it. Just like I enjoyed a long list of other side scrolling platformers.
Color Symphony 2 is 50/50 on the graphics. On one hand it’s beautiful hand-drawn elements that make use of some very detailed designs. Many of these elements move making them even more visually impressive. The use of colors as both a gameplay and graphical element only adds to the quality of the presentation. The character you play as has depth and personality as far as his appearance is concerned. All this under a very simple and non-invasive HUD makes for a great experience. Everything runs smoothly with no lag or freezes of any sort. You can rapidly change colors and the display will not suffer in any of the seven available resolutions in either full screen or windowed play. You also have the option of choosing between three different color schemes.
The graphics would have gotten a very high score from me if it weren’t for the fact that they’re way too dark and a little blurry overall. Because of how simple the game, is your performance won’t suffer as a result, but the graphics could have been a lot crisper and smoother in my opinion. This is most noticeable in the menus. Especially the achievements menu. It’s so blurry that it’s hard to even read what the achievements are in-game. This was very surprising to me because the in-game text is a simple Times New Roman that appears in all black and is very easy to read. It’s also much bigger than the achievements menu text, which appears in white. But even in-game you will notice the scratchiness of the graphics. It looks like the backgrounds are made of construction paper which very well may be the case. This wouldn’t have been such a problem if the color tones used weren’t so dark; burgundy red, forest green, almost royal blue, and yellow. Also, the lighting used in CS2 is very dim. REMIMORY could have lit the whole thing up much more and that probably would have solved most of the problem. But admittedly the darkness does go along with the plot of the game. I really liked the stage and chapter selection screens, but they are clearly inspired by Rasternauts or something like it. The graphics are good overall, but have key issues that you will notice even if you don’t personally find them to be a problem.
The gameplay mechanics have no flaws. You can play with a keyboard or gamepad and both work fine. The buttons are customizable on the keyboard. There are reasons for and against both types of controls so I can’t really say which one is superior. I preferred the gamepad personally. You don’t have too many abilities. You can move with the left stick, jump, double jump, change colors, and use your freeze power all with single button presses. The gameplay is simple. Get from the starting point to the exit portal. You can move very smoothly, but aiming your jump could have been a little finer. It doesn’t affect basic gameplay but it can be a limiting factor when trying to grab collectibles. Of the at least 105 main stages, 75 of them have collectible hats.
Each stage has its own leaderboard which you can view upon completion. You are graded based on the time it took you to complete a stage and whether or not you got the hat when there was a hat present. Your leaderboard position is based on completion time, but your star rating also takes into account whether or not you got the hat. Because of the game’s nature, rankings are very close to each other. You can quickly jump from over 100th to the top 20 with just a one or two second increase in speed.
The game is broken into seven main chapters plus some optional bonus chapters. Each chapter contains 15 stages. You must play the chapters in order because they have to be unlocked by completing the previous chapter, but you can complete the stages in a given chapter in whatever order you want. At any time you can exit a level and go to the stage or chapter selection screen. The stages get harder and longer as you progress forward through the game. While there is no limit to lives or time, there are also no in stage continues. That means that even if you get right next to the door and then die, you will have to start all the way from the beginning.
The way Color Symphony 2 tries to set itself apart from other games is of course with the use of color. You’re dealing with very similar puzzles and even objects of death to that of INK, but now you also have to take color into account. You can cycle at will between three different colors by turning them into the background color. When you do this, all objects that are the currently chosen color disappear by blending with the background. All objects that are other colors are revealed or still shown. You must use this to traverse various obstacles and gaps. You can wall jump and temporarily keep objects of whatever color invisible with your special power. The power lasts for the duration of the green bar located under the color HUD. That’s pretty much the gameplay in a nutshell. Plays great, but it’s not really all that original.
The sound in this game is solid. Good quality music that’s well mixed with the sound effects. It’s a light, but still upbeat smooth almost jazz set of tracks. Not a ton of different songs but all of them good. The sound effects are very traditional. It’s basically just jump, die, and change color. You can control the music and effects volume levels independently, but having them both at max is your best option in my opinion. I actually wish the music was a teensy bit louder with the basic laptop speakers and it would be perfect. Sound is good but ultimately not the most important or memorable factor of the game.
There is a written plot in CS2 and it is kind of interesting. There are some flaws though. Not so much in the writing itself, but in the way it’s told. This is the story of a man from the color world who was exiled to the human world and has returned to claim his home which has been changed into a lifeless husk of what it once was. When the game first starts you are given title cards to tell you the plot and that works great for a 2D side scrolling platformer. For some reason by the end of the tutorial the plot starts to appear in the backgrounds of stages. It’s very easy to read and it clearly was done to fill some of the blank space, but it’s really inconvenient and easy to miss. First of all, putting the story in specific levels destroys the purpose of being able to play the levels in whatever order you prefer. Doing so may help you progress through the game but it puts the story out-of-order. So if you actually care then you still need to play the levels in order which is fine when you’re not told that you can play in whatever order you want. The second and much bigger issue is the fact that the levels are quite challenging and require a high level of attentiveness and fast paced play. This makes for a great gaming experience, but a horrible reading scenario. By the time I got to chapter two I unintentionally stopped reading the plot. I was too busy trying not to die to waste precious seconds reading background snippets of a plot one to two sentences at a time. REMIMORY should have stuck with the title cards the whole way through. In this case it’s not the writing that was lacking, but the presentation of said writing.
There is a bit of replay value in Color Symphony 2, but it’s very contingent on your first playthrough and it depends on how much you care about leaderboard rankings. You can technically get all 16 achievements in one playthrough as long as you don’t mind replaying levels when you don’t get the five-star rating. But basically every achievement is level completion contingent except for that one. So basically the only reason to replay the game would be to catch the plot points you possibly missed or to increase you leaderboard scores. You’ll get a good 5 – 8 hours in one playthrough if you don’t end up being stuck on the same stage for more than 10 – 20 minutes. The $10 price tag is arguably fair, but $5 seems a bit more appropriate for what it is. Especially if you don’t care about leaderboards and you just want to one and done.
I enjoyed Color Symphony 2, but I won’t say it’s a game you must experience. Mostly because I’m fairly certain you’ve experienced something close enough before. If you really are into 2D platformers, then it’s a great game and you should definitely pick it up. But if you’re just looking for something to play at a good price, there’s many better options out there that will probably offer you something a bit more original. Solid game overall.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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