NOTE: Don't be fooled by the in-game time Steam is showing for me -- I played my first two times through on my DRM-free copy :)Disclaimer
: The game does require some hand-eye coordination and patience. If you have neither, you probably won't get very far ;)
Basic options include choice of seven languages and separate sliders for Music, Sound, and Voice, plus mono or stereo sound and mouse sensitivity. The game automatically adjusted itself to my widescreen, and graphic options include choice of screen resolution, Enhanced color effects, HD textures, VSync, or Automatic settings (which was my preference)
As with most games of this type, you don't just save at any time -- there are save points. Just touch the globe -- the small lights (aka checkpoints) that will "forgive your mistakes" -- to save your progress. These are nicely spaced, so don't worry!Un
like most of these games is that we have multiple profiles to choose from (three of them,) so we can switch profiles if more than one person wants to play the game at once.
If you hit Esc. during gameplay, you'll see a button that says "Resume Game" and three symbols: A compass, a swirl, and some gears. Clicking on the gears will take you to the game settings, the middle button (the swirl) will take you back to your last checkpoint (you can cancel if you didn't mean to hit that button!) and the compass will take you back to the maps page, and from there you can get back to the main menu by clicking on the arrow at the bottom right of the page.
Where to start? Well, I guess at the beginning would be best!
The game very clearly shows us how to play, without being annoying in any way. The instructions are seamlessly introduced by our narrator, who stays with us throughout our journey, giving us new information and telling us the story. What a wonderful voice they chose, and such an interesting way to progress the story!
The controls are basic to start with -- the arrow keys to move left and right, and the space bar to jump. OR, you can use the letter 'a' to move left, the letter 'd' to move right, and the 'w' button to jump. I recommend trying this setting, as later in the game it's nearly impossible to continue to use the arrow keys whilst managing your colors! As we progress, we discover colors which allow us to affect the world around us. The game teaches us to use these colors very clearly, so don't worry! Each color has a different effect, and I don't want to ruin any surprises, so I'll just mention the first two: The only color we have at the very beginning is purple, which is unusable until we discover other colors, for it allows us to erase any colors we place or find. Soon we will learn how to use blue, which creates an icy surface where it is placed. NOW we can use the purple, if we so desire. ;) Each world area we visit teaches a new color ability, and all told, we have five worlds and five colors: Blue, brown, green, yellow, and red (though not in that order.)
So how do we use our colors? It's really very easy. In the top right corner is an orb showing your current color. Click on it to open up your color palette (see the first picture in post #1 for a visual.) Choose whatever color you need for the current situation you're facing. To place the color, simply hold down your mouse button and swipe the cursor over the surface you want to coat.
You have a limited amount of color to use, and sometimes it's necessary to remove the color you've placed to complete the current puzzle. To do so you COULD click on the color palette, choose purple, and click-and-drag the areas where you want to remove it... OR, you can do it the easy way and simply right-click-and-drag. :D
During my second time through the main story I discovered that we can easily and quickly change our color by simply using the scroll wheel on the mouse! Whee~! Happy day!
The experience is really the driving force of the game. It's one thing to watch someone play it, and something else to actually sit back and do it for yourself. Take your time. Discover. Learn. Let yourself be immersed in this beautiful and deadly world. You could power through all the scenes and ignore all of that, but you'd really be missing out.
The primary focus of the game is discovery. Find your way through the worlds without being damaged or reclaimed by the Void. Nihilumbra
is very story-driven, and for the most part, we have plenty of time explore and figure out how to solve the puzzles. Towards the end of each world, the Void will advance, leaving us with only a certain amount of time to get through the final screens. The use of the scroll wheel to change colors makes a big difference in the difficulty level, but even if you're doing the point-and-click method (which I was the first time through!) it's still doable.
Five colors, five worlds... Before I knew it, I came to 'The End' and was watching the credits. *cry* I felt so wistful, wishing that it hadn't ended so soon, wishing that there was more... Two hours is all it took (the second time 'round,) yet I felt that it was still worth the asking price.
. . . except that it wasn't 'The End' at all! It turned out that this was only the beginning of my journey in Nihilumbra, and the true challenge still lay before me. Now the 'Void Mode' was unlocked, and the focus of the game changes. We've finished with the main story, but still have much to do! Every single save point from the main game is now a complex puzzle that needs to be solved, and all puzzles must be completed to have true closure for the story. There are no save points during these puzzles, and I can tell you for certain that you will die -- over and over again -- before you're able to figure things out. The story-driven, take-your-time adventure is over, and is now filled with one complex, mind-bending puzzle after another. Though I had a couple of "how the heck am I supposed to get past that?" moments, I was able to get through the main story without even thinking about about looking at a walkthrough. The Void gameplay, though? I couldn't figure out the very first screen! Mahaha~ I admit that I've had to look a couple of times, but I've been finding great joy in figuring things out on my own whenever I can.
Am I finished with the game? Not even close, but I'm enjoying every moment I spend playing. I can't even begin to tell you how beautifully-done this game is. The combination of story with narration are poignant and thought-provoking, leaving us with a lot to consider, and I found it equally moving my second time through (the main story -- still working on the Void section!) The music is beautiful, though I found it better to have the music and sound effects half the volume of the narration. For me, it was the perfect balance. I really loved everything about the game, and I can't recommend it highly enough! Two thumbs up!