Chicory: A Review of Colorful Tales – a stroke of genius that anyone can enjoy

There is a famous saying that always haunts me. George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright, once said “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing. “As a kid who loved joining bands and learning instruments, I had a lot of fun just playing on my guitar or keyboard, watching what happened and enjoying the learning process.

Somewhere along the way, it was no longer about fun, but about being good, about success, and the lack of those elements took away the joy. Sometimes I don’t play guitar for months, because it gets me nowhere. Then I come home from a couple of beers, pick it up without thinking about it, and remind myself that just strumming a few chords makes my heart happy.

Kale is a video game about that balance. It’s about the adult drive to make things perfect, and how that takes away from us the joy of simple experiments. On the path to perfection, there are many steps along the way. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed at all. Because perfection doesn’t exist, and if you try to solve problems just for the sake of perfection, you will never be happy.

Chicory takes place in a beautiful hand-drawn world called Picnic, where each area is named after some kind of meal, and each character is named after a different dish. At the start of the game, I was asked what my favorite food was, and so my character Lasagne was born. The adventure begins when Lasagne finds a magic brush, dropped by the famous welder Chicory, and it becomes evident that all color has disappeared from the world.

A small cartoon character walking through a town by hand

Why this is happening and what Chicory’s reasons are, are best left to be discovered, but it’s a game that isn’t afraid to peel back the layers and explore the mental effects of failure and its failures. great expectations. The original world of Chicory was full of color, and it was the owner’s job to maintain that color, so now Lasagne must complete that quest and paint the town red, blue, and yellow.

My little Lasagne, however, had no experience, they were simply Chicory’s house cleaners, and happened to be the first to find the famously dropped brush on the floor. So when they began to bring color back to lovingly named places like Luncheon, Potluck, and Elevenses, they upended the obstacles of self-doubt and public expectations. It’s rare to see a game that injects so many mechanical elements into its themes so beautifully, but Chicory completely succeeds in taking every idea it presents literally.

Simply exploring the world and its vibrant colors is a joy. Each square of the map starts completely white and you can color it or not. Thankfully, the Switch has a few great control options here. The touchscreen controls feel absolutely flawless, especially with the stylus, although you’ll still need to use the Joy-Cons for some of the controls. Simply using the analog stick as a pointer works fine, if a bit stiff, but I assume this is not about precision.

Cartoon character holding a brush exploring the forest with different colors

Where I found the most success was with motion control when using two Joy-Cons, one in each hand. If you’ve played The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword with motion controls, you’ll understand this well. Holding each Joy-Con feels comfortable for the task in hand, while moving the controller to draw feels great, reminding me of the great Okami port also on the Nintendo Switch. It is also important to reiterate that there are many customization options available to manage the best control experience for you.

Even at the most basic, it’s simply a pleasure to swap between colors and bring each area to life. The characters ask you to color their houses or design things for them like shop signs, and even though I’m not very good at it, I still enjoyed playing. Picnic’s people needed color to be brought back to this world and the game went to great lengths to ensure that this is not simply a goal to be achieved or a box to be ticked, Chicory is a game about fun and what artistic freedom also brings to those around you.

However, this is not just a coloring book, as you also have to try and find out why that color is lost in the world. Exploring each area, you quickly discover that dark energy is taking over Picnic’s world and draining life and color from the different areas. What’s surprising is that Chicory also has quite a few puzzles and almost dungeon-like areas where interacting with the world is key to progressing. I don’t know what I expected when I first saw Chicory’s screenshots, but to say I was surprised is an understatement.

A dark cave lit with colors, revealing a puzzle

The brush is the key to each puzzle, as using paint from it can light up caves, fill water balloon bombs, and even uncover hidden words on the walls of a dungeon. Paint is also essential for transmission, with the ability to slowly unlock and improve
motion until the land of Picnic is an easy one to explore. As you become more familiar with the use of the magic brush, these sensations are mirrored to give your character more confidence in his abilities. It’s not about being perfect, it’s just about doing it as you progress along the way.

