Nihilumbra – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure platformer
Developer: Beautifun Games
Publisher: Beautifun Games
Platform: PC, Linux, Mac, iOS, PS Vita
Tested on: PS Vita

Nihilumbra – Review

Site Score
Good: Unique, great atmosphere, solid mechanics, interesting puzzles
Bad: short
User Score
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

With Nihilumbra, Spanish indie developer BeautiFun Games brings their critically acclaimed iOS game to the PS Vita after an equally successful Steam release. Rightfully so, since the great atmosphere and interesting mechanics really deserve the sufficient horsepower and physical controls of the Vita while maintaining portability for a great mobile gaming experience.



Nihilumbra starts off with the player being born from ‘the Void’, a mysterious black and purple place. At first nothing more than a small blob escaping the Void, but quickly taking on the shape of a scarecrow in the real world, the sense of being out of place is really strong. Over the course of the game the player will traverse multiple stages set in 5 different worlds running from the Void, which is looking to reacquire what it has lost, destroying said worlds in the process. Strange creatures originating from the Void are never far away in your quest for life and search for a place to belong. All this being told by an ominous narrator and on-screen text really adds to the whole sense of distance, existentialism, lack of belonging and finally, growing.



One thing that really sets this title apart are the atmospheric environments, the five worlds are equally different and hauntingly beautiful. The player’s travels start in a harsh and cold winter forest and take him through places like a dessert and volcano to the final world set in a destroyed city, each one with its unique feeling of loneliness and despair. Animations are somewhat limited and at times blocky, but it doesn’t detract from the overall experience at all.



Not only does the narrator manage to set the perfect mood and explain the story, he’s also always there to instruct the player when new mechanics are introduced in an unobtrusive manner. Not only is the voice acting of excellent quality, the timing is impeccable as well, going very well with the flow of the game. The beautiful instrumental soundtrack compliments the game very well and is varied perfectly across worlds and stages.


As with most side scrolling puzzle platformers, the controls are simple and intuitive, left and right movement is done with the left joystick, and jumping with the X button. The objective of traversing the world is hindered by pistons, monsters, pits, static guns and many more obstacles. These can be overcome with special powers that need to be picked up and are presented in the form of differently colored flowers. Once picked up, the player can select a certain color by touching the top right corner, or scrolling through them with the shoulder buttons. Removing colors can be done by selecting the color which is reminiscent of the Void.


These physics altering colors can be literally painted on most surfaces, making excellent use of the Vita’s touch screen. The first flower you’ll pick up will allow you to paint blue, which in tune with the cold forest environment allows objects to slide and lets the player move faster than usual walking speed. The second color is green which is fittingly picked up in a warm, blooming forest allowing you to bounce. Other powers include sticking to painted surfaces and burning objects and monsters, up to conducting electricity to power various devices.

This mechanic is used to move boxes over to buttons, which in turn operate platforms and pistons, and move or even kill monsters, allowing progress through the stage. An abundance of checkpoints is a great thing, since some solutions really require some experimentation or great precision and timing. The variety of monsters interact with the player and the environment in interesting ways, although their hitboxes are a bit weird at times. In most stages the player has all the time needed to think of a way through, but the last stage in each world involves being chased by the void, making quick reactions necessary. This makes switching between colors a hassle at times, since both scrolling with the shoulder buttons and using the touchscreen take too much time. This makes planning ahead necessary, usually taking a couple tries before being able to progress.

All this adds up to an experience that really sets Nihilumbra apart from most other puzzle games. Where the genre tends to boil down to increasingly more difficult stages of the same base mechanics, Nihilumbra’s great timing of introducing new powers, environments and enemies keep it challenging and rewarding.

Its legacy as an iOS game is shown in somewhat limited gameplay, the main game can be finished in a couple of hours. This is made up for with Void mode, which is unlocked upon completing all the levels, and features much harder puzzles.


Truly unique, Nihilumbra takes the player along for an amazing atmospheric ride, with interesting and diverse puzzles along the way, accompanied by beautiful scenery and amazing music. An interesting concept that works really well with the Vita’s touchscreen, gripping story and plenty of replayability with Void mode with added extras like unlockable artwork make for a very successful port of an already established great game.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Nihilumbra - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.