Color BlastAR is a family-friendly (for kids ages 6-12, rated by the developer) augmented reality first-person shooter which was previously released for Google Tango as Crayola Color Blaster and now its developer released an ARKit version of it on the App Store. The Tango version of this game was nominated for Best AR Experience in the Google Play Awards. The iOS version of this game requires an ARKit- compatible iPhone or iPad device running iOS 11 (and up).
Gameplay and Game Modes
Short introduction aside, let’s dive in deeper into what Color BlastAR is all about. In this game, creatures have invaded your world controlled by a wacky professor guy that wants to still the color from your world. It’s up to you to stop its evil plans by coloring everything back with color. You do this by grabbing colors from color buckets which spread out around you and use it to paint objects and creatures.
The game played slightly different based on the mode you decide to play. When I played the game there were only two games modes: ‘Arcade Mode’ and ‘Zombies Ate the Color’. In the first one, you need to survive as long as possible and paint as many creatures as you can. The second one is kinda like a very short ‘Story’ mode, where you need to paint zombies to make them happy, give them the right objects from chests and eventually defeat the evil professor in a boss fight. There is also a third option called “Paint My Dragon”, but for me, it was grayed out so I couldn’t play it. I guess it will be unlocked in a future update so I haven’t included it here in this review.
I suggest starting with the story just to get into the game and then move to the Arcade mode. The arcade mode is all about trying to get the highest score possible At the end of each run, you get to see how many waves you were able to survive, the amount of time that you’ve played and the total of enemies you were able to pain. Color BlastAR also shows you your top best achievements, including the best number of waves you were able to survive, your high score and your best total number of creatures you were able to paint successfully. I didn’t see any global leaderboard though, and it would be nice to have this option to add a higher replay value to the arcade mode.
If you play it on the iPad, I recommend changing the shooting in the setting so that each shot is aimed at the center, it’s easier to play like that.
AR Presentation & Immersion
Color BlastAR is an ARKit game. It was developed from the ground up with Augmented Reality in mind. I’ve played it in different places, like in my living room, in the stairway and outdoor in a large park.
The game plays best in a large area because in this game it requires that the player will move around and not stand still. You need to move around the environment to load colors from buckets and avoid enemies getting closer to you. It was just too tight playing the game in the living room. It directly affects your achievements in the Arcade mode because you are likely to fail very fast if you can’t maneuver around the room and avoid those creatures attack. It might not be even safe because of the many objects lying around in the living room. I would definitely recommend for parents to make sure there are no obstacles when their child is playing this game. Even the developer put a message for parents alerting them about this thing.
The creatures are rendered in relatively large scale which is nice. It was really cool and sometimes a bit spooky to turn around and seeing that zombie just stares at your face. It would be nice to have the option to control the size of the zombies to it can be more comfortable to play in a tight environment. It will definitely hurt the immersion, but it would be more playable like that. If there was a global leaderboard in Arcade mode it would be a different story because this would give an advantage for those who play it with smaller creatures, but there isn’t.
The objects are placed well in the scene, but in small areas you mind find some of them overlapping other objects. I’ve encountered this in other games as well. The thing is that ARKit knows how to recognize surfaces, but it’s not as advanced as Google Tango in detecting the 3D shapes of objects in the scene by scanning it, This is why you see some glitching in the graphics when playing ARKit games. A big problem? I guess note, but let’s keep it just for the record.
The immersion is quite good because of the size of the objects and creatures in the scene, especially when you play it on the iPad, which I did. I would have liked to see more objects added to the scene to make it more interesting. With just a few buckets, flowers and creatures there is just not too much into it. Maybe putting a semi-transparent purple sky like you see in the game YuME: Alice’s Dream and add some lightning and some nice sound effects. You know, make it more atmospheric and a little bit more dramatic.
I don’t know for sure if ARKit can detect vertical surfaces, from what I understand it can, if so it would be also nice to have some objects being rendered on the side walls as well. I didn’t see anything like that while playing,
Overall, the immersion isn’t that great and AR accuracy worked sufficiently. As I mentioned, for the best experience, I recommend playing the game in a relatively large open space for both immersion and safety.
Graphics & UI
Color BlastAR features cartoon-style visuals. This is a good choice considering the target audience that this game is aimed for, which is mostly kids I assume. Furthermore, it’s all about painting stuff, so the painted objects resemble the drawing-style of a coloring book.
The UI is well made and very easy to navigate through. When you play, the game shows markers where creatures and treasure chests are located. The reason I found it useful is that you can sometimes get dizzy while quickly looking around to locate the creatures. With those icons on the screen, you don’t need to turn around too much. On the other hand, without those icons, the game might be slightly more challenging, because you would be forced to continuously look around you to locate where the enemies are coming from.
Overal, good job in the graphics and UI section but as you can see, I have a certain opinion about the game’s design, things that I personally would like to be improved, but not something that the casual player will be concerned about.
How Difficult is Color BlastAR?
The campaign mode isn’t difficult, but I am an adult, and it might be more challenging for a kid. At the same breath, I think it shouldn’t be too hard because it needs to give kids the option to enjoy a continuous gameplay and not frustrate them with a high difficulty.
The Arcade mode, however, can pose some real challenge, because it’s score based. People will strive to survive longer throughout the waves to obtain a higher score.
When I played in my living room, I failed at Wave 6 (don’t laugh please). Lots of enemies spawn in the room and some of them had 3-colors, which means I needed to shoot them with three different colors to take them down. Each color takes some time to feel up, and you need to do that while shooting other enemies on the way, running around the room to pick up colors and avoid getting hit. The arcade mode can definitely post a challenge and become quite hard the longer you progress through the waves.
By the way, I’ve also read in the press release that HitPoint Studios plans to add new characters, power-ups, leaderboards and the next chapter in the ‘Story’ mode, so it’s worth checking out for upcoming updates.
Oh, have I mentioned that you can also shoot cute skeleton doggies and flying dragons?
Should you get this game?
I think this game will be favorable among kids and teens. Adult will probably find it more fun to try to challenge themselves in the Arcade mode.
The shooting gameplay is fun and satisfying. The is a nice variety of characters to shoot at and it’s fun to watch those creatures and objects filled up with colors as you shoot them.
The arcade mode is for those of you who search for a more challenging gameplay experience, and I have no doubt that you can find it there. I personally still looking forward to the next chapter in the ‘Story’ mode.
I think that kids will love this game because many kids love the zombie characters and even more when they are running after you wherever you go. I’ve been doing a Zombie walk and face to my nieces and they always loves it, they were a bit scared, but I saw that they really like it. When they come to my house they always ask my to do ‘Zombie’. Also after seeing how popular games like Plants vs Zombies and Splatoon are (just regarding the theme and the gameplay mechanics; these are not AR games), I have no doubt in my mind that kids will fall in love with this type of game as well.
Considering everything said and done here and considering the target audience, I will definitely put this game at the top of my ARKit list where an action game is concerned. I haven’t played many AR games that just make you run around the room and this is probably one of the key highlight of this game.
This game does what many other action AR games haven’t done yet and this need to be credited as well.
It’s worth mentioning that the game is available for free on the App Store, so I definitely recommend downloading it and trying it out.