Life is Unusual: True Colours review: An emotional triumph
“Heartfelt and poignant, the one factor Life is Unusual: True Colours journeys over is its personal phrases.”
- A relatable story
- Heartfelt moments
- Joyful characters
- Haphazard pacing
- Cringeworthy dialogue
- Unimpressive visuals
Should you’re in search of a narrative about psychological well being, discovering one is as simple as logging onto Twitter and scrolling for a bit. Media, no matter its format, now has some technique of representing the huge swath of psychological well being points. The difficulty of widespread melancholy or anxiousness has change into accepted, and is now represented by way of the characters within the video games we play and reveals we watch. In some unspecified time in the future, a variety of us realized that, internally, one thing isn’t proper, one thing’s not good.
Life is Unusual: True Colours facilities round that notion — that we’re all, in our personal distinctive method, damaged or fallacious. Nonetheless, the story it tells isn’t merely about dealing with each day life. That’s not a wholesome approach to stay anyway. It’s about embracing these imperfections, tackling them head-on, and in some instances preventing to verify life is what it needs to be.
That message involves life by way of the sport’s fantastic forged of characters, every with their very own experiences and trauma. It’s nearly inconceivable to finish Life is Unusual: True Colours with out regarding both Alex or one in all her associates. Even with staggered story pacing and typically off-putting dialogue, the sport managed to hook up with me in a method not many have earlier than.
In another person’s sneakers
Life is Unusual: True Colours places gamers within the sneakers of Alex Chen, a girl who’s seemingly been by way of all of it. A big a part of her life was spent within the foster care system, which I don’t learn about first-hand, however am all too conversant in attributable to an in depth pal’s experiences. By her telephone, gamers can see that even the few social relationships she’s managed to develop throughout her time within the system didn’t pan out. One ends with Alex ghosting a boy who begins to count on intercourse from her after just a few hookups, one other ends as a result of Alex seemingly “freaked out.”
That freak-out was attributable to Alex’s latent energy, which isn’t something as spectacular as flying or taking pictures laser beams. As an alternative, she’s a wierd combine between a telepath and an empath (a telempath, if you’ll). She will be able to see how folks really feel, visualized by way of colourful auras that seem round their our bodies. When somebody feels one thing, she will faucet into it and perceive the reasoning behind their feelings. Total, it’s a strong software, one which lets her, together with gamers, get to the core of any character’s motivation. If somebody is appearing out of concern or rage, Alex can inform and dredge that deep-seated emotion to the floor.
Nonetheless, when she’s actually reaching into somebody’s feelings, Alex’s powers can take her elsewhere. As an alternative of merely seeing how somebody feels — albeit at a deeper degree than most — she will see the world by way of their eyes, filtered by their feelings. At occasions, this expertise is whimsical, bringing Alex right into a Dungeons & Dragons-esque world imagined by a baby. Different experiences aren’t as nice, however nonetheless poignant. One in all these sections has Alex trying by way of the terrified eyes of a girl slowly dropping her reminiscence to a “situation,” by way of the lens of her concern of ultimately not remembering staple items, just like the face of her personal granddaughter. These moments ended up hitting near house for me as terrifyingly good representations of the concern, rage, and anxiousness I’ve felt by way of my very own life.
At occasions, this expertise is whimsical, bringing Alex right into a Dungeons & Dragons-esque world imagined by a baby. Different experiences aren’t as nice, however nonetheless poignant.
The damaging feelings gamers expertise all through Life is Unusual: True Colours are equally balanced by moments of tenderness and real pleasure. The sport begins with Alex arriving within the city of Haven Springs, Colorado, to maneuver in together with her brother, Gabe. The primary day they’re collectively is one healthful second after one other, with the quiet, reserved shell that Alex has constructed up over years slowly chipping away as she’s reintroduced to her brother and the tightknit discovered household he’s constructed within the small city.
That excellent day ends with Gabe’s loss of life, an occasion that places the remainder of the sport’s plot into movement. Alex and her two greatest associates, Steph (who makes a return from Life is Unusual: Earlier than The Storm) and Ryan, start investigating a mining firm that’s been within the city and set off a blast that induced Gabe’s loss of life. Nonetheless, this story of company espionage and intrigue largely falls into the background throughout 4 of the sport’s 5 chapters. There are moments if you’ll focus straight on this plot, however for many of the sport, the highlight is on Alex and her sluggish however certain acclimation to a spot that’s secure to name house.
