At first blush, Colourshift may appear to be just a slightly more colorful clone of Loops of Zen, which is itself merely a stylish update of Netwalk. Even at second blush this may still seem to be the case. It might not be until the third or fourth blush where Colourshift stands up and says in a proud and defiant voice, "HEY! I'm my own game, and even though we both came to the party wearing the same dress, I have my own style! That's right! And you know what, just because everyone laughs at your jokes doesn't mean they like you. Yeah! How about that, huh? You're just a mean and ugly person and nobody is your friend. They just act like it because you're popular!"
Where was I? Oh, yes, the basic mechanics are very similar between Colourshift and Loops of Zen, at least in the beginning. Essentially there is an invisible grid with all kinds of lines, some intersecting, some curving, some straight. You can rotate sections with a simple click of the mouse. The goal is to connect each of the end nodes to one of the available sources.
Colourshift begins to separate itself, though, through the implementation of colors. At first, all you have to do is worry about lining up primary-colored nodes with their associated sources. Simple. Things get in full swing, though, when you have to use that same source to blend colors, in order to light up secondary-colored nodes as well. This is where Colourshift goes from being a sad little wallflower looking wistfully at the cute action game by the punch bowl to the surprisingly awesome life of the party, who speaks its mind, is cool even if it prefers jazz to popular music, and all the other games suddenly want to dance with.
Analysis: Now listen up. I know you kids today. You like your bright, pretty little "graphics," and your fancy shmancy engineered "theme music." Well, forget it! You get none of that here. No, Colourshift is about as bare-bones as it gets and I know that's going to put some of you off.
But the rest of you get a beautifully conceived and constructed puzzler that uses color to add dimension and depth to a simple mechanic. In truth, the addition of color segregation and mixing reminds me an awful lot of Auditorium. Colourshift may not look or sound graceful, but the puzzles most definitely are, and one could argue that the lack of cosmetic enhancements serves to put focus on the strength of the gameplay. Adding to this is a gentle learning curve and customizable options that allow you to adjust levels to suit your needs. Don't want to bother with multiple colors? So be it. Want a huge puzzle with everything thrown in? Just click the appropriate boxes and you're already there.
Finally, there are unlockable achievements, so all you completionists out there can leap for joy. We have an achievements page. We must complete it.
Overall, Colourshift is not the prettiest game, but it may still take you by surprise.