Game review by Steve Cullum.
Game – Color Zen (Wii U eShop)
Release Date – May 15, 2014
ESRB – E for Everyone
MSRP – $3.99 US
Obtained – eShop download code via Cypronia
The Wii U GamePad has opened up the door for many touch-based games to move to the home console. Color Zen is one of those games. Cypronia has brought their mobile puzzler to Wii U with 460 levels to both relax and challenge players, and it does just that.
For those of you unfamiliar with the style of gameplay here, let me take a brief moment to explain what we have. All gameplay takes place on the GamePad, as it is single player. When you start a level, you will need to drag one colored shape into another of the same color. When they merge, that color will fill the background. Your goal is to match the pieces on the screen in the correct order to end with the background and border colors matching. You are not scored, so it does not matter how fast or slow you complete the level. It also does not matter if you need to start over many times. Your goal is just to complete the level and move on to the next one. This simplistic gameplay is actually quite welcome in a sea of games that are based on timing, combos, and scores. Color Zen is, instead, about completion, and I liked that.
As you are completing each level, you will be greeted by a soothing soundtrack, written by Steve Woodzell. The music and sound effects help to put you in a relaxing mood, even when you are on a particularly difficult puzzle. One downside, though, is that the music does not come through your TV. Gameplay is shown on the TV, which is nice for others to watch and maybe help out. Listening through the GamePad or through headphones is good; however, it would have been nice for this beautiful music to play through even better speakers. This can easily be remedied with an update from Cypronia; but for right now, it is rather unfortunate you cannot enjoy the music through your big stereo system.
The challenge ramps up quite gradually, and the game does a decent job explaining new features or moves along the way. One of those involves the white and black shapes. White will combine with any color, and black will take away that color. Also, later levels will involve different shapes and obstacles. Here lies the irony of the game’s title. While earlier levels allow you to zone out a bit and relax, later levels will have you almost pulling out your hair as you try to figure out and execute the solution. This is actually positive, in my opinion, because many games today are too easy. Color Zen will definitely challenge you.
In the end, Color Zen is a challenging puzzler with great music. If you are in the market for an inexpensive title that you can play for little bits or for hours, look no further than Color Zen. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
FINAL SCORE: 9 out of 10
+ Simple to control.
+ Great music.
– Music only comes through GamePad.
– No physical button control, even for the menu.