SAGE Spotlight: Sonic Nebulous

SAGE Spotlight: Sonic Nebulous

By JJ4eva

Sonic Nebulous will most likely go down in history as one of the first ever fully completed fangames at a SAGE event. But there’s a lot to be excited about here too besides such accolades, as Nebulous brings its own quirks and innovations to a game that otherwise is inspired by the roots of the classic Sonic games.

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One of the most impressive things about this game is that the graphics are entirely customised sprites. All of the backgrounds, foregrounds and characters have been crafted from scratch, and the additional scenery and easy-to-follow storyline helps bring a very moody atmosphere to Mobius. It really feels like you’re battling for the planet’s freedom here.

The main innovation in Nebulous is the screen rotation, that kicks in when you’re at a point where a wall links up to a roof. The screen rotates to sit exactly along the wall or roof you’re on, so there’s no over or under-rotation. A notable point about this is how well-programmed this feature is – the camera snaps back to position if you jump back onto the ground from the roof.

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All of the individual characters have their own special abilities and play styles, showing off the abilities of the game engine, and with 30 characters to choose from it’s amazing to think that Pink Ninja Monkey Studios have thought of all the possibilities for each one while still keeping true to their personalities.

The game so far is great – I only found a couple of problems with it. For example, as Fang I seemed to miss some rings when running into them as if their “action point” was set a fraction too high, and another thing I miss is there being checkpoints in the middle of levels. This however is covered with the levels not being too long to do in one run (even if it is after a couple of tries).

With a unique design style, thirty characters offering tons of replayability and an interesting story to boot, Nebulous is definitely one of the more ambitious and playable titles at SAGE. Give it a go at their booth here.

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Dreadknux

Sexy founder of The Sonic Stadium, and creator and co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic fan convention. By day, I'm a super-fantastic games journalist, el professionale. By night, I'm the mother-loving Sonical Batman. I keep the site ticking, look after the TSS Network, and get all excited about Sonic games so that you can too. May contain nuts.

11 Comments

  1. While I applaud their efforts at making a game completely from scratch, something about it just seems…off, something about the animations. I think it might be because the running seems very slow, but I think my main complaint is the sprites are too big. They fill up a lot more of the screen then in any sonic game, making it somewhat awkward to see what’s going on ahead.

  2. Agreed, the animations are off. Possibly because the sprites are so detailed, yet generally only the feet move. Otherwise, however, this is the “dark” that should have been done instead of Shadow. Very cool.

  3. Not bad. The graphical style of the game seems to be influenced by games like ‘Odin Sphere’ which is good direction to take in my opinion. But so far thats the only good point I can see.
    Bad points?;
    1 – the character sprites are too big
    2 – the design of the game is too dark for a sonic game (but it all depends if the story of the game takes that direction)
    And finally 3 – 30 characters is WAY too much. I’m not being picky, but 15 would have done for me.

    Other than I look foward to playing it some day.

  4. As joyed as I am to have the Knothole Freedom Fighters playable, there are three things that irk me about it [as shown in the video on the site], as well as a fourth one, but more on that later:

    1) The character animation for anything but the feet is non-existent and thus makes them look flat, as well as boring to look at compared to those in the old Megadrive and recent DS games.

    2) I despise what they’ve done to Rotor’s design, I’d rather have him be the wrong design and shade of blue like in the early SatAM episodes than to be lumped with that [i.e. fire the character redesigner!]

    3) Rosie is playable… I love the lil old lady, but making her playable? Are you serious? [Not that taking Robotnik down with her wouldn’t be hilarious, the first and only time round, that is]

    4) The demo on their site isn’t working.

  5. that scene with shade looking back the area is actually from one of the Oddworld Abes oddesy or Exodus games for playstation 1

  6. …This is one of the worst fan games I’ve ever played! It sucks! It’s only problens, I’m tp lazy too explain so just check out tssznews review of Sonic Nebulous. i agrre with everything there. This game is full of shit and problems! Stupid game! But the style is cool though, but the sprites are too big.

  7. I don’t really like this game. At all. And there are a number of reasons for this.

    1) Colors – Yes, it’s dark. I can appreciate that. But still, dark doesn’t necessarily mean it has to have such muddy and dingy colors. SatAM was dark, sure, but the characters still had color!

    2) Characters – I welcome a game with plenty of characters. But when you have to make lame changes just to make everyone feel different, you’re doing something wrong. Why does Knuckles have that weird hat? Why does Shadow have a hoverboard? Why does Rouge only hover instead of running? And don’t even get me started on the inclusion of characters like Antoine and Rotor just for the sake of having a large roster.

    3) Level Design – I didn’t even get past the first level because I was bombarded by bland level design. 2D Sonic games have always been about a balance between careful platforming and high speeds. This focuses on the speed. You can hold down the right arrow key for 90% of this level, and that’s a bad sign. Then I ran into a stairway of one-way platforms, and I was amazed that I actually had to jump! I then preceded to close the game and delete it.

  8. The screenshots alone were enough to make me never, ever want to ever touch this game. Ever. The scenery looks nice, but the characters are some of the ugliest sprites I’ve ever seen.

  9. I love this game. Yes it is stupidly flawed and man does it kill me because I personally think this could be one of the better more original fangames.

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