April 6th, 2011 | By Zak
It’s hard to place Noumenon Games’ Nimbus into one game genre. Nimbus is one part puzzle game, one part physics game and has some racing game elements thrown in for good measure. Noumenon delivers an extremely fun and challenging game with this mixture of un-lockable features, good graphics and the pressure to best one’s own score.
The story is a little scant but revolves around the protagonist – an airship – questing through various puzzles to rescue his girlfriend, who has been kidnapped by a cycloptic monster. In order to rescue the girl, the player has to navigate an ever increasingly complex number of tasks to complete each level. The player’s airship can’t just fly though the level to reach the checkered finish line – you have to glide your way there. This is where the game becomes challenging. Bringing in the elements of a physics game, the player must use the environment to bounce, use accelerating points or be shot out of a cannon toward the objectives. Once in flight, the player must think fast to make minor or major course corrections as you glide to the goal, it does take some quick finger skill.
That being said, Nimbus is essentially a puzzle game and quite ingenious. Each level combines the physics needed to produce inertia for the airship with puzzles that range from moving colored orbs to unlock gates, shoot balls to targets and collect keys to open new areas. In addition to the puzzles, the player has to avoid spiked hazards and that ever-present pull of gravity.
The challenge increases as the player has to think three steps ahead and eke out every bit of gliding movement from the airship before it crashes to earth (or worse). Many of the puzzles require multiple steps and it can take a few times to get the pattern down. While occasionally frustrating, it seems to add to the feeling of accomplishment when the level is complete. The player is timed for each level and that score goes up against the global ranking similar to racing games. Revisiting the same level in pursuit of a higher ranking definitely lends the game to high replay value. Hidden objectives also lead to ship upgrades and shortcuts in the over world, so there’s a fair bit of variability to the game.
As far as graphics are concerned, I was immediately reminded of the old Sonic the Hedgehog cross-hatched textures. Each new area features a theme which is well paired with the sound effects and music. The ambiance created by the music and crisp graphics give the game an ethereal feel, especially with the colored contrails left by the airship as it moves through the level. Overall, Nimbus is a solid game and well worth a try. It delivers on satisfaction, interest and replay. The visual effects, challenging puzzles and quick pace will keep you coming back for more. You may find yourself even slightly addicted.