Android App Video Review: Oscura

by Andrew Koziara

Oscura is a stylistic platformer from the Chocolate Liberation Front, surprisingly brought to us by MTV Networks of all places. On top of that, it's actually quite good. It has some glaring flaws to be sure, but it's a solid game with some clever design and absolutely excellent aesthetics and music which make it stand out from most other mobile platformers – including the ones it's rather similar to. It may offer more style than substance, but it's still good fun and easy to recommend.

You are Oscura, the guardian of a special lighthouse. This lighthouse keeps all the dark forces in the world at bay, and one day, the light is shattered and scattered about the world. Now, it's up to you to restore the light bit by bit, and the horrific creatures of darkness will be there to stop you every step of the way. But no, really, they're honestly pretty terrifying, whether you're avoiding the winged beasts, the charging stag men, or any of the other lovecraft inspired cthuloid horrors.

As you collect light shards and special gears, you'll have to navigate the environment like any other platformer. You can even slow down time for short bursts to help yourself out. However, this game took a page from the popular indie title Limbo's book, shrouding everything in the foreground in complete darkness, silhouetting it against the bright backgrounds. This allows for a similar use of devilish traps that hide in the environment, but otherwise, the games are very different tonally and mechanically. Limbo was more about puzzle solving and atmosphere, while Oscura is more action focused, and with more color.

The default control scheme is pretty well done, using only gesture commands to play so that we may enjoy the visuals completely. However, as the current scheme can be a bit wonky, you might want to switch over to the virtual button controls, even if it does mean the buttons interfere with the aesthetics. The physics are also a bit inconsistent. Still, outside of these small gripes, it's a solid game that is more than worth the current asking price of one dollar, even if it is a bit short.

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