Finley’s – The Colour of Radiation
Finley’s – The Colour of Radiation is a laser-beams reflection / refraction puzzle game about destroying alien matter spheres by placing / moving various objects in specific positions so that they act as mirrors, splitters, or color-changing prisms.
Finley is a GLaDOS-like artificial intelligence that welcomes you to the game as its newest test subject (unsurprisingly). You’re tasked with testing a set of 50 levels of increasing difficulty that are unlocked sequentially one after another. While the mechanics are easy to pick up and the physics are well done, the actual gameplay is much more challenging than it appears at first sight.
The levels are timed and there is also a restriction in regards to the moves you are allowed to make. If you ponder for too long on what to do, it’s possible that you will fail the level because you were not fast enough in solving it. If, on the other hand, you try to move the objects too much, or let the laser touch the edges, the level will overheat and as a consequence, it will fail. Therefore, the only way to approach this is through an incremental logical process: try a few moves, see where this gets you, fail the level, rinse and repeat until you find the optimal combination of moves, and manage to do them fast enough to get a non-fail rating. The objects can be dynamically moved over the course of a level, meaning that you will usually place a certain configuration of objects, let the laser bean run through all of them to destroy everything that it encounters on its path, then move the objects to another position to let the laser beam work again – and so on. Your final rating for each level will be based on the overall score you reached, on how many moves you made and on your speed.
Personally, I prefer solving a logical problem under no time constraints and without other similar stress factors, so that I can take all the time I need to think about it and to try all sorts of configurations. This is not something you can do in Finley’s – The Colour of Radiation though. However, the game has a great potential to appeal to those that seek some adrenaline rush, due to how fast-paced it is and how it pushes the player into thinking faster and faster, clicking faster and faster. The overall style and design perfectly fits that, with some very pleasing explosions when the laser beam destroys an object, or animated scoring panels that pop-up in your face at the end of each level.
If I were to complain about something, that would be mainly the fact that the values that one needs to reach in order to get a certain grade on each aspect of a level are not visible. You don’t know how many moves will give you an “A” / “B” / “C” rating, you don’t really know what your targets are in regards to the scoring. Aside from that, there is no way to instantly restart a level; you will have to go through the whole end-level sequence and scoring (which takes several seconds) in order to be able to retry it, and for a game that is heavily based on trial and error this gets tedious quite fast. A tutorial would’ve helped the start of the game – there’s an game guide but I didn’t find it to be detailed enough.
Obtaining 100% achievements is also far from trivial. You will not only need to solve all the levels with an “A-” (or above) rating, but also not fail any of them and perform the whole set in a speed-run mode (unlocked from the options menu) – fortunately, not all of these at the same time. Depending on your skill, achieving 100% completion could take between a couple of hours and a dozen.
Finley’s – The Colour of Radiation is a game that can keep you engaged if you like fast-paced action and solving puzzles under time constraints. It’s challenging, but it does feel rewarding when you succeed.