This finally ends up making for a wierd imbalance in a narrative that I usually loved and ended up connecting with. Alex’s struggle towards the mining firm, Typhon, feels prefer it ought to take heart stage always. Nonetheless, it as an alternative offers an ominous backdrop for Alex’s personal story of non-public betterment, and the way she involves phrases together with her new function in Haven Springs as an individual who acknowledges themselves as damaged however feels the necessity to repair others.
For a majority of the sport, gamers stroll across the small, idyllic city, interacting with its locals and serving to them with their very own points. It’s by way of these small interactions that Alex builds up her personal discovered household, slowly changing the one which’s both died off or deserted her.
Whereas a majority of those moments are touching, they’re additionally the place Life is Unusual: True Colours‘ writing is at its worst. At occasions, all the pieces the sport’s characters are saying is highly effective and relatable, however at others, the phrases ring hole (and are typically downright inappropriate). Alex, a 21-year-old, doesn’t have to spout off internet-age memes when random objects within the atmosphere. It makes her come off as much less of a relatable instance of individuals my age (which can be a stretch, since I’m the ripe outdated age of 25) and extra of a caricature.
Life is Unusual: True Colours‘ story, though sluggish for its majority, is gratifying. It’s not plodding, however extra of a nice stroll, one thing to take pleasure in at a leisurely tempo. That feeling adjustments completely through the sport’s final act, although, when issues take an especially sharp flip. The story pivots completely from Alex’s acclimation to her new atmosphere straight to her battle towards Typhon. It’s a dramatic flip of occasions, one which’s genuinely gripping. Whereas I might cease taking part in at any time through the sport’s early chapters, I needed to end after hitting the fifth.
Whereas a majority of those moments are touching, they’re additionally the place Life is Unusual: True Colours‘ writing is at its worst.
It’s additionally throughout this last chapter that gamers will get one of many sport’s six endings. Presently, I’ve solely labored my method by way of the sport as soon as, nevertheless, I’ll seemingly give it one other run to expertise all of the issues I had missed, which the sport generously reveals on the finish of every chapter. I don’t assume it’s doable to get a really “unhealthy” ending, however there are some that may be worse than others, at the least to me. I attempted to get Alex to finish up with one of many sport’s two love pursuits, and succeeded in that regard. There are another essential selections gamers could make about Alex’s future as effectively, however I received’t get into these spoilers.
There isn’t a simple approach to advocate Life is Unusual: True Colours. It, like the remainder of the Life is Unusual franchise, isn’t a typical sport. It’s extra akin to a visible novel or point-and-click journey. The sport is a sluggish, gratifying expertise, excellent for if you need to wind down for the evening or stand up within the morning.
Greater than that, although, it’s an emotional triumph. Experiencing Alex’s journey and seeing the world by way of her excellently crafted perspective is a pleasure that hit me more durable than I anticipated it to. I’ve usually written off the Life is Unusual franchise as unrelatable, by no means giving it the possibility it deserved. Nonetheless, Alex’s story, and the trials of these round her, ended up ringing true to me. Their fears, anxieties, and different feelings are all private and are available from a spot that I take into account widespread floor. Worry of outdated age, anger at firms and their never-ending greed, and disappointment and rage after the lack of a liked one aren’t unique to this sport’s characters — they’re common emotions. Life is Unusual: True Colours, even with its imbalanced story and typically cringeworthy dialogue, wields its emotional heft masterfully.
Is there a greater different?
Telltale’s The Strolling Lifeless nonetheless reigns supreme on this style. It’s an ideal emotional story for these searching for a extra mature sport.
How lengthy will it final?
My playthrough of Life is Unusual: True Colours took round 10 hours, however that was only one run. Gamers can undergo the sport a number of occasions for his or her supreme ending.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure. Life is Unusual: True Colours is relatable on nearly each degree, providing a strong expertise for individuals who like slower, extra relaxed video games.