Coated Game Review

Coated is a puzzle platformer game using color changes to interact with objects and enemies. Players jump in paint buckets to mix or change their color to camouflage from enemies or interact with color specific items. There are 25 levels, with many of them being revisited to utilize their paint buckets.

Format: PC via Steam
Play time so far: 30 minutes

Level 15 of Coated, red character stands before yellow, grey, and blue stacked boxes. Red, white, and pink paint are available in the level. Getting the character to the end while pink is the goal.
Released August 25th, 2015 by mamoniem

Quick Overview

Major Pros:

  • Revisit prior levels to solve new ones
Major Cons:

  • Exiting and reloading automatically completes a level
  • Soft blocks
Minor Pros:

  • Simple clear graphics
Minor Cons:

  • Boxes were glitched
Map of Coated's levels, currently levels 1 through 3 are revealed. A diagram of the color wheel is also present with lines to show traditional color mixing rules.
The in game map shows what paint colors are availale in each level, but does not allow fast travel

In-depth Review

The puzzles and platforming in Coated are not particularly difficult. For most of the platforming, the player jumps onto static platforms or platforms with very basic movement. Puzzles involve figuring out what color is needed to clear a level and then finding the paint to mix to become that color. However the paint needed might not be in the current level. The mechanic I found most interesting for Coated was that prior levels could be revisited simply by walking (sliding?) back to the beginning of a level. Paint from prior levels could then be collected and the player would have to get back to the end of the level with the new color. This usually meant the level would have to be solved in a slightly different way.

Coated level 2, the main character has become green to perfectly blend into green smoke and do unnoticed by an enemy. Only their 3 eyes are visible. Tutorial text reads: you can trick the enemy and hide in the smoke.
Notice the camouflaged main character hidden in the green smoke, before dashing to the green goal

The graphics of Coated were very colorful and clear. Paint, enemies, and objects were all clearly noticeable. The game also features very in-depth color options in the settings for players with all sorts of preferences, making the game very accessible for a range of players. I’m definitely a fan of accessible design and would love to see more of this in games.

Colored and labeled boxes to be slid by the main character make up the interactive color settings menu.
All colors in the game can be modified manually, in a simple mode or this advanced mode

Unfortunately Coated suffers from a number of technical problems. The first issue that became apparent to me was that boxes could be moved, even if the player did not share their color. Players are normally supposed to be the same color as a box in order to push it. This was possible by pressing the main character up against the boxes and then repeatedly jumping. It was pretty easy to do, so I can’t help but wonder if something about my hardware exposed this bug.

Coated level 4, orange main character standing on red boxes. an orange goal and yellow paint are nearby. Tutorial text reads:
I was able to move these boxes as any color, make it unnecessary to revisit the prior level and become red

The other bugs I experienced were soft blocks and returning to the wrong level after restarting the game. Soft blocks happened for me when traveling backward through some of the levels, objects would spawn between my character and the exit which would cover the exit (pulling doesn’t seem to be a mechanic, no matter what color the character is). This lead me to restarting my game, wherein I discovered the third bug. If I was previously just starting a level and then restarted the game, I would load into the level after where I was supposed to be. This would act as if I had cleared the prior level even though I hadn’t. Repeatedly restarting the game could rocket the player through all the levels without actually playing any of them. Needless to say, I was disappointed. Maybe it was intended as a skip mechanics, but I disliked it since I couldn’t get the full experience of playing the level from the start as the intended color.

Coated level 7, the orange main character is trapped between a purple wall and green boxes which cover the goal. Only an orange paint bucket is accessible.
Random green boxes spawned over the exit, softblocking me from returning to the prior level

Recommendation

Overall I think Coated is a simple and colorful puzzle platformer that’s overly bogged down with technical issues. I liked the backtracking mechanics and redoing levels with new colors, and I loved the visual color accessibility available for users. Unfortunately, I found it harder to avoid not breaking the game than to actually play the levels. I recommend it only for players with more discipline in not abusing glitches, who are interested in spending a little time with the game’s simple but interesting mechanics.

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