I’m one of the small minority who actually really enjoyed the Gummi Ship parts of Kingdom Hearts. Yes, the interface was clunky and there was basically zero benefit to building anything beyond the standard design, and after a certain point in the story you never needed to use the ship again as you could just teleport between places. Still, for this Star Fox veteran, the chance to build your own ship (yes, entirely out of guns) was too much to pass up, and I always left the experience sad that there wasn’t more to it.
Ostensibly a roguelike, Nimbatus’ main game mode sees you traversing the galaxy gathering resources with which to build bigger and better drones, all while being chased by the Corp, who inevitably will catch you and kill you and you’ll have to start all over with nothing to show for it. Normally that’d be a Bin by itself, but it turns out Nimbatus’ developers are super cool people who also included a Sandbox mode with huge customisability, which essentially lets you play the main game while removing the permadeath mechanic. The breadth of options available in sandbox mode are praiseworthy and let you tweak pretty much every facet until you find the game you want to play. You can, of course, also play in full sandbox mode, with every item and upgrade available to you immediately with no cost or penalties, for those of us who just want to build the biggest scariest spaceship imaginable.
Drone building is fun, but there needs to be a purpose to it, and that’s where Nimbatus lets me down. All the planets and missions are procedurally generated, which I typically dislike. It’s used in games like this to ensure no two planets are the same, but in practice it often results in every single planet feeling the same. The story is no different here- when you’ve recovered one black box, you’ve recovered them all, and there just isn’t enough variance to engage me.
Fin or Bin:
But the planets aren’t the fun part, building a giant spaceship entirely out of lasers and rocket engines is the fun part! And that’s what I did, for the last 20 minutes of my hour. I did enjoy it, but I’ve done it now, and I don’t really see much reason to come back and do it again. For a player who enjoys receiving scraps and putting together the best machine they can out of the scatter there’s a lot of fun to be had here, but for me it’s time to disassemble all the parts and put them back in the Bin.