1337 Game Design released Dark Nebula: Episode One for the iPhone, and this game comes from the industry veteran that was the lead designer of Battlefield. Of course, with such a title stuck to their forehead, it was interesting to see what this developer brought to the iPhone. That result was Dark Nebula, an original game that has everything for the makings of a good game, just not enough of it.
Design: He wasn’t kidding when he declared himself the lead designer for Battlefield. The design for Dark Nebula is impeccable, and the artwork is very well done. User interface was also very clear and concise, and the button design was very well-designed. The whole game looks good and feels good, and this designer really know what he’s doing. The UI would probably be the more standout feature in this game followed closely by the gameplay look.
Controls: I never thought this could happen. Precision controls to get through the tiniest crevices? The iPhone just wasn’t made for that. That’s why we see platformers fail left and right because of the lack of real controls. Dark Nebula takes that all away with the most precise accelerometer controls I have ever beheld, and the precision was definitely noticeable. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was winding through the narrow pathways and weaving through the line of fire, and the controls were the best I’ve seen a marble roller pull off.
Original: It’s half marble roller, half platformer, and half something else (yes, that 150%). It’s not really a marble roller as we’re not really collecting anything, and it’s not really a full platformer. So what is it? It seems like 1337 Game Design over there came up with something totally new for iPhone gamers, and I really can’t think of a real genre this game would fit in. It’s fresh, it’s original, and I like it.
Short: This is the biggest factor in this game that makes Dark Nebula just plop into the water. With only 45 minutes of gameplay, you’ll be yelling and screaming because you just paid $0.99 for that. When games like WordFu Plus+ are free, there must be some more content for the average gamer to play.
What’s more is that this is it. There won’t be any free content updates according to the developer, and more content will be available through DLC. It’s somewhat disappointing when a game is only 45 minutes, and you definitely don’t feel like playing this one through again. This is just way too short for an iPhone game, and 11 levels aren’t going to cut it.
Dark Nebula: Episode One has all the makings for a great game; it’s just way too short. 45 minutes is basically one or two sittings for an iPhone gamer, and 11 levels will go by like a breeze. Seriously, the game is way too short, and while it’s still $0.99, we’ve seen App Store wonders released for that measly price. In an economy like this, content like that just isn’t going to cut it.