Game Reviews

Dark Nebula - Episode Two

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Dark Nebula - Episode Two

There are good games, bad games, and games that have the capacity to dominate your life.

Dark Nebula - Episode Two, for better or worse, is the sort of engrossing game that could easily make you lose your job, alienate yourself from your friends, and scupper your relationships.

That's a roundabout way of saying this sequel is infinitely more entertaining than the original.

While it rightfully can be labelled as a typical ball-rolling platformer, Dark Nebula - Episode Two achieves that ever-elusive balance between fairness and challenge. It doesn't want to trick you, it doesn't want to fox you – it just wants you to have fun.

Fair game

The idea is to use the accelerometer to guide a puck through a series of stages riddled with pitfalls, laser beams, and hazards. Thankfully, there's no race against a clock - instead, it's all about skillfully making your way past the myriad obstacles that stand in your way.

Most levels combine mini-brainteasers with a bit of action. Taking down enemy spheres fitted with spikes, for instance, requires your own form of weaponry: a force field of sorts that's equipped only if and when you can find it.

As such, Dark Nebula - Episode Two forces your brain to work in two different ways: one half treating the game as a maze with hidden treasures to be found (collecting 100 capsules – some on your path, some off the beaten track – adds an extra life), while the other half is a platformer, where jumping between moving platforms and springs forms the backbone of play.

An eye for design

It's a thoroughly polished experience. Each level has clearly been tested and retested to ensure that every possible rough edge has been smoothed.

Furthermore, the difficulty gradually increases, upping the ante by adding a hurdle or two as you progress, instead of spiking unfairly. Yet the game preserves a sense of excitement. There's no drop off or lull in proceedings – you're strapped in from the first second to the last.

Benefiting from sublime handling and some gloriously retro level design, Dark Nebula - Episode Two is the perfect lovechild of an esteemed puzzler and an inventive platformer.

Dark Nebula - Episode Two

The best of old and new wrapped up in one package, the puzzle-platformer gameplay of Dark Nebula - Episode Two is too entertaining to put down
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.