Play as a dog with a magic paintbrush in the newly-Kickstarted game Chicory: A Colorful Tale, from the creators of Wandersong and Celeste.
Formerly known as Drawdog, Chicory: A Colorful Tale has been officially unveiled by Wandersong creator Greg Lobanov. It’s a wholesome story about a custodian dog who unexpectedly ends up wielding a magic paintbrush, and the upcoming video game comes from Lobanov, sound designer Em Halberstadt (Night in the Woods, Untitled Goose Game), and composer Lena Raine (Celeste, Guild Wars 2). Still in the midst of development, the game is now the subject of a Kickstarter campaign.
As the protagonist dog, who players can name and gender (I was named “Pizza” after the opening prompted me to disclose my favorite food), players will explore the world of the Picnic Province as they discover just what led to the world suddenly losing its color. With paintbrush wielder Chicory yet to be found, the player will use the paintbrush to color in the world and solve puzzles to navigate various environments. I got to experience many of these gameplay mechanics in a short demo.
I’m an unabashed fan of Wandersong, so I was delighted to see that Chicory has the same level of charm and technical quality that Wandersong had while still being very distinct. It felt as if I were moving around a coloring book, and sound effects and music alike helped to enhance the experience. From the slushing sound of the paint to the woodwind instrumentation of the musical score, Chicory felt fully artistically realized. And thematically, Chicory appeared to overlap with Wandersong in also depicting an underdog (pun intended) unlikely hero.
There was no shortage of wit and humor in the writing, something that was certainly present in Lobanov’s previous game. Town inhabitants all had unique personalities in their short scenes of dialogue, with expressive animations and character designs to boot. While I did have an objective during the demo to find Blackberry, Chicory’s predecessor, this was certainly a game where I really wanted to stop and smell the roses, exploring every inch of the town that the demo allowed for me.
Players will find gift boxes and other hidden items and collectibles (a number of lost kittens, for example, hidden in bushes), including clothes that the player can change into. These will likely be found in areas that require light puzzle elements to reach—for example, some plants and trees only grow when colored, or inversely wither in color and must be erased to grow back. With trees to walk on or bounce off of, you can imagine how Chicory will likely expand on these puzzle elements later in the game.
There were plenty of game elements that weren’t present in the demo—different paint abilities, for one. For example, the player will be able to navigate some cave areas with glow-in-the-dark paint. Think of the paintbrush as Samus’s suit in Metroid, stacking up abilities as you progress. And while I’m not familiar with them, I bet that some will draw comparisons with Okami and De Blob as well. In terms of constructive criticism, I’d say that some environments, particularly elevated ground, had an odd perspective that made it difficult to determine just where to walk and stand. I’d also hope for the paint to look a bit messier and real and uneven like real paint, instead of pixelated Microsoft Paint.
The team behind Chicory: A Colorful Tale has much more to offer as described in their Kickstarter campaign page. There is no set release date or additional platforms announced other than PC and Mac, though I bet that those will be dependent on the success of the campaign. If you missed me glowing to Lobanov himself about Wandersong, check out that post-mortem profile right here. Be sure to check out the trailer and a gallery of screenshots below, and anyone attending PAX West can check out the game at the Indie Megabooth.