Lost in Shadow
In Lost in Shadow you play as the shadow of a boy, cut apart from his body and thrown from the top of a tower to the ground below
- Mind-bending game mechanic, beautifully stylised, accessible for all kinds of gamers
- Finicky controls and combat system, brainless puzzles, generic platforming under the packaging
This slick, stylized action-adventure boasts a unique visual style and some innovative, well-implemented gameplay mechanics, but still suffers from some finicky, generic platforming.
In this age, a novel twist on a traditional genre is the perfect way to make a game stand out from its prole brethren. Our highly evolved tastes don't just want Mario to chase after the Princess anymore. We want Mario to chase after the Princess... in space! Hudson Soft's Lost in Shadow sets itself apart from like-minded platformers with a dreamy, meditative style and innovative gameplay that asks players to manipulate light, shadows, and perspective in the basic package of a 2D platformer.
You play as the shadow of a boy, cut apart from his body and thrown from the top of a tower to the ground below. With no memories, and only the help of a sylph named "Spangle," you decide to climb to the top of the tower, reclaim your body, and roundhouse whoever did this to you. But here's the twist: As a shadow, you can only interact with other shadows cast by objects in the foreground. It takes some getting used to, but when you adjust and realize how objects you'd normally be hopping on in any other platformer affect the landscape you're actually allowed to traverse, I guarantee you'll let out a girly shriek of delight.
During play, you can interact with levers and switches in the background, while Spangle can rotate machinery in the foreground to open new passageways. Other ways to manipulate the shadows involve moving the light source, swinging a hanging bulb to bring platforms into reach, and rotating the perspective, Echochrome style. My favourite mechanic involved "light gates,". which let me run around and change things in the foreground, then teleport to previously inaccessible areas.
The game is easy to learn, as markers with helpful hints are scattered throughout. Collectable memory fragments either provide advice or contain the woebegones of an emo teenager, but always increase your health bar. Health is also replenished by venturing into shadow corridors -- mini-stages that feature unique puzzles and double up as checkpoints in case you catch tetanus from a rusty saw-blade.
Ico is the obvious inspiration for Lost in Shadow's visuals, right down to the palette, industrial machinery, and rabid use of feathering. As such, you can be guaranteed that this is one of the better looking games for the Wii. It's easy to get tunnel vision during play, but when I took the time to observe, I noticed delightful details in the foreground. I could be running on the shadow of a clothesline in the residential district, or the shadow of a windowsill, 30 feet in the air. The game's score fits the mood, sounding off eerie, barely-there notes that draw your focus to the realistic clangs of machinery and levers. The same song is in almost every level though, and becomes grating when playing for hours straight.
But for all its creativity, Lost in Shadow is best enjoyed in small doses, as it's host to some niggling flaws that become more apparent the longer you play. For one thing, the puzzles are formulaic. I was often spoon-fed which mechanic to use. The light slider pops up? Move the light source. An object in the foreground glows? Rotate it. For a game with so many innovative mechanics, I had hoped for better integration. When it managed to work, like with the light gates, it was so good -- it just needed more. After all, I play games like this to work my soggy excuse for a brain, where I can just as easily turn it off.
Other flaws that nagged at me were fussy controls (making it infuriating to perform precise movements) and the foreground sometimes blocking my view of the boy entirely. These problems are nothing compared to combat though, which is clumsy and adds little to the game. Fighting enemies consists of slashing them, jumping out of the way, and then slashing again until they explode into experience points. Unfortunately, if I'm swinging my sword, I can't move, nor can I take any other action for half a second after. This means a missed swing results in a beating, and the numerous baddies inflate the length of the game in an annoyingly redundant way. Levelling up technically increases the boy's damage, but its benefits were barely noticeable beyond stimulating that pleasure spot in my caveman brain associated with increasing numbers and epic loincloths.
Not all enemies were a chore to deal with, though. The ones that I had to use puzzles to take down were satisfying to outsmart. The giant shadow monster that chased me in select levels, which I could never quite outrun, was a welcome change to the Zen pacing of the game. I would have liked to see more of these puzzle-type enemies and less of the hack-n-slash type.
If you can keep your expectations in check, accepting that Lost in Shadow is essentially an old school Prince of Persia-inspired game with a clever twist, you will find it worth your time to try it out. The initial head trip and squeals of glee you'll make when you discover yet another unique game mechanic will be worth it. Just remember that, to fully appreciate the aesthetic and not let the repetition wear on you, you should approach the game in bite sizes. Save it for those lonely rainy nights, when all you can hear are the eerie creaks of gears turning, lever flipping, and the crazy guy on the street belting out "All Along the Watchtower."
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
- Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes looks sharp, but will it survive the freemium transition?
- Nintendo's bringing Super Mario Run to Android in March, but Fire Emblem's coming first
- The Switch is a mix of Nintendo's past consoles
- Dead Rising 4 impressions: 'Tis the season to BBQ zombies with your flaming sword
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPSenior Business AnalystVIC
- CCWeb Ops EngineerACT
- CCMidrange ProvisioningNSW
- FTSAP BOBJ ConsultantACT
- FTTelecommunications Services Manager - Voice/Data/UCQLD
- FTPerformance TesterACT
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCERP Business Analyst (Time Capture/ Management) - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCProject Support OfficerNSW
- FTPMO Specialist - PermanentACT
- FTChange Manager - Large Transition ProjectNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst - PeopleSoft HR/Payroll ProjectVIC
- CCUnix AdministratorNSW
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- TPSolution Architect - Office 365QLD
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)ACT
- FTTechnical Team Leader | ArchitectQLD
- TPDigital Project ManagerVIC
- FTSenior Java EngineerACT
- CCIT Infrastructure ArchitectNSW
- CCIT Support TechnicianNSW
- TPTest AnalystQLD
- FTLevel 2 Technical Support OfficerQLD
- CCADABAS Natural DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Positive Vetting, NV2 or NV1 required!!!!SA