Preview: Chicory: A Colorful Tale

Store page / Kickstarter (until Sep 14, 2019)

It’s getting harder and harder for games to stand out just with their art style, but the upcoming Chicory: A Colorful Tale found a way. Beyond the obvious charm of the coloring book drawings, there are splatters of bright pastel color everywhere. That’s because you get to paint the world however you want, an enticing aspect of the presentation that goes way beyond mere looks. And if the demo is anything to go by, you’ll have plenty more to do with your paint than just spruce the place up.

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The demo starts with you in the employ of Chicory, the current Wielder of the Brush. As the only object that can bring color to the world, the Brush must be entrusted to someone with great compassion and vision… and then it ends up in your paws. With Chicory missing, it’s up to you to take up the Brush and do what you can to restore color and stability to the world. You’ll be directed to one of the previous Wielders before the surprisingly climactic end of the demo, but just from my idle wanderings there’s going to be plenty to learn about your powerful new charge.

Controlled via the right analog stick, you can whip out the Brush anywhere to add a little color to the world. Floors, walls, furniture, flowers, pets, people, all are susceptible to your painterly ways. You have full control over the size of your brush and your colors to apply, though at least in the early areas your palette is limited to a specific four hues appropriate to the surroundings. I met a few charming characters that asked me to color their homes back in, sometimes to hilarious effect if they didn’t care for the job I did. There were some other artistic tasks to take on as well, such as designing a new T-shirt for the cafe that I got to keep and wear proudly. You can find additional hats and shirts all over the place, and of course paint them the color you want.

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Your paint isn’t just good for attracting criticism, either. The environment around you responds to being doused with color, and in some cases even having that color erased. There’s some light puzzling to do with plants that’s just as charming as giving them new hues, and quite a few outfit bits and secrets to find if you really get into in. At the end of the demo you’ll face something I definitely wasn’t expecting, a much more active and intense use for your paints that ended up being a real thrill. It ends with the promise of finding entirely new powers for the Brush, which gives it all the Zelda-ish appeal anyone could ask for, really.

Above all, Chicory is beautiful, charming, and relaxing. From the demo it looks to be the same sort of light-hearted adventuring you get from the likes of Wuppo or Yoku’s Island Express, just with a much more artistic slant for the player. And that’s a big draw in and of itself, because beyond turning the world any funky colors you want, there’s a lot you can do to change it. Everything is on point here, from the clever writing to the pleasant soundtrack, and it’s gotten me very much looking forward to the full release when it comes.

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