Oscura Review
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Oscura Review

Our Review by Jason Wadsworth on November 2nd, 2011
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: DELICIOUSLY DARK
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A dark platforming adventure that most players may find too short.

Developer: MTV Networks

Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Oscura is a platforming game that takes players through a dark, foreboding environment in search of crystal shards that will bring light back to the lighthouse that keeps the dark creatures away. The game is split up into several levels through which players guide a spindly, shadowy figure through hazardous levels filled with obscure beasts and dangerous obstacles.

The platforming experience in Oscura is a interesting affair thanks to its fairly unique approach to touch controls on iOS devices. Many iOS platformers rely on virtual buttons while others rely on simplified gameplay with simple touch controls. Oscura splits the difference with an addaptive type of touch controls that is reasonably well suited to the gameplay. Touch and hold the right side of the screen and they character will advance in that direction, touch the other side and the character advances in the other direction. Tap with the other finger while the character is moving and it will jump. Tap with both thumbs at once and the character jumps straight up. Getting used to these controls may take some time, but once they are familiar, they provide the touch and control needed to survive the game's environments.

One unfortunate fact -- which will hopefully be remedied with updates in the future -- is the game's relatively short length. Currently there are only a few playable levels available with the rest marked as "Coming Soon". Whether or not new levels are on the way, the $1.99 price tag seems a bit steep for how long it will take the average player to complete the game as it is.

There is a time slowing mechanic in Oscura that players can use after collecting enough crystal shards. Slowing time will help players advance past particularly difficult sections in each level and it allows players to really appreciate the environments as they traverse them in slow-mo. The current length of the game means that players will need to decide if the price is right for them. Players receive star ratings at the end of each level, and there are also collectable gears in each level that can help extend the gameplay for a little while.

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