Kaleidoscope is the kind of game you’d expect to find on the Wii. In fact, in many ways its story is similar to De Blob, which was released for Nintendo’s latest console in 2008. However, Kaleidoscope is a platformer that borrows elements from classic platforming games, while adding a touch of its own charm and a great soundtrack that makes it an absolute joy to play.
The story for the game is pretty basic. You play a small black ball of fluff named Tint who must restore color to the world, one stage at a time. The world is divided up into four sections with equally distinct graphics, so much so that it’s reminiscent of platformers like Super Mario 3 in which you journey through different themed worlds to accomplish your objective.
The biggest draw for Kaleidoscope is the simplistic platformer gameplay. Developer Morsel built a story around Tint that truly makes you want to succeed at restoring the color to his world. As you jump, float, and fly your way through the different levels, you’ll collect globes of all three primary colors, which work to return color to the world a small bit at a time. Kaleidoscope also includes 12 medals that work like mini-achievements in the game. Some are quite challenging, so getting all 12 medals won’t be an easy task.
You start each level in a monochrome, but after you’ve collected just a few globes of color in an area, you will see the color begin to return. Grass and dirt suddenly become vibrant, and as you traverse the levels collecting colors, background trees, bushes, clouds, and even the sky soon regain their color for a vibrant world for you to explore. Each stage has three lost colors which you must collect. You can’t progress through the game until you’ve collected a certain amount of pigments: the stages are entirely open with the three of said pigments hanging from a tree-like platform.
Once you’ve found one pigment, the level ends, and if you decide to go for another, it will restart in its original black and white state. This can be a little off-putting, as it feels like you’re doing unnecessary back-tracking through the levels. However, some of the pigments are so deviously hidden within the stages that no stage feels the same, even when you’re on your third playthrough.
Aside from just collecting the colors, you also have three powers at your disposal based on the three primary colors. These powers are conveniently mapped to the respective color on your 360 controller, which makes learning the controls for the game quite easy.
The blue pigment gives you a speed boost, allowing you to rush through areas pretty quickly. The yellow pigment allows you to float through the air for a short period of time, and the red pigment gives you a shield to protect you from harm. All of these powers have limited use based on how much pigment you’ve collected. They refill slowly over time, but you can charge them faster by picking up a glob of the corresponding color.
The music of Kaleidoscope goes well with the artistic direction, and it’s a pleasure to listen to, never becoming grating on the nerves – which is a flaw that many famous platformers suffer from. It really adds to the atmosphere as you progress through the game collecting colors, and it’s so catchy, you just might find yourself humming along.
Despite the cuteness and the challenge of finding the pigments, Kaleidoscope does suffer from some problems. All baddies in the game require a pop on the head in order to change their color from black to brown, thus turning them into friendlies. These baddies can jump and charge, and I found myself stuck between a charging baddie and a higher platform with no way to escape on more than one occasion. This can be frustrating, especially if you’re late into a level, where the only way to get free is to restart.
Aside from this, Kaleidoscope offers a rich experience with great visuals, solid gameplay, and a story you will want to see through to completion to know exactly what happens to Tint. Morsel has created a lovable silent character that you can care about in Kaleidoscope, which is so rare for games of this caliber. Platform gamers will love the challenge of exploring the levels, and puzzle gamers and completion freaks will be playing again and again to try to discover all of the lost pigments.
Gamer Limit gives Kaleidoscope a 9/10.