The platform game may have taken a beating on consoles over the last decade or so, but it is alive and well on mobile platforms. Not only that but the 2D platformer seems to be thriving (even innovating) on these mini platforms. Oscura, produced by MTV Networks and is a gorgeous reason to continue playing games that consist of little more than a jump button.
In Oscura you play as Oscura (conveniently) who much relight the lightpost holding the dark creatures at bay by gathering all the light crystals. A pretty simple premise, but adequate enough to drive the relatively simple platform mechanics. You have the ability to run, jump (double jump), and slow down time. The additional time slowing mechanism does bring a little variability to the rather simple game mechanics, but aside from that Oscura is a pretty straight forward platform game.
At the end of each level the player is scored using a four star system. The items collected, amount of deaths, and speed with which the level is completed all add towards full completetion of the level. This being said, it's not assumed that you'll be clearing levels without dying very often. Oscura is brutally difficult, and many situations within the game are setup so you may die several times before completing a level. Your accomplishments in Oscura must be earned through sweat, and more often than not, blood. Lot's and lots of blood.
Though the solid gameplay is an alluring piece of Oscura, the art direction is the most impressive piece of the package. Closely resembling Limbo, a recent console and PC indie game, Oscura relies of vivid coloring and simple black characters to contrast between the world of the player and the world of Oscura. There is something almost Del Toroesque about the end result where though the player has complete controls over Oscura and is free to roam within that world, they are still unable to truly see the detailed horrors that live in that world. Perhaps it's our subconscious that refuses to let us see what lurks in the dark?
Oscura keeps the well known platform mechanics fresh through good controls, creative environments, and an impressive artistic direction. A plethora of levels makes Oscura a steal at the current price of $1.99. Though this game may seem a little dark for children, I highly recommend it for anyone that wants to see what a solid modern 2-Dimensional platformer looks like.