Nihilumbra Review

By , on July 2, 2012

Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Novel use of touch controls to modify world physics.
  • Rough digital artwork manages to be ominous and beautiful at the same time.
  • Unlockable Void mode; transforms the game in to a serious puzzler.


  • Story can feel a bit overbearing at times.
  • Tilt controls not quite up to scratch.


Nihilumbra provides a straight platforming experience that focuses on the gameplay and story instead of the usual Arcade-like snack-sized gaming we've seen dominate the App Store.

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Much speculation has been made over just why 'Indie' games manage to remain compelling despite their often formulaic design, but it's their simplicity of concept and focus on execution that keep me coming back for more. Nihilumbra by BEAUTIFUN GAMES is the sort of title you'd foist on to your friends under the guise of wanting to share the emotional roller-coaster ride, but the real thrill doesn't begin until you've completed the game.

You play as Born, a creature spawned of the Void, complete with a sense of self-preservation. See, the Void, is meant to be whole, but Born's existence results in a split that must be corrected. Unfortunately Born starts to encounter the real world, picking up new abilities that allow him to manipulate the environment and traverse its many hazards.

There are two control schemes, tilt or touch, with tilt being the weakest of the two due to some quirks with the jumping gesture recognition. In either case you'll need to learn how to manipulate colors and their subsequent effect on the environment, including Born, by painting them directly on to the world. Whether it's changing the friction of a surface; making it rubbery; being able to walk on walls; or activate electrical circuitry, you'll need to make fast decisions to not only avoid enemies sent from the Void, but also a manifestation of the entity that threatens to destroy the world.

At first the game manages to hold your hand completely, writing equally encouraging and discouraging messages in the background. Soon this turns in to slight nudging and eventually you're left wondering who or what is communicating with Born. Once you've experienced the whole game you can jump right back in to an unlocked mode, tackling the same stages, albeit with completely revised (and extremely difficult) challenges to overcome.

In its own way, Nihilumbra feels like two games in one - the first is a challenging, but otherwise compelling platformer with a simple, but well told story to lap up; the second dispenses with the pleasantries and sets a true puzzling challenge for you to overcome.

Fans of Indie titles and platform puzzlers alike should definitely put aside some time to enjoy Nihilumbra.


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