Extra Color — An Efficient & Simple, Two-State Time Waster

We occasionally dip into the realms of mobile gaming here at B3, however as the market is (unbelievably) more fickle than our main focuses, it’s a rarity. Extra Color is getting a mention for several reasons; among them its purity and, well… coincidence.

Extra Color comes from a very simple concept. Players flip between two colours to dodge incoming geometric shapes. These encroaching shapes move around in a generally predictable pattern, but at increasingly deadly speeds. Think of it as Terry Cavanagh’s Super Hexagon, but with the player flicking between two states rather than pivoting.

Before I get on about the game too much, though, I should expand upon my definition of purity, at least in the case of Evil Indie Games‘ simple little title.

My phone is filled with a selection of games that have passed the fifteen-minute test. These are mostly Threes! clones and idle games, although a few of what I refer to as ‘bigger titles’ — essentials like XCOM and King of Dragon Pass — fill the space, too. As such, purity comes in these games like Threes! or those various Frogger clones; games that are simple enough to be grasped in a few seconds, but designed in a way that they make you want to keep pushing further.

Extra Color as demonstrated to me in August 2017.

Evil Indie Games’ Extra Color, then, was part of the Pocket Gamer Big Indie Pitch in Cologne late last year. Despite not placing, it has managed to stick with me since — although my time judging other events and exploring the mobile storefront have left me aware of a deluge of games just like that which was pitched.

At time of viewing, it was a simple title, as detailed above, and while purity is definitely something which is — almost secretly — longed for by most people who have been playing games since the days of 8-bit, most of the more concentrated forms of ‘game’ are already thoroughly trod. In addition to this, I already knew of Evil Indie Games’ work from the excellent, curious No Thing (which launches on Nintendo Switch soon). So the pitch of developer Michal Stalewski seemed odd and disjointed — the game very pure compared to No Thing’s dystopian, Vapourwave setting.

As a matter of fact, my initial notes for this article, which have sat in reserve for almost eight months, speculated on the vast differences between Extra Color and their existing titles. Among my muddled notes is the following outburst:

The real kicker is that the team, Evil Indie Games, have made some interesting-looking games previously. If you look at No Thing — their Steam release from last year — which is a vapourwave infinite runner in a dystopian 1994, or their Ludem Dare 28 entry Superfrozenkittengetsonlyonesecretbottleforyou, which saw players exploring a maze-like town populated by humanoid animals in the search for the titular secret bottle, then you can see a team who are interested in experimenting with a variety of themes and context in their games. Knowing this makes the minimalist design of Extra Color sorely received — add a reskin to the current game’s list of things to do (alongside the previously mentioned modes) and we could all be looking at a game which sticks.

I suppose, then, that it’s probably worth mentioning the game has undergone some interesting redesigns. For a start, side panes have been included to make the playing field more interesting. Backgrounds have been employed at times, which give the game some depth of field, and there are now visible instructions included in the play area.

Strangely, the game now fits within my own head canon of No Thing. The aforementioned lack of style addressed in droves.

This new, revised and intriguing form of Extra Color launches on iOS on April the 5th. While I know that most people are adverse to such games, this is worth replacing anything similar with, not least due to the fact it seeps the developer’s visual style where those that came before wouldn’t have bothered.

 

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