Chicory is a bunny with a paintbrush whose job is to keep her little kingdom fully coloured. Sadly, she's gone missing, and some kind of nasty force is turning everything to black and white. Luckily here comes a lovely little dog who picks up the paintbrush and sets off to fix everything.
I think this is quite accurate: a dog would do this sort of thing. I saw a Tweet the other day about a dog in Florida - of course it was Florida - who was driving a car, doing a few doughnuts and taking out a neighbor's mailbox before the cops managed to intervene. The dog emerged tail wagging and full of sunniness. Even if I'd owned the mailbox I would struggle to be too angry with it.
Chicory the game is the story of the dog's quest. It's a blend of Zelda and Animal Crossing, with, I think, a little of Mother thrown in. You explore a lovely kingdom, meeting people and doing favours for them. Everything is black and white at the start, thick lines like a starter colouring book. Somebody wants their house painted. Someone else wants you to track down their kids who have run off to play.
Interaction is handled by that magical paintbrush, which you swoosh around with one thumbstick while you move the dog with the other. Painting feels lovely, and the game offers plenty of control when it comes to staying within the lines. You can change colour and change brush type pretty easily, and you can erase with the click of a trigger.
Painting doesn't just fill the world with colour, it also prods at it in interesting ways. Those kids I was sent to track down were all hiding in trees, and so I painted any trees that shook to bounce the kids out of them. Later on, tracking down a character who would open up the main quest, I had to paint trees to life in order to open up new pathways, and erase them when the path doubled back on itself. Mushrooms can be painted out of the ground to act as bounce pads, and at the end of the current demo, after a short but very inventive paint-based boss fight, I earned the power to lay down paint that glowed in the dark - useful for navigating a shadowy cave, I suspect.
The fun that can be had with the paint in Chicory is not in doubt, then, but more than any of that, its world is a delight, filled with interesting, sometimes prickly characters to chat with and riddled with treasure chests that allow you to swap out your standard clothes for something a little more interesting. Thanks to the Game Awards, the demo is available on Steam for the next day or so. Try it out! It's a delight.