Nimbus – Review
Nimbus is a bit hard to describe in all honesty as it’s one of those games that sits between a number of varying genres. It is actually described by the developers as a combination of a racing and a puzzle game, which is probably as close as you’ll get to finding the one true genre into which it fits. The premise of Nimbus is simple: you have your little spaceship and, by utilizing the level itself, you have to make your way to the finishing point. Along the way you’ll be guided by nothing but gravity and, quite possibly, something in the form of cannons, swirly vortexes or bouncy walls.
Life starts out like many puzzle games: gradually easing you in and subliminally teaching you new tricks, but life for your little spaceship soon gets a lot harder and it’s not that long before the cogs in your head are soon called into action. You find yourself just getting into a level and your speed increasing when, all of a sudden, the whole world is turned upside down: you thought you had to go left – you went right and now you’re currently spinning around in a washing machine style vortex, gaining more and more speed while, at the same time, staring precariously at the walls of spikes just below you that will only shatter your hopes and dreams.
Giant bouncing balls are another addition to the plethora of interactable objects found throughout the levels, while the trusty checkpoint also makes a much welcome addition. The checkpoints themselves will become one of the greatest allies you’ll have in Nimbus, and are the subject of the game’s varying difficulty levels. While on easy you’re gifted unlimited checkpoint retries, normal only grants you five and hard sees you all on your own, with none. It would have been nice to see the difficulty settings have more of an impact, perhaps by increasing the amount of obstacles scattered throughout the levels, but it’s not a major flaw by any means. That’s not to say the game is easy or anything; it’s definitely a challenge and full of “oh why didn’t I think of that” moments.
Length is always going to be an issue with any sort of puzzle game, however, Nimbus has seemingly, once again, hit the sweet spot. With over fifty levels to play through there’s enough to keep you going but not too much to start questioning “are we there yet?”. Along the way you’ll have the ability to find hidden exits, resulting in the unlocking of new levels, and with over sixty giant gold coins to collect there’s more than enough to keep you occupied well into the winter nights.
The elegant and soothing music chiming along in the background does little to hold back your frustration when you fail repeatedly, but when those moments of success occur you can’t help but get overwhelmed with a sense of relief, happiness and maybe even a virtual fist pumping to boot. The daft thing is, with all the punishment you’ll inflict on yourself, you’ll go back and do it all again. Nimbus has that little spark that so many big budget games simply lack: the spark of addictiveness. On more than one occasion I found myself completing a level, glancing at the leaderboards that pop up and instantly hitting the retry button, if for no other reason than to try and get my name further up the global rankings; throw in some competition with your friends and you’re just asking for trouble. Like an all you can eat buffet, Nimbus keeps you coming back for more and more; it’s very Trials HD in that sense, where repeated failure eventually makes way for that moment of crowning glory.
Playing for the purpose of beating levels as fast as possible is dampened slightly by the lack of time attack ghosts on offer but, according to a post on the game’s official Steam forums, it is a feature the developers, Noumenon Games – a new Indie studio based in Sweden, do have planned. Let’s not forget either that this is a game that costs a minuscule £5.99 and for that price it boasts a hefty set of features: Steam achievements are all in place and so too are leaderboards, but it’s the cloud support that I’m particularly fond of - being able to log into Steam away from home, boot up the game and continue where I left off that very morning was a very refreshing feeling. There was no messing with downloading gamer profiles, faffing around with memory cards or USB sticks – just login and away you go.
Aesthetically the game is very pretty; your screen is always awash with colour but never too much as to give the feeling that you’ve just replaced your retinas with a bag of skittles. Considering the type of game that Nimbus is, the designers have nailed its visual presentation down to a tee; it’s as if you’ve been whisked back in time to play platformers back in gaming’s yesteryear. That the world map is nothing more than a simple series of paths from a top down viewpoint particularly gets the nostalgic juices flowing but, amongst all the cries of nostalgia, Nimbus still retains its own identity – you never forget it’s that which you are playing and the game never tries to do anything that it isn’t, which is perhaps its biggest strength.Pros
- Refreshingly addictive.
- Beautiful level design.
- Good balance between puzzle, time and physics based gameplay.
- Extremely good fun.
- Delightful soundtrack.
- Will last for many hours.
- Lack of time attack ghosts.
- Difficulty level could offer more variety than just checkpoint lives.
There’s a lot to be said about a game that can leave you so angry that your spouse has to remove any sharp objects within an arm’s reach, but yet at the same time, amongst all that anger and frustration, leaves you with a delightful feeling of euphoria when you make it to the end of the level that has caused so much pain and anguish.
Nimbus can fill that five minute gap during your lunch hour but is just at home being your companion for the entire evening. While it does miss out on some core components, what it does have it does right, the end result being a charming puzzle game that will keep you occupied for hours on end.
Good old fashioned puzzle based gameplay at its very finest.
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