I by no means performed a Life is Unusual recreation, so my curiosity wasn’t piqued when True Colours was introduced, that’s, till I noticed the trailer. I did a double take after I noticed that the protagonist, Alex Chen, had the singing voice of mxmtoon, a pop artist who I occur to be a fan of. Then I used to be launched to Haven Springs, an cute small city in Colorado, and boy, am I a sucker for small cities. However I took the plunge solely after assembly Alex.
I can say now that Alex is a fantastically written character. I related along with her on a stage I couldn’t come near with most actual individuals. What initially drew me in was her energy as an empath. Lately, I’ve begun relating to myself as an “empath,” somebody who strongly feels the feelings of these round them. In different phrases, I contemplate myself emotionally intuitive. I’ve spent a very long time strolling on the eggshells of these round me, so I can inform once they crack — I do know when individuals are damage inside. Once I first noticed Alex’s energy visualized on display screen, and the way one other particular person’s feelings affected her, a thread was instantly fashioned between her and me.
Life is Unusual: True Colours feels as if it was made for me. I really like the characters, the story, the alternatives and the whole lot in between. I totally immersed myself on this world, and have become Alex Chen after I made every of these decisions. I used to be ruthless after I needed to be, sort after I might be, and badass 100% of the time. Life is Unusual: True Colours is palms down one of many best PC games.
Welcome to Haven Springs
Life is Unusual: True Colours follows Alex Chen, a younger girl who strikes to small-town Colorado to reunite along with her brother, Gabe Chen, after eight years of separation. Alex had a tough life, bouncing between foster properties, abusive individuals, and poisonous relationships all of the whereas struggling to manage her supernatural energy. However Haven Springs was a contemporary begin — a spot the place Alex might calm down and construct a brand new life along with her long-lost brother.
Nonetheless, tragedy strikes, and Alex is thrust right into a campaign for justice and vengeance. Should you’ve seen the trailer, you realize what occurs, however I received’t discuss it as a result of it should not be spoiled for the viewers. Should you’re on this recreation and have averted the trailer to date, maintain at it. It’s higher to go in not realizing what occurs as a result of it’ll additional make investments you in the course of the first chapter. Nothing is worse than continually anticipating when a spoiled second will strike.
There are fairly just a few twists and turns within the story which can be too narratively handy. And the complete plot hinges on a ridiculously avoidable occasion. Nonetheless, I can forgive that as a result of the characters later acknowledged and expressed how avoidable it was. The aftermath of these feelings, the anger and hatred, have been highly effective and so rattling human that the writing deserves credit score for addressing the difficulty.
The alternatives we make
I battle with nervousness, and with that comes indecisiveness. Enjoying Life is Unusual is all about making choices. This recreation compelled me to make decisions and reside with them. There aren’t any save factors and no retries. There are decisions that I remorse, however I might do all of it once more as a result of I believed that they made for glorious narrative moments.
True Colours is among the few decision-making video games that didn’t depart me watching a dialogue selection display screen for greater than an hour. That’s as a result of the informal dialogue prompts in addition to the important choices have been clear and cheap. There are many video games with decision-making mechanics that don’t make it clear what your character is about to say. There is perhaps a one-word immediate unrelated to the dialog and the following factor you realize your character is saying a “yo mama” joke spiraling right into a navy coup.
True Colours doesn’t do this to you. Each selection I made was my very own. There are just a few occasions the place I want Alex had completed one thing in another way, however total, her choices and strategies lined up with my very own.
Connecting with individuals
Life is Unusual: True Colours is a thriller recreation the place you navigate as Alex Chen to not solely assist individuals however to collect data for a case you’re build up towards the massive unhealthy. It’s a character-centric recreation, and it dives deep into the great and unhealthy feelings of everybody across the protagonist.
As I explored Haven Springs, I bumped into many predominant and aspect characters and will get an empathic learn on most of them, feeling their grief, anger or frustration. Their feelings have been triggered by occasions as deep because the lack of a pal or as trivial as getting a boot on a automobile. With the essential characters, Alex has the chance to dig deeper and see the world by means of their eyes. I’ve seen fantastical worlds and nightmarish ones. I’ve even seen by means of the eyes of somebody with dementia, which is haunting as a result of it’s so actual. True Colours tackles some fairly powerful topics, however it provides to the authenticity.
