Lost in Shadow Review (Wii)
Posted by Jim Cook, Jan 05, 2011 06:46
There are a certain set of games that try to be clever ’puzzle-based platformers’ and art at the same time; Lost in Shadow is like that, joining peers such as Limbo and Braid. Focusing more on atmosphere than game mechanics, Lost in Shadow tries to give players a very specific experience and will appeal to an equally specific crowd... but that’s not really a bad thing. Played using just a few buttons on the Wiimote plus Nunchuk, along with the Wiimote itself as a cursor, Lost in Shadow is easy to learn and play.
Lost in Shadow’s mechanics are quite basic, letting you guide a boy’s detached shadow through several side-scrolling levels with all the usual platformer abilities: Running, jumping, grabbing items and switches, and so on. Where things become more unusual is that the majority of this game’s action takes place in its background, the shadows laid down by the foreground’s solid objects. It takes a few minutes to get used to since you’re now aiming for things that you have always been taught to ignore in other games, but this adjustment is easy to make.
Thankfully, the game doesn’t just rely on the gimmick of its shadow-driven art style. It makes smart use of the idea, including several segments where you can rotate the stage to change where the shadows fall and adjust the lighting so that the platforms you are on go higher or lower. A very basic combat system is also included, where mashing the B button will make you do some simple combo attacks with your shadow sword. This kind of fighting isn’t very interesting, though other battles require you to make use of the stage’s various features and hazards to win.
While Lost in Shadow starts off very slow, it adds new mechanics and concepts as you move along. This works to some extent, though repetition nonetheless begins to drain the game of its impact well before you’ve finished playing. While there are dozens of stages and new ideas are introduced reasonably often, the levels are short and most of the mechanics basic enough that Lost in Shadow begins to blur together after a while as far as any game experience goes.
The developers tried to compensate for this with a great emphasis on the game’s atmosphere. Built on the relationship between light and shadow, this game tries to wow players with sweeping visuals of the tower their character must climb as well as the chilling darkness within, and it’s all accompanied by deep, heavy sound effects that emphasize the lack of music. Some will feel it is genuinely artistic and evocative, while others may think the game is instead jumping up and down while waving its hand and yelling "Ooh! Ooh! I’m art! Look at how deep and expressive I am!"... though which camp you fall into may be a matter of taste.
With all these factors in mind, Lost in Shadow is going to thrill a specific audience. If you’re expecting a lot of fast-paced action and mega-budget graphics... you won’t find it here, it’s just not that kind of game. On the other hand, if you enjoy titles that blur the line between ’puzzle platformer’ and ’art’, doing both fairly well, then Lost in Shadow may well be worth checking out.
Rating: 1.0, votes: 1