Sunday Demo: Nimbus
It’s that time again. Time to dig through Steams demo section and bring you my opinions. So far we’ve had pretty good luck, but will it continue with this Sunday Demo? Let’s find out.
The Nimbus demo doesn’t have much story, and I’m guessing it’s the same for the full game. The demo opens, Mario Bros style, with a big bad arriving and stealing your…purple ship companion thing… anyway, this gives you all the motivation you need to start rocking your little jet engines. Except you don’t have any, or any other way of propelling your ship through the levels except for what you find along the way.
Nimbus is an odd mix of racing the clock, puzzle solving, and high score coveting. You’ll try to beat the high scores of you, your friends, and worldwide leaderboards. There is a small amount of customization available in the demo, allowing you to pick a different look for your ship, or a different color contrail, but it’s pretty simple and shallow.
You’ll take your ship around an overworld much like Mario 3. Certain paths will be open or closed depending on whether you have completed a certain objective at a branching path world. The graphics of the overworld are charming, reminding me of old school platformers, and in particular Sonic The Hedgehog. This is pretty fitting, seeing as the sense of speed you can experience in Nimbus rivals anything in a Sonic game.
The unique spin for Nimbus comes from your lack of propulsion. Unable to thrust yourself, you must ride currents, bounce off of certain platforms, or fire yourself out of cannons. It’s a fun concept, though it can get frustrating when you can’t figure out exactly what you’re supposed to do to complete a section.
You do have a break, but you’ll only use it on the one level that tells you to. Otherwise you’ll fly as fast as you can, bouncing off of everything you can while trying to reach the end of the map. Sometimes there will be a golden coin to collect, and it’ll be hidden or out of the way, forcing you to decide whether you want to go for it or just finish the level.
I’m not exactly sure why all of the indie games I’ve played recently are obsessed with puzzles, but Nimbus follows suit. You’ll spend more time trying to figure out the sequence of events that will send your ship flying through the level, than actually playing the level. That’s not to say it isn’t fun, it is. It’s just that I’m a little sick of puzzle games in general.
Overall I thought that the Nimbus demo was pretty enjoyable, and if Steam has another sale and I can find Nimbus for under $4 I’ll pick it up. It seems more suited to be an iPhone, PSP or DS game than a full fledged computer game, so I can’t really recommend it at the normal price of $9.99.
Give the demo a try if you’re bored, but it’s nothing special enough to warrant a download just to experience. With cute graphics, fun ethereal music, and an interesting take on the platforming puzzler, Nimbus is fun but ultimately nothing special, and it’d be more compelling on a handheld platform.