Penombre Review

Penombre Review

Mar 21, 2014

Penombre is a side-scroller with a dark mission.

For an endless runner, the game relies heavily on it’s theme. It’s a mostly black and white affair, with dark object silhouettes “moving” from right to left as the dark running avatar of Umbra is doing her thing in standard endless runner form. Lighter colors make an appearance, but play second fiddle to the absolutes and red, which mostly signifies dangerous objects. There is a life bar to the upper right and counters to the bottom right and top left.

Umbra, our witch with a knack for exploration, just wants to get home safely, but those red-tinged dangers and deadly animals can be a little difficult. Her most straightforward tool is her jumping ability, which is invoked bypen1 tapping on the screen. Double tapping causes a longer jump, which is useful for the taller dangers. As for the dangers, there are different ones; glowing bushes, trees, objects… anything reddish causes damage to Umbra if she touches them. The spinning blades and rotating scythes look ominous enough, and are matched by bats and rodents flying and running in the opposite direction. As one gets further along, the red dangers predictably appear at shorter intervals and with greater craftiness, and as such, to get through, Umbra will practically be springing triple jump style over stuff.

Jumping also helps access the power ups; things like temporary invincibility and soul magnets; souls are little floating baubles that can be collected by contact and serve as a game currency of sorts. Of course, collecting them can increase the danger due to potential proximity to red dangers, so there is that.

Charm aside, the game feels clunky in parts; the jumping mechanism feels a tad “heavy” and there is something about the graphics that feels forced. It is a bit of a challenge, and while the tutorial is a wwelcome feature, I still think a more streamlined sequencing would work.

Still, at a shade under a dollar, it might be worth a look for those with an eye for simplicity.