In many stories (and indeed often in real life), the light is our friend and the darkness is to be feared. But the opposite is true in Umbra, as we'll be able to see for ourselves in 2021 if indie developer FLAG Games is able to raise enough funds through Kickstarter.
A young woman named Arlo belongs to a race of people who cannot be exposed to sunlight. They live in the "decaying architectural ruins" of a world that "used to be dominated by a technologically-advanced civilization." According to legend, this ancient civilization "foolishly worshipped the Sun and built grand cities, only to be turned to stone." What hasn't been passed down through the generations, however, is that their homes have been "built under the shadow of the giants," a reality they tragically discover when "the Sun takes control of the giants, the giants leave, and the towns are cast in sunlight." With many turned to stone or even killed, Arlo sets out to bring the giants back and "avenge the deaths of those close to her."
Presented largely from a bird's-eye view with hand-drawn graphics, Umbra takes place across six distinct realms, each with its own unique culture, heroine, weather, terrain, challenges, and of course another new giant waiting at the end. In all of them, the core obstacle is the need to stay in the shadows at all times, an element inspired by the lovely fantasy film Mune: Guardian of the Moon. Many solutions require sunlight, with the crucial stipulation that you cannot ever let it touch you.
Arlo herself is limited in her abilities, with players able only to "move in four directions and occasionally press an action key." However, new puzzle-solving mechanics will be continually introduced in different combinations to keep gameplay fresh, ranging from shining light on sun-powered technology to manipulating conveyor belts and switches to control water levels, depending on the environment. In each area, Arlo will also "adopt a new animal" that can be switched between at save points. These companions will provide company and even "some guidance if you’re struggling with a puzzle," but their specific abilities may yet end up factoring into puzzle solutions as well.
The two-person team of Dellen Miller and Sarah Byers hope to complete Umbra before the end of 2021, but to help them finish production a Kickstarter campaign has been launched to raise $8,000 USD by November 14th. To that end, a demo will be launched soon to sample the game firsthand on Windows PC.