Another surprising element is the brush used for combat. At certain points, you battle manifestations of dark energies taking over Picnic, and must defeat them with paint. You hardly paint to save yourself, moreover just use paint as a pointer to attack, but you still color the screen when fighting these dark forces. The combat is also surprisingly complex, requiring careful balance when moving your character, while also paying attention to where you’re using the brush. Each fight adds another layer, and I’m impressed by the ingenuity of each particular fight, even if they’re a bit brief.

Every element of Chicory’s gameplay feels great. You spend more time exploring and solving puzzles than fighting, but the joy of simply splattering paint around a blank canvas is such a simple thing that I never get tired of it. tired. As you explore, you also uncover hidden items like trash cans and a pack of lost kittens. Finding these and helping the citizens involved will reward you with even more tools to decorate the world, and to start with is a simple brush with a few adjustable sizes. , which eventually becomes a giant toolbox of different decorating methods.

The way you color each area is also remembered as you continue the game. When you zoom out to see the map at any point, you can see exactly the paint you used and how it brought some lovely new colors to the corners of the world that needed it. Obviously the theme of the game is to restore trust, remember to have fun, and build confidence in your abilities against your own self-doubt. But this Picnic map is a nice reminder that it doesn’t have to be perfect either, as just have some fun and some color will add up regardless.

A giant white eyeball pierces a black background, attacking a cartoon character with a beam of light

Even looking for hints in Chicory offers a lovely twist, as phone boxes around the world give you the option to call your parents for help. Your mom gives you vague advice showing you where to go, and if you want, your dad can give you some very precise advice along the lines of “move the two squares to the right and paint Paint on a tree to make it float. “It’s especially endearing because your family is so important to your personality development. Facing the daunting prospect of being a new user is not easy, but both your family and many former users are there to help you bring color back into the world.

In the second half of the game, you are really tested by the brush and the mental exhaustion of expectations. As you unlock more abilities, the puzzles only get more and more complicated, while navigating the world and its characters presents exciting new dynamics. The seemingly small world of Picnic is deceiving, as each area is richly populated with fascinating and likable characters, and even the world below the surface is larger than you might expect. There is so much to do in your adventure and you bring more color to the world with each mission.

There is so much to do in your adventure and you bring more color into the world with each quest

While Chicory may look a bit plain, deliberately adopting a children’s coloring book, it presents each character with a sweet and distinct style that helps sell the dialogue that usually brings emotional weight of the game. The music is also superb, shifting from a pleasant almost passive sound design to some more countervailing tracks to create the perfect sound for more thrilling moments. It all works well alongside the Chicory’s deceptively sweet style, allowing the weight to match with darker stops along the way.

I only have a few minor criticisms. Performance can sometimes be subject to change. While normally it’s pretty smooth as you explore and color, sometimes quickly painting a large area can severely affect the frame rate. It is very frequent, but quite noticeable. There are also some minor bugs that I have, such as when I select the game again after putting the console to sleep, the screen asks you to place the Joy-Con on an enlarged plane. significantly. Both very minor issues, but just the ones I’ve looked at.

A small cartoon shop filled with various animal characters, as well as colorful drawings

Mechanically Chicory is a great game that offers a lovely toolbox of art options and a decorated begging world. But alongside the themes of rediscovering passion, living up to expectations, the weight that weighs on our own fears and doubts, and how they form the worst kind of creative block… incredible use of the video game medium, to tell a story that simply couldn’t be done any other way.

It touched my artist’s soul in ways I really didn’t expect and made me cry over and over again. In fact, it reminds me how important it is to simply enjoy the game and not get caught up in the chase for perfection. Chicory has also found the perfect home on Switch, helping to deliver this stunning experience on a platform that encourages play and with control options perfectly suited to any player. In 10-12 hours to beat, hopefully you’ll rediscover within yourself why you love playing and have so much fun along the way. Now excuse me, I want to hold the guitar for the first time in a while.

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https://www.pockettactics.com/chicory/review Chicory: A Review of Colorful Tales – a stroke of genius that anyone can enjoy

Isaiah Colbert

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