Nix Umbra review - occult horror at its most focused and evocative
The first thing you do in every round of Nix Umbra is collect your sword. It burns in your right fist, casting a pool of harsh emergency lighting a few metres wide. As long as the sword is lit, you live. Your shared vitality is measured by a sun icon in bottom right. Ahead, coarse soil disappears into twitching shadow. Above, bedroom-wallpaper stars flicker uncertainly. You think you see the moon.
After around five seconds of walking you'll encounter your first tree: a gritty slash of texture in the baleful glare of your sword. Early on in your time with Nix Umbra the trees might seem comforting: landmarks and barriers, things to retreat to, weave through while fleeing. You peep around the trunk and it bursts into flame, illuminating other trees, grouped in a ring like petrified ogres at feast. Your sun icon dims a little. You keep moving.