«

»

Nihilumbra – A rare masterpiece!

nihilumbra

There are a ton of puzzle games that will come and go. Most you will play and forget, some you’ll remember. Then there are puzzle games likeNihilumbra that you will play and never forget. At least I won’t.

Nihilumbra by BeautiFun Games was released back in June of 2012 on iOS but for some reason I had never heard of it until a tweet was sent to Shoost by Jesús Fabre, PR and Community Manager over at BeautiFun Games, thanking us for retweeting something (I used to work for Shoost!). The power of social media! After playing the demo on their website, I knew I had to review this one. I had only played for a few minutes and I was already hungry for more.

Then there are puzzle games like Nihilumbra which you will play and never forget

In Nihilumbra, you take on the role of a tiny being called Born. Starting from its birth you set out on a journey to discover the ‘colors’ of the world. Born is born from The Void, which is filled with darkness and evil creatures. You have left The Void but it wants you back and your goal is to escape it through a multitude of beautifully designed levels. As your character successfully finishes a world, you are taken to the next to learn about a new ‘color.’

Now, let me tell you why I am putting the word color in single quotes. I feel this is important because it is why the game has reached to me so deeply. When your character is born, the narrator (who adds immensely to the game’s immersion) speaks to you. He asks you questions like “What are you?” and lets you know that “You shouldn’t be alive.” He continues by telling you that the world is a dangerous place with many hardships and that “You are nothing in this world,” but your character goes on and persists on finding meaning to its life, wanting a life of its own outside of The Void. When you get told that “You are not fast enough,” all you want to do is prove the narrator wrong and get past the puzzle. The ‘colors’ Born acquires — blue, green, brown, red, and yellow — are tools to help it through the puzzles. Just like in real life, if someone tells you that you are incapable of doing something, there will always will be a tool — a color in this case — for you to find and use to your advantage and succeed.

Whoa. Deep. Yup, it kind of is. Perhaps this is not what Beautifun Games meant to say withNihilumbra, but I felt like this was the message here. Grab the colors you need to have a successful life, be happy and find meaning. The game reached out to me in a profound and personal way and that is the first time that has ever happened.

It isn’t stated anywhere as a fact, but Nihilumbra might be coming from the latin pronoun Nihil (Nothing) and Umbra (Shadow) which reflects the game to a T as Born is a shadow that comes from nothing: The Void.

Now, onto the technical aspects of the game.

Nihilumbra is packed with great design and even if it is simplistic, I didn’t feel like it lacked anything. It had just the right amount of colors and had great composition. The levels are charming and feel authentic to its genre. As you go through the world of Nihilumbra, the soundtrack won’t go unnoticed; it beautifully adds a touch of perfection from stage to stage. The user interface is also very simple and just as elegant. Your mouse cursor and a tree at the upper right side of the screen display the colors that you have at your disposal.

Nihilumbra is packed with great designs and even if it is simplistic, I didn’t feel like it lacked anything.

After two and a half hours of playing Nihilumbra, I had beaten the game… or so I thought. When you successfully beat the game, a new mode is unlocked: The Void Mode. This is when things get complicated. This is when your normal puzzle platformer game gets upgraded to “flip-a-table” mode. Some of these puzzles are incredibly difficult and require you to stop and think about which color you should be using in order to beat the foes and get through the puzzles. I was scratching my head at several of them but I never — not even once — felt like it was frustrating. There are a ton of negative reviews on Steam that claim that this game is too difficult. Well, it wouldn’t be a puzzle game if it wasn’t difficult at all! At one point my whole family was with me trying to find a solution to the puzzle I was facing. So not only was it a great head-scratcher, it also brought the family together! Who would have known?

I keep wondering about the bad things. What are the negatives that could come out of this game? Aside from the fact that a lot of players found this game too difficult, I can’t think of anything else. So instead of scratching my head at this particular puzzle, I won’t fight it. The game still remains perfect to me.

For $9.99 on Steam, I feel like Nihilumbra is worth much more than this humble price. It is at the same time simple and difficult, has great music, is easy to navigate, and to top it off you can unlock many achievements and in-game extras.

I never would have thought that I would rate a game with a perfect score and this may be the first and last time. I have rarely been thankful for a game in my life, let alone a platform-puzzle game, but I am for this one. I will recommend it to everyone I meet. Maybe even the mailman. So what are you waiting for? Go try out the demo, you won’t regret it, I promise!

Nihilumbra
  • Gameplay
  • Sounds and Music
  • Eye Candy
  • Immersion

Summary

GOOD THINGS
Easy controls
Beautiful art and music
Keeps you wanting more

BAD THINGS
...None!

5

Flattr this!

Leave a Reply