One of the best hardware features of a tablet, or more specifically the Blackberry Playbook, is the integrated gyroscope and accelerometer. Both of these devices measure different things, but they each perform the same function; they help the tablet determine its orientation and then carry out the appropriate action. For example, when you tilt your device and the orientation shifts from portrait to landscape view, that is possible thanks to these little internal devices.
Some apps and games allow you to use the orientation of the Playbook to your advantage. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many apps and games out there that utilize the orientation, or at least, not as many as we’d like to see.
Tilting the Playbook to control a character or on screen avatar can be a bit challenging, but it does provide a whole new mobile gaming experience. It is essentially an additional interaction that you can have with the software. It is this same type of “extra interaction,” that made the Wii so successful, and makes the Microsoft Kinect so much fun.
Today, we have an excellent game for you from 1337 Game Design called Dark Nebula. If you didn’t already figure it out, Dark Nebula makes use of the Playbook’s orientation scaling hardware.
Remember those old labyrinth toys; the ones that had you guiding a marble or ball bearing through a pre-determined maze, simply by tilting the toy around? Dark Nebula is just like that except you play it on a Blackberry Playbook.
Dark Nebula was originally released about three years ago, for iOS devices, in the Apple App Store. During that time, the game garnered nearly 6 million downloads total. In June, of this year, it was also released for Android via Google Play. Now, it has made its way to the Blackberry platform, as well.
Dark Nebula: Episode One
Dark Nebula is a labyrinth game for the Blackberry Playbook. The gameplay mechanics are straightforward, you pitch your device to move the character around the screen. The game itself, is a little more complicated than that, however.
Naturally, Dark Nebula has you controlling a round character in an effort to see it through the level by moving along an ever changing path. While navigating through the levels, you must avoid obstacles like dangerous traps, bullets from enemy gunfire, and gaps in the pathway. While moving through the levels you must also collect orbs, and powerups. Powerups include additional lives, an outer shield and more.
One of the most prominent traps you will encounter, in Dark Nebula, involves bursting through a colored laser. In order to shut down the laser, you must first reach a panel that matches the color of the laser. After touching the panel, it will charge your character, and you can then deactivate the right laser to advance.
After completing each level, you are given a rating based on your score, in the form of the traditional bronze, silver and gold stars. You are graded based on your completion time, the number of orbs you collected and which powerups you lost or used in the level. The game’s developers rightfully challenge you to get a gold star rating on every level, which is quite difficult.
There are eleven stages total in Episode One. After you get through each level and receive your score, it is added to an internal leaderboard. You can compare scores with friends, but only if they’ve played directly on your Playbook as there are no online leaderboards currently. Still, it adds a bit of extra challenge to the game because you can continuously try to beat your own scores.
Dark Nebula: Episode Two is Imminent
Obviously, as the name implies, Episode One does not comprise the entirety of the Dark Nebula series. Episode Two has been available on iOS devices for some time now. Currently, it is not available on Android devices, which makes it difficult to estimate when it will be available for the Blackberry Playbook.
Judging by how easy it is to develop apps for QNX and the new Blackberry OS, it is possible Episode Two will appear in Blackberry App World before it is accessible to Android users. This is only speculation, however, and is far from a guaranteed outcome.
Dark Nebula Episode Two adds nineteen more levels, that span across six different environments. It also adds a brand new combat mechanic to the game, that essentially allows you to fight enemies. More than 25 enemy types and obstacles have been added to the game too, which makes for a fresh labyrinth experience.
If you want to check out what Episode Two will offer when it eventually becomes available for the Blackberry Playbook, you can visit the official developer page.
Dark Nebula is Available Now
Dark Nebula Episode One is available now for the Blackberry Playbook via Blackberry App World. It’s only $1.99 for the full game, and there are positively no in-game advertisements.