Nebulous - PlayStation 4 Review
• Platform: PS4 (reviewed), PC, PSVR patch & XB1 release announced
• Players – 1
• Achievements – Yes
• Retail Price - $14.99
High Level Premise – Physics-based puzzler
Graphics/Style – 2.5D graphics
Music/Soundtrack – Minimal outer-space inspired background music
Story – Help Commander Dash escape to his freedom through a series of puzzles & wormholes
Replay-ability – Very High, perfecting each level will take time and multiple attempts
Time Commitment – Minimal, Nebulous offers an active save system for continuing your progress
Value – Moderate, Nebulous offers a lot of value for the completionist
Favorite Element – Acing puzzles is extremely rewarding!
Sean says: As a puzzler heavy on physics based action, Nebulous is offering a type of one-of-a-kind experience that has been missing from the PS4 thus far. Similar to the smart-phone game craze from a half decade ago, its short and addictive levels offer simplistic design, yet challenging mechanics, keeping the player returning in hopes of achieving that prestigious 3-star rating. With the exception of some annoying spikes in difficulty at times, Nebulous is great time distraction that never takes itself too serious.
Trial and error is key to acing Nebulous. For the perfectionist, there will be frustrating times that drive you off the wall. The frustration comes in when the game leaves little room for error in later levels. Perfection among a number of factors, including speed, timing, and placement of objects is crucial among all levels, and only increases in intensity as you move along. To make matters worse, new objects & obstacles are introduced as you progress through the campaign, forcing the player to learn their role in a world that solely revolves around physics. It must be mentioned that earning a 3-star rating among a problematic level is quite gratifying, and gives the player the drive to want to keep going!
PlayStation VR Support has been announced as a free update which is expected to be patched into the PS4 version later this year. This is a nice addition, seeing as developer Namazu Studios built the game from the ground up with VR support in mind. After spending several hours with it on PS4, it is clear that the game will benefit greatly from VR support, and explains the once questionable 2.5D style visuals. VR will likely be the definitive experience for Nebulous, leaving the player with true 3-dimensional objects that can be manipulated completely hands-free. It will be quite exciting to revisit the game post-patch later this year – hopefully the word gets out that VR support is in the cards for the game to usher in a new wave of potential buyers.
Nebulous offers a good deal of value for the puzzle enthusiast, or even a little family time by the TV. Its tired-but-true physics perfecting gameplay from yesterday offers an experience not presently available on current gen consoles. While frustrating when striving for perfection, the game is a total blast for those just looking to simply solve the puzzles and move along. Should the completionist in you decide to give the game a second life, the game is sure to offer you in every sense of the term - one hell of a time. With the addition of VR support in the very near future, Nebulous is a solid package that should certainly be checked out.
Gareth says: An arrogant spaceman with a superiority complex suddenly finds himself warped away from his shipmates. In order to "save" Dash, we as players need to position the pieces in order to send him to the goal. A simple and quick puzzle game that can easily be picked up and played were you left off. This is my first and biggest gripe. This type of game is made for handheld and or cellphones. If this had been a vita game it would be much closer to a home run. My wife who doesn't even play games came in and asked what I was doing while I was playing through for a review. She said it looked like a LINE game (the most popular messaging app in Japan).
This doesn't make it a bad game however and a lot of the mechanics keep the game interesting. Like most puzzle games, as you progress, more and more unique pieces are introduced. From simple things like slopes to fans that blow our favorite hero..hero?
There is a rating system that will have the perfectionist coming back to figure out (or google) the fastest way to get to the goal. This is common in games like that and has come to be expected. What I liked most about the game is how much I disliked the little irritating spaceman. This for me somehow made the penalty of dying and starting over less frustrating. The little quips and jerky comments made me feel like he had it coming. It is hard to explain but when you spend a few minutes placing things in the exact position you think will work, only to be told NOPE, it can get frustrating. That little bit of humor makes you take the loss a little less hard.
There are probably multiple games like this out there to be played so you won't regret missing out. If a copy ever comes out for Vita I would give it more serious thought though.