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Penumbear Review

By , on February 28, 2013


Penumbear
Download on the AppStore
5 out of 5

PROS

  • Generous collision detection adds a sense of flow to running around the level; you never feel short-changed on a jump, making it feel like your own success or failure.
  • Basic concepts introduced at a steady pace; bonus objectives start out at as a generous challenge - a great mix for casual and hardcore alike. Beautifully atmospheric presentation; ethereal in almost every sense of the word.

CONS

  • Key fireflies act as checkpoints, but don't save 'bonus bear' progress; possible bug?
  • Double-tap to run/walk can occasionally mess up in mid-air; makes quick-jumping sections a bit of a gamble.

VERDICT

Penumbear takes the simple idea of 'walking on light' and runs wild with it, turning a solid platformer in to an absolute gem thanks to its beautiful atmosphere, brain-scratching puzzles, and dastardly challenges for those who need to go the extra mile.


  • Full Review
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Penumbear by Taco Graveyard and Bulkypix doesn't pull any punches. All too often the App Store finds itself burdened with titles that evoke the likeness of games we know and love, but so few go as far as to understand what made them great and come up with something entirely new in the process.

With nothing more than the ability to run back and forth, jump, and activate various switches in the world, you'll need to solve a complex series of stages that beg you to scratch a little deeper and find the challenge hidden within.

Simply making it to the exit is a challenge. Standing in your way are broken beams of light. Ordinarily they'd pose no obstacle, but Penumbear is a strange creature and can walk on the borderline between the light and dark. Of course this also means that light can be used as a barrier, however with a little help from a firefly Penumbear can switch these lights on and off, changing the very landscape and how he and other creatures interact with it.

Some enemies are attracted to the light, while others perish in it. Some blocks can only manifest in the shadows, while others love the light. Yet more obstacles remain invisible until you come close enough to almost touch them - it's a dangerous world and this doesn't even begin to cover the bosses you'll need to fight.

Simply surviving is a challenge all on its own, but for those who consider themselves true explorers, collecting all of the game's hidden objects will prove to be a real head-scratcher. Hidden passageways, leaps-of-faith and fine-tuned platforming all stand in your way of these alternative objectives; some are such a pain that the game gives you the ability to 'brag' and upload a video to show off your 'mad skills'.

Penumbear is a platformer with a soul. The controls are so smooth you start to wonder if the game is secretly reading your mind, and in the meantime you find yourself being drawn further and further in to the world of light and shadow thanks to its beautifully designed environments and haunting soundtrack.

This is platforming as it should be - a simple thing to pick up and play, but a real test of your skills when you start to explore its boundaries. An easy game to recommend for all gamers.

Screenshots

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