In Beautisoft's hauntingly lovely puzzle platforming adventure for iOS Nihilumbra, you take control of Born, a small creature of no real significance. Or at least, that's how the Void you spring from expects you to behave. But somehow, Born senses something beyond the nothingness from which it was created and dares to escape into a world in which it doesn't belong. The world in which Born finds itself seems cold and indifferent, and the Void isn't willing to let Born go without a fight. Do you have the courage, cunning, and reflexes to help Born finds its place in a world in which it doesn't seem to belong? More importantly... do you have the colour?
Nihilumbra offers two control schemes, but you'll probably find the on-screen controls to be most responsive. Simply hold the left or right arrows to move, and tap the up arrow to jump. As Born explores and moves through different environments, you'll unlock new colours you can use to paint the landscape with that will effect it, and you, in various ways. Blue, for example, can be used to make an icy path for momentum or to help slide heavy objects, while green can turn the earth lush and springy beneath your feet. Just tap on the icon in the upper-right corner, choose your colour, and paint along surfaces with it.
Nihilumbra is one of those games that will really need to resonate with you to get the full impact out of it. There's a heavy emphasis on narrative in it, on evoking emotion through simple sentences and even the gameplay itself, and when you combine that with the striking artistic style and formidable atmosphere you have a game that can suck you in with ease. The controls, unfortunately, don't always feel as fluid and responsive as you want them to be, especially in chase or other finicky action platforming sequences, and as a result, it makes the game difficult at times in a way that will probably lose it a few players. If you have both patience and reflexes in ample measure, however, Nihilumbra's clever concepts and storytelling can make it stand head and shoulders above the rest with a substantial amount of gameplay to boot. Equal parts challenging and beautiful, if a little pretentious at times, it's one of the heftiest and most engrossing platformers you can find. After all, don't we all want to find a place where we belong?
Thanks to Aurum for sending this one in!
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad (1st Gen.). Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.