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By Will On 18 Feb, 2014 At 07:53 PM | Categorized As Featured, Mobile Gaming, PC Games, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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One of the best ways to know how well a story is written is when it drags you in and become emotionally attached to a character or plot within it. Nihilumbra has that story and character as the tutorial just had me in tears as I had flashbacks in all the most negative ways. The more and more I played the more and more I was dragged into the depths of depression as I tried all that I could to to enjoy the game. I completed as much as I could after the tutorial but I couldn’t go any further. I closed the game and tried to calm my nerves. Coffee, cigarettes, talking to family, all of this couldn’t get me out of this funk I’m in, so I’m carrying on as I write this review.

The Good:

The story, the story, the story. What else can be said about a silent protagonist that escapes “The Void” only to be tracked down by monsters that want to make the hero a part of “The Void” yet again? Nothing, but what really makes the story come to life is the narrator.  The disembodied voice, helps out when needed but in between moments of usefulness, he decides to rip into you verbally. It adds a new wrinkle in the game, as you have assistance, yet you have this sense of someone giving you the middle finger while your the only one there.

The artwork done on the game is by far the best I’ve ever seen. With the unique monsters and the lead character itself (Him, Her?! The hell if I know.) looking like nothing I’ve never seen before.

The game gives you colors as your power ups. Blue makes the ground covered in ice, as green allows you to bounce higher after leaping off a high perch. These powers are so balanced that there’s not one that’s overpowered, and you will catch yourself using all the powers through the game.  You use the mouse scroll wheel to quickly switch between the acquired powers and you move with WASD keys so for those FPS players that want a game that they don’t have to relearn the controles, this is for you!

The Bad and The Ugly:

This game is the first form of entertainment that actually made me cry, due to the story hitting too close to home. I might be reaching far, but the best part of the game might also be a downfall about it. I might not have been in the right mindset to take on such a emotional role, but it had to be done.

The minor thing that was such  was that when the voice over started and you went on to the next screen, you would have to kill yourself somehow to go back and listen to it all over again.

Overall it was a awesome game, but I wouldn’t recommend it to gamers who had a tough, personal issue in the past.

Nihilumbra is now available on PC, Linux, and Mac, buy directly from official website to get both a Desura and Steam key for the game. You can also play on the go by downloading it on any of your iOS devices. This review is based off the gaming experience on PC so gameplay might be different on your mobile devices.

No GravatarIn a world full of mobile apps and games it’s hard for a platformer to rise above the rest, but what Lisa Rye and Stirfire Studios have created here manages to do just that. The game they have created, Freedom Fall, is more than just a platformer, it’s a game with a real rich sense of humour and a massive heart.

The game started as a personal project of Lisa’s but was picked up by Stirfire Studios as a commercial release upon her move to the company. Freedom Fall was developed in Perth, Australia, and will debut at this year’s PAX Expo Australia in June. It’s currently in Beta on Desura here and can be upvoted on Steam Greenlight here.

The 'hero' of the game Marsh!

In “Freedom Fall” you play as Marsh, the ‘hero’ of the tale. He find himself imprisoned in a tower where the only way to go is down (and sometimes across!) in order to escape. The premise is fairly simple yet very well executed; move downwards avoiding traps, spikes and even a mechanical shark, but this isn’t what sets the game apart from other platformers, it’s the character and heart of the game the creators have imbued in Freedom Fall.

This character comes mainly in the form of the Princess Emph, the daughter of the king and designer of the many dangers in Freedom Fall. After being locked up herself and finding the tower boring she escapes and decided to redecorate and make it her own. Her character really brings the charm and entertainment to the game in a creepy little girl meets Glados (from Portal) kind of way! She tells her story and interacts with the player through messages written on the walls of the tower, developing the story as you progress through the various stages. What results from this clever storytelling is an experience rarely seen in mobile games – it provides a great deal of humour and emotional investment in such a deceptively simple package.

FreedomFall-BadGirl

In terms of gameplay Freedom Fall excels once again. With simple controls and levels varying in direction and challenge and a few pace changes like the mechanical shark it manages to keep the player invested in the game without completely overpowering Emph’s narrative. It also manages to keep this investment without sacrificing any gameplay mechanics. Apart from navigating traps and dangers the player may gather bolts to build several items to help the player traverse the traps such as a parachute and wings to give an extra boost when jumping. These bolts can be found throughout levels and in greater quantities in small side rooms, often giving hints and tips for the next challenge via wall messages. The game also supports two different endings and branching difficulty decisions. As the player moves downward they will reach many crossroads, offering ‘easy’ and ‘hard’ obstacles. The easy choice will of course be less difficult but also will offer less bolts and no side rooms, whereas those who brave the harder traps may find themselves better appeared for the many obstacles ahead. This relatively simple choice gives the player a sense of control and again does something not seen a lot in a mobile package.

The visual style of the game is quite pleasant, with most of it being hand drawn. The simplistic design and implementation works well on any screen from a laptop or desktop to a much smaller mobile touch screen. The soundtrack for the game works well with the fast paced style of game. Freedom fall runs quite well on both platforms with no problems or bugs encountered in my playthrough.

In summation Freedom Fall is quite a fun and entertaining game, perfect for on the go platforming with added heart, or sitting down to enjoy on a bigger computer screen. Regardless of how you play the game, what Lisa and Stirfire Studios have created is quite clever and unique, totally deserving of any gamers time.

You can check out this game at PAX Australia in June, and it will be available to download and play from the 19th of July!