When I first started up Nebulous on PlayStation 4 my first thought was been here done this before. If you’ve played any puzzle game in the past few years chances are you played something similar to Nebulous. You know those puzzle games where you are placed in a stage and have to get your character to a certain point and then are rewarded with 1-3 stars based on your performance. All of this was my immediate thought about Nebulous when I started it and for the most part it holds true but as I played Nebulous did surprise me with a few things.
Like I described above in Nebulous you play through various levels and have to navigate Commander Dash Johnson (yes that is seriously his name) from one point to another to finish each one. You do this by moving different objects in the stage around first kind of like a set up phase. The goal is to have Dash Johnson roll down, bounce off, etc the objects and land in the goal. Once you have everything set up and you think it is going to work you press play and hope that your commander makes it to his destination safely. If he doesn’t it is either because he dies or ends up stuck somewhere in the level and thus you go back to the planning stage once again. When you finish each level you are rewarded up to 3 stars based on how fast you completed it, how many times you retried, and how many stars you collected. There are 40 levels to play and they get more difficult as they go and in my opinion way too quickly.
If trial and error games aren’t your cup of tea than stay far away from Nebulous as that is pretty much what every level comes down to. To me it just got boring and annoying having to place the objects around and think I have them right only to somehow fail and have to retry over and over. What I will say about the levels though is that I give them credit for letting players finish them in various ways. There isn’t one single way to beat a level which is nice to see as different players can find different ways to reach their goal. I do think the cost of entry for this game is too high for what you get. Those type of players who are really good at these type of games could easily blow through all the levels quickly and really not have much of a reason to play them again. There are around a dozen trophies in the game for various things so there is that to work towards I suppose. Graphically the game is kind of bland and really nothing to special to look at. Pretty much all of the levels use the same background but at least it my experience it ran well which is good considering it uses the Unity engine which is known to have issues.
Music and sound effect wise Nebulous is pretty dull as well as it pretty much uses one theme throughout and none of the sound effects are that great. A high point though is the writing and dialogue for sure. Dash Johnson makes comments while you playing either about failing and hitting things or about other story aspects that are going on. It made me chuckle several times and was definitely a welcome surprise to see that in this game.
For this kind of puzzle game Nebulous is sufficient enough but just one I can’t recommend for the price point it’s at. It’s not a long game and if you’re like me you may grow bored of it long before you even finish the small amount of levels here. It’s got great writing and rewards experimentation but everything else about the game is just kind of bland. If you like puzzle games and catch it on sale one day I’d say give it a shot but for $15 I’d say to avoid it for now.
*Review copy of Nebulous provided by the publisher.