Umbra: Amulet of Light AR

Umbra: Amulet of Light AR – Game Review (iOS)

Umbra: Amulet of Light AR is a puzzle game of shapes and shadows. You know that wooden blocks where you need to construct specific shapes by flipping the tiles around or the game where you use your hands to create a shape using shadows on the wall?—it’s basically the same idea.

About the Game

Story screen, Umbra
A bit of storytelling never hurts.

In this game, you’move and rotate tiles on a large grid so the contour of the blocks matches the shadows that appear on the wall in front. It also reminds me of that Tetris-like game where you need to fit certain blocks shapes into a hole of the same shape.

Umbra: Amulet of Light AR also boasts a storyline, which tells the journey of a protagonist, which is you, who have been chosen as the owner of the amulet to restore the balance between light and darkness and bring balance to the world.

The story evolved as you progress through the game’s chapters. There are a total of 10 chapters, each one consists of 9 levels which you need to complete in order to move on to the next chapter. You can also unlock the locked chapter using gems that you collect by completing levels.

In each chapter, you’ll introduce new types of blocks that employ different gameplay mechanics.

It’s important to note that the game is free on the App Store, but just so you know, you can only play a few chapters, then you need to pay to unlock all the other chapters.

Check out this gameplay video showing the gameplay in AR Mode.

Game’s Difficulty

I first thought that I am going to finish this game in like half an hour and put it down—I was wrong. The first levels are quite easy, but the game gets more complicated as you progress.

The developer added some really cool gameplay mechanics that make you break your head trying to solve the puzzle. In the first levels, you just move a few blocks and rotate them, so it doesn’t take long to figure out how to create the final shape

For example, in Chapter 10, you have a block that cannot be moved directly, only by pushing it using the other tiles. The thing is that when you move one of those tiles, the other one moves in the opposite direction in parallel. This makes it much harder to solve the puzzle.

So bottom line, it’s a very challenging game with increased difficulty. If you love challenging games, you’ll this one as well.

Controls

Umbra: Amulet of Light AR can be played in standard mode or AR mode.  I personally preferred playing it in AR mode, because it’s easier to move around and get into a perspective that can help you find a way to solve the puzzle.

You move the blocks on the grid by tapping and holding the block and moving the finger to the location which you want to move it. You tap on the cube to rotate it.

I found the movement controls to be quite annoying, but this is because the blocks are moved on a grid, so the movement is not fluent.

Visuals

I think that there was plenty of ways to make this game look so much better. The graphics are very boring. It looks like a simple Tetris AR game, but with a horizontal plane instead of vertical.

Umbra: Amulet of Light AR, standard mode
Umbra: Amulet of Light AR, standard mode. Looks really nice.

The overlayed character and textual storyline felt nice but the game’s grid and the tiles look in AR looked boring. In the non-AR version, you get to see different backgrounds that correspond to the zone/chapter you are playing, so it looked so much better. The developer could have changed the board texture, maybe add some environmental visual effects, add some nice objects around the board so the user feels like he enters a new chapter.

AR mode, looks uninspiring and boring.
AR mode looks uninspiring and boring.

Bottom line, in terms of visuals, the AR mode is very disappointing. It feels like an afterthought, although the title of the game includes AR at the end.

Conclusion

Umbra: Amulet of Light AR is an interesting and challenging puzzler. The accompanying storyline, the music, and the non-AR visuals wrap the player with an enchanting and relaxing atmosphere.

Turning into AR had a negative impact on the great atmosphere that I felt when I played it in standard mode. In that aspect, the game was a disappointment.

Still, I enjoyed playing the game. I found the puzzles to be intelligently made, engaging and entertaining. I felt satisfaction being able to complete a level and progress on.

Umbra: AMulet of Light AR offers a good amount of content that will keep you challenges for a few hours.

Overall, it’s a good puzzler, but less as an AR game. I still recommend downloading it and playing it, and in my opinion, it’s worth its asking price—Have fun.

Download Umbra: Amulet of Light AR for iOS free from the App Store here.