A giant a part of this recreation is the emotional development of Alex’s character, and the way deeply she’s affected by the individuals round her. You’ll be able to draw comparisons to Alex being a delicate particular person in actual life. Each time she feels somebody’s disappointment, you may really feel the melancholy seeping by means of. When the unfavorable ideas sink in, you may really feel the poisonous surroundings closing in round you. If Alex feels somebody’s spark, a glimmer of pleasure, it’s as contagious as laughter. Erika Mori nailed her efficiency as Alex, capturing the character and the way deeply human she might be.
If you’re not specializing in the principle plot, you’re serving to individuals. I really like that essentially the most about True Colours. You might ditch the conspiracy and there would nonetheless be a unbelievable recreation right here as a result of anybody who has ever struggled with grief, nervousness or melancholy can relate to the story.
For Alex, it’s simple to attach with individuals as a result of she fights to really feel what they really feel as her methodology to assist them. I love her due to how arduous she fights. Like Alex, I can’t sit by when somebody is hurting; I wish to assist them even when it’s one of many hardest issues I’ve ever needed to do.
There are a bunch of nice characters within the recreation aside from Alex. There’s Ryan and Steph, the previous is a hunky mountain cop and the latter is a nerdy radio host. Ryan is courageous and ridiculously good, whereas Steph is free-spirited and adventurous. I fell for the hunky mountain man, however in my protection, that’s earlier than I knew Steph was a Critter (extra on that later). In fact, there’s Gabe, who’s the traditional loving brother who’s simply attempting to get his life collectively and do the most effective he can for the individuals round him. After which there’s his girlfriend Charlotte, who’s a fiery sizzling wave of feelings. For a lot of the recreation, Charlotte appeared like a dull character, however when you get to know what’s occurring in that head, you notice how human she is.
Haven Springs additionally felt like a dwelling and respiration character due to the ability of smartphones. Alex’s smartphone is stuffed with texts from the residents of Haven Springs and an app that’s the equal of a city’s Fb group, stuffed with posts from on display screen and off-screen characters.
I’ve already mentioned this recreation was made for me, however goddamn, there’s even a complete chapter devoted to a Dungeons & Dragons-esque situation. One of many two main love pursuits, Steph, is a Critter — a fan of Crucial Position, probably the most fashionable D&D exhibits. Steph runs a LARP (Dwell-Motion-Position-Play) session for the city, and Alex Chen performs the Bard.
I beloved this complete chapter. All the city of Haven Springs got here collectively to roleplay and, for a second, escape the actual world of tragedy. The chapter was arrange like a turn-based JRPG, the place you casted spells and commanded a small occasion. There are some enjoyable puzzles and cute mysteries to resolve in the course of the LARP.
My solely grievance concerning the chapter is that I want there have been extra fight encounters. You may get previous a lot of the fight encounters with particular gadgets you may decide up, which I could not assist however use. Nonetheless, that leaves solely two battles, which sucks as a result of there are such a lot of talents and scrolls that you simply decide up in the course of the chapter. It undoubtedly wanted some extra unavoidable fights.
The ultimate stretch
With out spoiling something, I wish to speak concerning the final chapter a bit and the way the sport virtually misplaced me. There’s an extended stretch the place you don’t make any choices and also you’re principally in a single cutscene after one other to the purpose the place it feels as in case you’re watching a movie. I didn’t thoughts it at first, however then I questioned what the purpose was of rehashing stuff that was already implied.
Some scenes are higher off referenced or talked about within the background. There’s no want to visualise the whole lot on display screen, particularly previous traumas. Nonetheless, experiencing Alex’s life on reflection and difficult her beliefs have been highly effective moments. You’ll be able to solely assist so many individuals earlier than you notice that the particular person you have to assist essentially the most is your self. It’s not the extreme, action-packed finale that I needed, however it’s the finale Alex wanted, and the sport is healthier for it.
When the credit rolled on Life is Unusual: True Colours, I sat in my chair, wanting a lot extra. There are only some video games that may knock me down with a wave of melancholy as soon as the escapism is formally over, and True Colours is now on that record.
I used to be enamored by Alex Chen’s exceptional character, the attractive soundtrack, the stunning artwork, and the general world design that sunk its tooth into me. I don’t know if I might really feel the identical approach about any Life is Unusual recreation, solely as a result of this explicit one spoke to me in some ways, and the others appear so totally different.
I beloved True Colours. I do know that it’s over now, however I simply hope we get to see extra of Alex Chen sooner or later. I’m excited to see Steph’s journey in Wavelengths, a prequel DLC launching on September 30.