One of my favorite category of games is the traditional platformer. It reminds me of running home after school to start up my Nintendo for hours of Super Mario Bros. game sessions. Things have gotten more complex over the years, but a simple, effective platform game can still keep me posted in my chair for hours.
Oscura Second Shadow is one of those traditional platformers that make gaming on mobile devices a treat. By combining old-school mechanics with modern touch screen controls, this game is a solid investment. We’ve got a hands-on game review of Oscura for your reading pleasure…
The overall theme of the game is dark. The action and foreground is shadowed while the background offers glimpses into the world around you. Similar to other atmospheric platform games like Limbo or Badlands, the character and surrounding objects are shadowed while the backlighting shows of some colorful landscapes.
Players control the “unlikely hero” Oscura as he travels through dangerous worlds in search of the lost shards of the Aurora Stone. Oscura is the lighthouse keeper and carries with him an eternal glow that helps light the way. He has no weapon and his only power is his ability to slow time for short periods after collecting a certain number of shards.
When you activate the time slowing power, the world turns black and white. Everything slows down except Oscura. He is then able to move away from a dangerous situation without having to worry about bad guys catching up to him.
Players control Oscura, the lighthouse keeper, as he travels the land in search of the shards of the Aurora Stone. On each level, there are 10 shards to be found. There are also four cogs that players can collect for extra points. Shards are fairly easy to spot, while cogs are often hidden in high places, or even buried beneath the surface. To find all of the cogs, players must explore every area and sometimes enter mysterious rooms.
Control Oscura using the left and right buttons on the left side of the screen and the jump button on the right side of the screen. When the time slower power is ready, it will appear just below the jump button to let you know it is ready.
Oscura doesn’t have any weapons, but he is fairly deft at jumping. Tap the jump button while in mid-air to get higher. Use the double jump to help get across wide gaps or out of tight situations.
On each level, players must jump over spikey pits, grab Aurora shards, and avoid enemies. The shadowed bad guys appear suddenly and will lurk around Oscura until he passes safely by. With a full meter, you can slow down time to run or jump past enemies.
When you get to the end of the level, your score will be tallied based on how many shards you have collected, how many cogs you have found, and how long it took you to get to the end. You’ll earn additional points for getting through a level without dying. Players can earn up to four stars for getting all shards and cogs, finishing within a certain amount of time, and escaping the dangerous course without losing a life.
There are no special puzzles or challenges. The most you can do is knock over a boulder to create a bridge, or push a crate to stop a spiked platform from squishing Oscura. This game is built for simple platform mechanics, which means running, jumping, and dodging enemies.
I enjoy the simplicity of this game. It is a bare bones title with no puzzle challenges. Players must rely on skill and timing to get through the game. The controls work flawlessly. Game controls tend to be the most annoying part of a platform title if they don’t work well. I never found myself frustrated with lagging jumps or mistimed movement.
Although I appreciate that this game is stripped of all the extra game fluff, like puzzles, I know that the lack of variety in the content can seem too repetitive to some.
Oscura Second Shadow costs $2.99. This is a good price considering it does not have big variety in the content. It has plenty of timing-based action and a bit of find-the-hiding-place mechanics, but is fairly straightforward. The replay value is extremely high since you earn stars for achieving certain goals, like finding the cogs or not dying.
You’re not going to be blown away by this game. It has plenty to offer, but isn’t a knock down title. If you like basic platform games, you will not be disappointed. However, keep in mind that you won’t be performing any puzzle based activities. It’s just a good old-fashioned run, jump, and dodge kind of game. Download it in the App Store today.
What do you think of Oscura? Let us know in the comments below.