Nubs’ Adventure Review [iOS & Android]

Nubs’ Adventure begins when our unsuspecting hero’s house is approached by two villains—Wiley and Marv. These foes throw Nubs off the adjacent cliff and Nubs has to find his way back. But when he gets there a few screens later, there’s nothing but ashes and ruble. Fortunately, Nubs encounters a fairy that can fix all of his problems… if she only had some fairy dust. And so, your purpose is presented. Nubs’ adventure is a quest for fairy dust filled crystals, conveniently spread out in the deadliest places, all in the hopes of rebuilding what was lost.

Nubs’ Adventure is a refreshing break from—well—taking a break. When it comes to the mobile gaming industry, a console gamer can be hard to satiate because many games provide a hit-and-run experience, something to pick-up and put down at your leisure. Nubs’ Adventure offers something different: an action-adventure game complete with a storyline and multiple characters.

Nubs’ Adventure has four buttons displayed on screen: left and right directional arrows and an A and B button (jump and “interact,” respectively). The action in Nubs’ Adventure comes from jumping and hitting enemies with your boomerang (done with the B-button when enemies are close enough). But the true adventure comes from the exploratory nature of the game. While Nubs’ Adventure follows gaming convention (travel from left to right) the plethora of ledges, entrances/exits, elevators, water tunnels, pulleys, and so on leaves much ground to be covered. And with some teleporters planted throughout the game and a map you can access at any time, backtracking is easy.

Nubs’ friends are one of my favorite aspects of the game. Ally, a tiny wisp, can carry Nubs to hard-to-reach places and Brute, a giant worm, can travel underground. Both friends help Nubs get gems or items needed to lower a barrier/open a door. I find Brute hard to control—but with a name like Brute maybe that’s what the developer was going for. I spent a lot of time whirling in circles. On the contrary, Ally controls just fine so perhaps size does matter. Note, these characters are only playable in certain areas, but I think that’s for the best. Always having the ability to use Brute and Ally might complicate the gameplay too much; but if Nubs ever goes on another adventure I’d welcome such complexity with open arms. A sequel with more friends who have more play time would be great.

As far as difficulty, Nubs’ Adventure is fair. While you are always one hit or fall away from death, there’s a generous amount of save points throughout the game. Once you accomplish a task or collect a gem, you are often rewarded with a save. The game is more about thinking and discovering than fighting a lot of enemies and making crazy jumps. I admit I found myself dying often—a result of curiosity and many miscalculations—but it never became frustrating. And fortunately the animation of Nubs’ death is disturbingly amusing. Nubs looks a little like Fez (composed of white pixels) and does a lot like the kid from Limbo.

Nubs’ Adventure is the story of another cute protagonist in peril and I love it. This game is a charmer with good level-design, wonderful environments, and amusing cut scenes. Nubs’ Adventure lets you play for free at first, but the rest of the game has to be unlocked for $4.99. It’s worth the price. But if you’re still on the fence, download it anyway. There’s enough free gameplay to help you make an informed purchase and keep you entertained.

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