Nihilumbra (PS Vita) Review

By Eric Ace 04.02.2015

Review for Nihilumbra on PS Vita

Nihilumbra is a port of the same game that was originally released on iOS by Spanish developer BeautiFun Games. It is a game that takes advantage of PS Vita's touch screen to very good effect. The general premise is that of a puzzle/platformer that the character 'paints' on the screen to create different effects to move on, powering up and getting more colours to paint with.

Nihilumbra represents another example in the recent trend of games that emphasise style over graphics. These games tend to be very hit and miss, as it is easy to fall into the pretension that the 'masses cannot understand how brilliant this game is;' luckily in this case the game does not fall into that, and brings a fairly unique aspect to the genre. It all takes place as the character Born is created from the void; it is a mission of discovery as the player advances forward, with each screen narrated with a line or two of text.

The advancement of the game takes the role of a generally colourless world, as Born moves forward, learning about the world, and the void that is trying to catch him. He slowly gets colours that the player can 'paint' onto the screen by touching the screen and moving their finger. Each colour has different uses, such as the blue/ice colour, which allows one to move faster on the ice, push bigger blocks, or to cause enemies to slip into pits.

Screenshot for Nihilumbra on PS Vita

Nihilumbra is pretty interesting, as the void destroys each world in its attempt to catch Born. The plot notes that 'all you want to do is live, yet you condemn all these worlds to death;' it's an interesting and thoughtful plot at times. The main game is five levels long, and for a large portion of the beginning the plot was intriguing enough to drive the action forward and wait to see what happens.

However, as much as the pacing is the game's positive, it actually becomes its major detraction later. At about late world 3 and especially world 4, the plot stops moving, as the player can be asked 'is this life?' only so many times before it loses its weight. The plot had a lot of potential about the void, or more about the main character, but little is answered and not much is done when the ending is achieved. Furthermore, the game becomes less about 'discovering' the world, and more about blindly experimenting because the puzzles ramp up in difficulty very rapidly. Nihilumbra falls into the bad zone of 'try a million options and see which one works,' instead of being smart about it, which the first half did well.

Screenshot for Nihilumbra on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Nihilumbra is an interesting game. It has an intriguing plot, novel control/puzzle system, and no game-killing flaws, but the major problem is, as fun and driving as it was at first, the game just kind of dies about midway. The plot stops moving, the character stops growing, and discovery starts to grind to a halt as the puzzles become less thoughtful and simply more 'try every possible option.' The game is not 'bad' at all, it actually is pretty fun, but about midway it becomes very clear the potential the game had is squandered, and what was once fun slowly becomes a grind for the end.

Developer

BeautiFun Games

Publisher

BeautiFun Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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