There are already a few hard-as-nails platformers on the Google Play Store. Enough so any new entrant into the genre is going to have to do something pretty special in order to make itself stand out.
Oscura does two things. First, it's absolutely stunning. And second, it takes a stab at a new control scheme, disposing of buttons in favour of a clever multi-touch approach to flinging yourself around the screen. It nearly manages to pull it off as well.
Light the way
The game casts you as a shadowy imp creature, tasked with retrieving the parts of a shattered lighthouse that's been keeping evil creatures at bay for all eternity. To that end you'll work your way through 12 levels of increasingly difficult platforming.
You press on the left of the screen to move left and the right to move right, and tapping on the opposite side of the screen to the way you're heading will send you leaping into the air. Quick-tapping lets you double-jump, and tapping with two fingers at the same time lets you jump straight up.
Shards of the broken lighthouse crystal are spread around the levels, as well as cogs from the machine itself, and you'll need to collect them all if you want to complete the game properly.
When you have enough crystals in your possession, you can swipe a finger across the screen and slow down time. You'll need the ability to get past some of the tougher areas in the game, where swinging pendulums threaten to smash you into spike pits.
The stark graphical style - all thick blacks and harsh bursts of colour, owes more than a little to the likes of Limbo - but the animations of your imp and all of the other creatures that you'll come across are sublime. This is a cruel world, filled with lumbering terrors and bone-clawed crows.
The only problem is that the control scheme lets you down a little too often, leaving you jumping into a chasm when you wanted to gracefully hop across. Kind checkpoints mean it's not too much of a problem, and while you can change to a more traditional floating joystick, it's not that much better.
Once you get the hang of things it happens less and less, but it's still a frustration, and one that means Oscura isn't quite as enjoyable as it should be.Android version reviewed.