Overall Score 72%
One of the great staples of indie gaming is the sliding block puzzle game. These come in a variety of formats and it is increasingly hard to think up new ways to manipulate those coloured squares. Here we have a pretty good stab at a crowded genre.
Slide Colors (I will resist the urge to deamericanise this title) features a simple grid containing a number of coloured squares. Your task depends on which game mode you have selected - puzzle mode sees you moving a set number of coloured blocks into the correctly marked spaces; the others see you matching lines of three or more blocks of the same colour in order to remove them from the board, one in order to score enough points to beat each level, the other to remove all the metal blocks that surround the starting colours. You move blocks not independently but by sliding the entire row or column, thus moving other blocks at the same time.
Sliding is performed by mouse, and is very intuitive - simply click and hold the left button, and move left/right or up/down. When you have adjusted to the right spot, let go of the button. This intuitive control method is a big help - there were no provided instructions on the game basics, only some help on what the special blocks do (such as the bonus blocks that clear whole rows/columns and the bomb that clears a number of random squares). Fortunately new features are also explained as and when they appear. Occasionally a red X blocks a square - the row and column this occupies cannot be moved.
Graphics are bright and colourful, and the row/column you are moving is highlighted. Even those with colour-blindness are catered for - the different blocks sport different symbols as well as different hues. Blocks "explode" off the screen when matched, replaced by new ones. Sound is perhaps the game's best feature, with a couple of bouncy tunes and a range of suitable sound effects. Both music and effects volumes can be individually adjusted.
Slide Colors is very easy to play, with a gradual learning curve. Unlike some puzzlers, you have three "credits" (the equivalent of lives) that allow you to continue from where you left off should your time or moves run out. Occasionally it can be hard to see any moves, but there's a hint button for when you get stuck. There's a big difference between the game modes, too - I particularly liked the puzzle mode.
I can't see this being a game you play for hours on end, but then it doesn't try to be. Ten minutes here, twenty minutes there... that's all it asks of you. You can quit and return to your game at any time and can even be part way through all three game modes at once (and can have several player profiles simultaneously). It could prove a great way to unwind after a long day.
All this said, Slide Colors is not without a few flaws, and I hope these can be easily resolved. I had some problems registering the game - Windows Vista users, run this game "As Administrator" if you wish to avoid random crashes. The gameplay also lacks the "combos" that similar games have - you can score several matches at once, but if the replacement blocks form new ones, they won't be detected. You cannot move a row or column (outside of puzzle mode) without making at least one match, but if there's a match already lined up in that row or column it will happily let you move it to any new position. Similar to the combo issue, the bonus blocks you obtain by matching five or more blocks will clear an entire row and column if you try to move them, including other bonus blocks - but doing so wastes them. I would have thought they might chain react. The other bonus, achieved whenever you hit a multiple of 300 points, seems fairly mediocre (though can be useful when matches are harder to find). Neither bonus can be carried over, so there's little point in holding onto them.
Slide Colors is a fairly standard puzzle game, with some strong concepts but lacking the polish of many similar games. That said, it's hard to go wrong at this price - if you give it a go, there is a fair amount of simple entertainment. I would like to see TayKron have another bash at it, because I think there's further to go with this one.
Keywords: slide colors review, taykron games reviews, taykron games games, slide colors scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.