The second chapter of Dark Nebula begins where the first chapter ended: You just destroyed the mainframe of the large mechanism you were infiltrating and must escape, resulting in a cutscene that brings back memories of the Death Star. You’re then thrown right back into the top-down ball rolling madness from before, and it’s a blast the whole way through.
Dark Nebula – Episode Two has double the content of its predecessor. That was the biggest complaint in our review of the original, so it’s great to see the developers went for quantity without losing quality. In fact, the gameplay in the sequel expands on the original in every way it needed to.
Some elements remain, such as trampoline pads and laser-shooting cannons, but you’ll also encounter some new obstacles. For example, there are now conveyor belts and enemies to bounce on top of. The on-rails level found at the end of episode one makes a return here, offering high-speed action that requires quick reactions.
The biggest new addition is the combat. You’ll be charging your ball with a color-coded ring that can smash enemies and power sources of the same color, as well as rolling over platforms that shoot energy opposite of where the ball touches them.
The iPhone just got a Red Ring of Death.
Where combat really shines is in the game’s boss battles. You’ll need to learn the rhythm of each boss’s attack pattern and hit them in just the right places with the right color in order to destroy these large creatures.
New elements and level designs are constantly implemented as you play, meaning there is never a moment where the game ceases to entertain. Couple that with excellent artwork, an original soundtrack, and the same precise tilt controls from the first Dark Nebula, and you’ve got 90 minutes of great entertainment for a dollar.
Dark Nebula’s biggest flaw as a series so far is that it doesn’t contain any storyline. It feels like the developers have something in mind with the cinematics, constantly changing environments, and boss fights, but we never get a feel for what’s going on. This is something we’ll be looking for when episode three hits.
Story aside, we thoroughly enjoyed what Dark Nebula had to offer. It may be a game you’ll beat in one sitting, but for $0.99 it leaves enough of an impression that it’s worth it.