Chicory: A Colorful Tale doesn’t reinvent the easel, nor does it wave an enormous gold-plated brush around for all to admire. Instead, it adds what it holds dear to a small canvas, which is color—and a lot of it. And quite honestly, that’s really all that’s asked of it. It has nothing to prove, and the tools it does provide are as unique as they are inventive. Because of this, we’re more than happy to sing its praises and even go as far as consider its paint-loving lookalikes.
With all of that paint and pastel malarkey out of the way, we can now cast our eye on the games that flow from an almost identical vein. So, if you, like us, enjoy spending a few hours with a virtual canvas, a cabinet of artsy stationery, and a setting just big enough to let you pour out your wildest creations, then be sure to check out these five indie titles.
5. Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan
Like Chicory: A Colorful Tale, Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan has you shuffling through a colorless world in a bid to recapture the life and soul that once engrossed its happy-go-lucky townsfolk. Armed with a selection of tools and the heart of a close-knit community, you must venture forth and return the world to its former fantastical self, a place where rainbow-infused towns and escapades go hand in hand.
Similar to titles born from the same vision, Rainbow Billy doesn’t rely on tough-as-nails battles to usher its narrative into ignition. Instead, its family-friendly 2.5D world uses a simple combination of exploration and entry-level role-playing elements, which makes it less of a mountain, and more of a gentle giant with a number of inviting personality traits.
4. Ōkami HD
Contrary to its rather poor post-launch sales, Ōkami was received with nothing but critical acclaim, making it one of the most memorable games of its late-gen era. In fact, it was received so well, that it went on to warrant a HD remake a little ways down the line. Since then, the love for the game has only continued to escalate, bringing more outside players onboard to trial its artistic waters.
Ōkami HD follows Amaterasu, a Japanese watercolor-inspired goddess with the ability to wield the Celestial Brush, a powerful tool which can alter reality using a few brush strokes and an open canvas. With it, the hero looks to shape a new world that’s ripe and drizzled in color. Fused with a plethora of Japanese folklore, the cel-shaded kingdom springs to life as an art masterclass in motion. And boy, you’re definitely going to want to pay the tuition fees to attend.
3. Concrete Genie
When all’s said and done, we wouldn’t trade a magical paintbrush in for the world. And, with a derelict fishing town in need of a respray in tow, we honestly couldn’t think of a better way to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. That, of course, is Concrete Genie in a nutshell, and we’re all for it. Although without much of a narrative, the indie game harbors some of the most enchanting visuals we’ve ever seen in a modern video game.
Concrete Genie picks up with Ash, a teenage boy deprived of happy memories from the town of Denska. After being gifted a magic paint brush that allows for him to coat the charcoal tones with living, breathing portraits, the quiet doodler soon becomes the local saving grace, one of whom colors the world according to his own imagination. For every stroke of a brush idles a vigorous creature waiting to return Denska to its former glory. It’s your job, of course, to paint the whole town from scratch.
Have you ever wanted to explore a magical realm as a traveling painter? Well, now you can. Thanks to Eastshade, players can pack up their canvas and capture the world in all its glory, using nothing more than an eagle eye for originality and a paint brush to create inspirational works of art.
Eastshade transports you to a vibrant world that echoes picturesque landscapes and breathtakingly beautiful mountain vistas. As a painter, you are tasked with bulking out your portfolio by capturing whatever it is that grasps your eye. Between sessions, you’ll find comfort in the nearby villages and cities, where folk are always keen to swap histories and contribute towards your expedition.
1. The Unfinished Swan
The Unfinished Swan is a first-person experience that combines quaint puzzles with a series of story-driven arcs. All of this comes to life through splatters of paint, which you gradually thread together to form a bigger picture. Between creations, you’ll find yourself absorbed by the unusual environment that radiates wonder and intrigue. Painted together, the artsy hybrid springs to life as something truly fantastical.
From the makers of What Remains of Edith Finch comes the next chapter in the book of curious walking simulators. With that, you can expect an abundance of rich and engrossing tales and a mesmerizing palette of original vistas. Although without much of a challenge, its relatively short story will have you coming back for more, if only to mop up the mapped out achievements that it holds dear.