Feeling blue? Draw energy from your inner emotions and channel them into our Every Hue of You review.
You ever had a really baaaad day in terms of anger management and boom, a car combusts? Or feel so sad it feels like it’s raining all the time, and it is? What a world to live in if that actually happened, right? Well, in Every Hue of You, strong emotions become power.
Hue was created by Cactus Jam Games, a Melbourne indie studio, and was released on 31st of July and is focused on the literal manifestations that affect the real world around you. Let’s look inside and find out more!
Every Hue of You Review – Story
Every Hue of You’s plot is this: ‘emotions have possessed a special energy for as long as we remember – Paeos. If we don’t keep our Paeos under control, anything could happen. An overwhelming joy could cause a field of flowers to bloom! …But an intense anger could burn down forests.
In a town called Zenoa, people regulate their emotions so cautiously that emotional expression has become stigmatised. And those who struggle to control their feelings are shamed by the community.’
Talk about a bad mental health day really taking you for a trip, huh? At least in our world we can punch a wall or hug a cat for a release, and that’s all that happens. That’s all it affects, right?… Right?
Twyla is a young woman that is trying to take over her mother’s jewellery store, ‘Twilight Jewellery’. She feels like she can’t match up to her mother’s legacy, and struggles at it. On top of this, she’s grieving over the death of her mother, lost and confused.
Several bad mental health days later – after a customer rages at her -, a tall, dark and handsome strang- (*record scratch* my interest just shot up 1000%) er called Lao barges through her shop door. Lao’s a Tracer, an agent that investigates when Paeos – emotional energy – is lost from someone’s control. You see, the raging storm outside was caused by Twyla’s negative emotions, and Lao helps her assuage it.
Twyla discovers she’s a conduit – able to infuse her creations with the emotions of her customers.
The game itself is only 5 to 8 hours long, but it does a surprising amount of heavy lifting with a plot that gets introspective about the way society handles feelings. Having the premise of ‘feels = literal reals’ aka emotions being physical manifestations in our tangible world is a fantastic way to literally externalise the issues of – really any kind of mood disorder.
While it’s easy to get caught up in your head, it’s sometimes not so easy to see how your emotions literally colour how you see the world, as well as effect those close to you. This story is a great ‘teaching’ tool for both teens and young adults on healthy emotional regulation vs. unhealthy, plus how society as a whole treats these issues, especially that of isolation. Feelings that seem to shadow your soul; guilt, shame, grief, are all on display here.
Trust me, I didn’t except to be hit with concepts like stoicism or materialism in my sweet shojo aesthetically styled game.
I asked Nidula from the Hue creation team, to expand on why they chose to explore themes of emotional regulation:
“The themes of emotional regulation came somewhat naturally – initially we wanted to make a spin on the ‘shop’-type visual novel genre (e.g. Coffee Talk, VA-11 HALL-A) and came up with the initial idea of some kind of magic jeweller. The idea of a world where emotions have power (and its potential destructive consequences) was one I’d thought of earlier, although in quite a different context.
In terms of why we thought this story and world was worth bringing to life, we want to create narratives that are thought-provoking and meaningful and we thought this would be a good starting point towards that end. Of course, in the real world, we don’t have to regulate our emotions like they do in Every Hue of You. But we still face consequences if we struggle to manage our emotions – and there’s still much to gain on a personal level through understanding when and how we should let our emotions loose, or control them.”
Every Hue of You Review – Gameplay
Beyond the expected visual novel focus on story, there are also a couple of sweet little mini-games on offer here. You can choose different thought bubbles from Twyla, and these will change a piece of jewellery’s end design.
What thought bubble you pick changes how the jewellery will look.
After figuring out what emotion a customer wants infused with their sparkly sparkly jewellery, you’ll also be tasked with choosing the correct Paeos symbol to pear with a matching symbol using a diagram. All very relaxing, and a way to break up stretches of dialogue.
Every Hue of You Review – Presentation
In terms of style, Hue uses a soft shoujo manga aesthetic that is commonly appealing to women. I asked Julia, the game’s art director, about the stylization, as well as the colour scheme used:
“In terms of art style, we decided to go with the art style I was most familiar with which is the shoujo manga style you see in game. It felt the most appropriate for a visual novel, and with the timeline we had set out for ourselves it also felt the most achievable and comfortable for me.
I wanted the store to reflect the magical and moody atmosphere of the world and purple seemed like the perfect match. The purple colour scheme you see in the store makes it seem a bit otherworldly, which hints at Twyla’s abilities. There’s also purple in Twyla’s room and a bit in her character design for not only that fantasy feeling, but also to evoke some feelings of sadness, fear and stagnancy with the greyish purple I’ve chosen.”
If you want a visual novel that gets a little deeper than your usual light fluffy romcom, then Every Hue of You will be up your alley. Its psychological insights into empathy and emotional intelligence make it a great learning tool for teens and adults. I sat down for a cute visual novel (which is what I got, mind you) but did not expect it to have such a therapeutic quality to it, and gave me enough to chew on mentally that was well worth the price of admission.
So, why should you play Every Hue of You?
- Looking for a deeper visual novel that explores important emotional themes
- Moody and atmospheric art style adds to the game’s mood
- Impactful story conveyed in a gameplay time of 5 – 8 hours
But why shouldn’t you play Every Hue of You?
- Prefer very light and comfy stories? The themes here may be a bit heavy for you
- You’re not a fan of shoujo-style games or art
Want to find out more about Every Hue of you? Check out this podcast with the creators! And if you enjoyed our Every Hue of You review, explore our visual novel reviews and join the Qualbert Discord to chat with the author about more games like this.