Developer Bart Bonte’s yellow is a minimalistic mobile game with roots in those annoying puzzlers that sprang up in the halcyon days of Flash sites like Newgrounds. The goal is deceptively simple: over the course of 50 individual levels, players need to find a way to colour the screen yellow.
Each level incorporates a different touch-based element, the difficulty steadily increases, and the goal remains consistent throughout. This is a barebones title, with no characters, no plot, and very little emotional reward other than the immense sense of satisfaction that comes from solving a particularly challenging level.
It’s important to note that most players will be able to clear yellow in under an hour, but there’s an argument to be made that the game isn’t designed for long stretches of gameplay. It’s great for short commutes, waiting in line at the grocery, trips to the bathroom, or really whenever you’re looking for a way to fill a few minutes of time.
Of course, for those players who remember what it was like to get stuck on an especially annoying Flash puzzle, yellow will be a welcome reminder that technology may have changed and games may have gotten better, but level designers have remained as ornery as ever. It’s not that yellow‘s levels are particularly difficult or even unfair in their design, it’s that they’re often so wildly different from one another that attempting to find a solution by using past experience simple leads players to accept that the only lesson to learn is to think outside the box. Suffice it to say, that’s not a very useful hint.
For those players who find themselves stumped, yellow does offer an in-game hint system. Players get three hints that can only be accessed after watching short ad clips. The game offers a single in-app purchase: the ability to unlock an ad-free experience for $2.49 CAD. Otherwise, the game can easily be played without paying a single nickel.
If there’s anything to be said about yellow, it’s that this is truly a fun game. It’s a reminder that times have changes, but the simple prospect of entertaining and challenging players remains one of the few ideals that game developers should continue to hold in high esteem.