Casual Corner: Nihilumbra

We know how it is. You worked hard for your 10:1 KDR, but sometimes, you just want to take five, relax and enjoy a quick game on your phone. Unfortunately, finding good games is anything but quick – most mobile gems end up buried under a mountain of trash. But like we said, we know how it is, so every month we shine a spotlight on a great diversion to get you through the work week.

For the past few months we’ve been highlighting more story-centric games. Although lacking in actual gameplay, they can offer a good change of pace to what you usually find in the over-saturated mobile market. The month we’re going to do our best to combine the two. A little bit of gameplay here and a dash of storytelling there and you can have yourself a decent mobile game. That’s exactly what Nihilumbra is: a decent mobile game. It’s lacking on the storytelling side, but makes up for it with some nice puzzles to make you forget the voice trying to make you think you don’t exist.

If you haven’t figured it out from the title, Nihilumbra is all about validating your existence. The game opens with you as a tiny blog surrounded by what will later be called the void. You and it are one until you try to escape making that day the day you were born. From there you run through the world doing your standard platforming things as a tutorial and you make it to the real world, but the void isn’t giving up on reclaiming you.

While you’re escaping the world and solving puzzles, you also have a narrator trying to give you insight on existence. Do you or don’t you? After all that’s what nihilism is. The rejection of existence, religion and morals is the definition of the word. The only problem is that someone spouting out these things doesn’t do much in the way of making a good story. It’s lacking and at times you’ll just ignore it, but it’s not all bad.

Mechanically Nihilumbra can be really simple from the beginning. There are five levels in the game and during each of them you gain an ability that will help you progress along the way. You can make things slide, stick, bounce, make monsters burn and lastly send electricity to devices. When you feel that you need to combine these that can make for some interesting finger work which is a nice layer of difficulty added to the game. Considering the last few games haven’t had any mechanics at all, it’s a great feeling to be reminded that you’re playing a game with a bit of a story to it.

While Nihilumbra’s story may not be anything to write home about, it can be a good puzzle game for you to enjoy. After your initial run you unlock a mode that allows you to revisit the five levels, but with far more difficult puzzles. If you’ve been looking for an interesting platformer, give this one a try. Best part is it’s also available on devices other than mobile like PS Vita, Wii U and Steam. For mobile though you can get it here for Android and here for iOS.

Looking for even more casual gaming? We have you covered. Peruse the complete collection of Casual Corner here.