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Video Game / Nihilumbra

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You are born...

Meet Born, a chunk of Void that acquired a mind of its own. They emerge into a seemingly empty world, and make their way through it, learning something new at every turn. However, the Void would rather be whole, and is on Born's back at every turn, hounding and haunting their every step. As Born flees throughout the landscape, dodging monsters and solving puzzles, their only hope for survival is a series of strange, colored flowers that allow them to subtly manipulate the world around them. But the Void is watching and learning just as fast as Born is, and when the world is only so big they can't run forever...

Nihilumbra is a 2013 platformer developed by Beautifun Games, with the added element of colors, that allow the player to paint certain parts of the terrain with a particular color, giving it properties like stickiness, slipperiness, and heat. You will need all of those in order to survive, if only for just a little longer.

Tropes appearing in Nihilumbra:

  • Achievement Mockery: There's an achievement for dying ten times in a row in any void mode level. You will probably earn this in level 1-1.
  • After the End: The game doesn't show you much of the world (since you're too busy trying to dodge The Void), but the City you do get to see is completely empty, implying that the Void has killed everyone else a long time ago.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: Played straight in the desert levels.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: Multiple levels have you chased by The Void.
  • Blamed for Being Railroaded: You are a sentient piece of the Void. You want to become an individual, independent being. The Void does not like it though, and as you make your way through various different worlds, at the end of each one the Void catches up with you, forcing you to flee and let the Void consume the world you just traversed through. The narration will NOT let you hear the end of it, talking about your guilt and how you don't create anything, only destroy everything. This is despite the fact that the game is a linear puzzle platformer, with no possible choices to make except pushing forward.
  • Crate Expectations: There's crates in places you really wouldn't expect one, like in the middle of icy wastelands or just by a lava floe. They make decent button-pushers.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The protagonist, literally a chunk of the void given a mind, who looks like a windswept scarecrow made of pure darkness. Sounds villainous enough, but they're actually just like a curious child, eager to see the world, who means no harm to anyone. Born isn't really evil, despite looking like a scarecrow made of pure dark.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Assuming you're going through the levels in order, Void Mode introduces itself by plopping a deadly Crawlaggar right in front of your face. You have approximately four seconds to dig out your Brown color and latch onto the wall out of its reach before it eats you. And it only goes downhill from there.
  • The Goomba: You!
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Subverted in the City. The narration notes that whoever created the City destroyed whatever environment was there to build it...but then turns around and points out that even so, at least they created something; all Born has done, meanwhile, is allow the Void to consume the world.
  • It Can Think: The Void is not just some mindless force of nature, it's learning how to hunt you down better.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Volcano, which is, well, just that. There's even a massive lava floe that bobs up and down, preventing access to certain places.
  • Living Shadow: Born, as well as all the monsters.
  • The Lost Woods: The Living Forest, where you learn the color green, and where you first start finding some of the really risky Voidborn enemies.
  • Mana Meter: Determines how much more color you can put down, and it's shared by all five colors.
  • Metropolis Level: The desolated City, which is the only level with all kinds of man-made machines trying to stop you.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero/What the Hell, Hero?: Born to themself, as they are slowly overcome by guilt after "condemning" every place they visit to a horrible destructive fate.
  • No Biological Sex: The Player Character (being a literal chunk of the void and all) doesn't seem to have a gender.
  • Not So Invincible After All: The Klimeths, after you combine fire with a turret.
  • Playing with Fire: Red burns anything that steps on it, including enemies, or you.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The turrets seem to apply at first, being so abandoned and yet still working. It comes full force in the City, which can still work without a hitch with a little yellow paint despite being abandoned who knows how long.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Averted. You are not immune to your own fire.
  • Scary Scarecrows: While Born looks like one, they aren't really scary.
  • Silliness Switch: Upon beating Void Mode, you unlock a new language setting which makes all the words in the game into something silly, from the menus to the ingame messages, which now run the gamut from parodies of the original dialogue to developer's commentary to congratulating the player to rambling about whatever comes to mind.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Frozen Cliffs, which are great mountains with a constant windstorm. All the slippyness, however, is provided by you and your newly acquired blue color.
  • Straw Nihilist: Deconstructed. The title of the game should have given away that it would come up at some point.
  • Vacuum Mouth: The Shyphonith enemies. Apparently they don't have a gut, just a portal straight to the Void.