Game: Chicory: A Colorful Tale
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle, Multiplayer, Indie
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam (Windows & macOS) PS4, PS5)
Developers | Publishers: Greg Lobanov & Friends | Finji
Age Rating: US E | EU 7+
Price: US $19.99 | UK £17.09 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: December 15th, 2021
Review code used, with many thanks to ICO Partners.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale first launched on Kickstarter on August 15th, 2019; the game was fully funded by the end of August. The game was released on Steam and PlayStation earlier this year and Chicory: A Colorful Tale had a surprise release on the Nintendo Switch during the Indie Showcase on December 15th.
So now Switch owners can try out this wonderful game on their favourite handheld. Go grab your paintbrush, and let’s dive in.
A Colorful Tale
Chicory: A Colorful Tale begins with an anthropomorphic dog whose name is unknown until the game asks you to answer a simple question. That question is “What is your favourite food?”. So unbeknown to me why I was being asked that question, I answered with Steak. This resulted in my dog being christened Steak for the rest of the game.
Steak the Janitor
Young Steak is a janitor and a huge fan of the renowned Wielder named Chicory. Wielders have the important task of providing the colours in each area of the world of Picnic. One day, as Steak goes to do his daily tasks, he discovers that the world has lost its colour and Chicory has vanished as well.
Luckily the Brush that gives the Wielder their power is somehow left behind without an owner. So naturally, as Chicory’s biggest fan, Steak picks up the Brush with hopes of finding its source of inspiration and owner.
Chicory plays like top-down Zelda adventures similar to Link’s Awakening with a diverse cast of anthropomorphic characters. All the characters are just as interesting and full of life as the next.
It’s a screen-scrolling world with rocky mountain ranges, spooky forests and caves, and a heap of puzzles revolving around your Brush abilities. The puzzles never challenge too much, so they don’t become frustrating. However, solving them is enough to give you a sense of satisfaction as and pieces fall into place.
New Abilities for the Brush
As you play the game, you’ll unlock new abilities for the Brush, each one more intuitive and gameplay-altering than the next. For example, at first, you can paint. But as time passes and your progress in the game, you learn how to manipulate your environment. You’ll find different native plants that grow, shrink, sometimes even fling you off into the air. As well as tiny little strips of land that you can swim through once painted. The innovation in the game using the paint and Brush is outstanding.
While the paint is the central object and the main games mechanic you use to control the world, Chicory does end up being a genuinely smart puzzle game. There is a lot of enjoyment to be had as you work out exactly how to move from one end of a screen to another with only the trusty Brush in hand.
There’s lots of collectable clothing, different brush styles, and accessories to find throughout the province of Picnic, as well as other discoveries. There are also dozens of side quests, including mail delivery, art classes, and photo-taking.
The story in Chicory: A Colorful Tale centres around mental-well being and has sensitive topics such as depression and self-hate, to name a few. However, these themes are handled sensitively; before each heavy scene, you do have the option not to watch as the game gives you an out. It doesn’t hinder your progress in the story by not watching the cut scenes. It’s a great idea to allow the player to choose if they want to watch or not to watch those themes.
Ask Mum and Dad
Boss fights are also present, though the game is mainly combat free. Again you have the option not to fight and carry on with your adventure; the choice is yours to make. The game is designed perfectly to utilise the brush mechanics in boss battles and during tense situations; they shouldn’t give you any problems.
Fortunately, if you get stuck, you can phone home and ask Mum and Dad for a hint. Picnic Provence has many phone booths scattered around the areas, Mum will give you a general hint, and Dad provides a more in-depth hint.
Visuals and Controls
Its art style is delightful. At first, I had thought that dealing with a completely black-and-white world would be annoying, but that ended up being the complete opposite. Each new scene I visited felt like a page of a colouring book, waiting for me to fill it in. I’ve spent a lot of time stopping to colour in a scene; it’s such fun.
Sadly, the game doesn’t give you a large colour palette, usually giving you four colours per region, limiting what you can do on each map.
You can use the touch screen to paint, and it’s very responsive. The rest of the controls on the Switch all feel great and work exceptionally well. For example, using the right stick to move the Brush and the shoulder buttons to change brush size and colour really couldn’t be easier.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale is a delightful adventure. It has an intriguing story, innovative gameplay mechanics, well-written characters, engaging puzzles, and a heart-warming story. Now that the game has been released on the Nintendo Switch, I think it’s found the perfect home. I highly recommend you give Chicory: A Colorful Tale a try. If I could, I’d give it four thumbs up. I love it!
Final Verdict: A well-deserved Two Thumbs Up