Last night's Konami Gamers' Day offered us the chance to play a couple of levels from Hudson Soft's upcoming Wii platformer, Lost in Shadow, which was described as the "best shadow-action game." It's pretty easy to be the best thing-you-made-up-right-now, but humorous rhetorical fallacies aside, we were impressed by the clever platformer.
Above: Last night we learned what shadows are!
Everyone's initial reaction when seeing Lost in Shadow is, "Hey, this looks kind of like ICO, and plays kind of like Echochrome... it's ICOchrome!"
It's got a young hero, and a world so shrouded in mystery you can choke on the fog. It's got brain-twisty, but forgiving puzzles. It's got shadow bugs to fight with a shadow sword (the one-button combat isn't the highlight of the game, but offers variety). So it's similar, but there's no shame in being compared to two fantastic games.
In Lost in Shadow, you are a shadow (surprise), and can only interact with shadows. It took us a minute to kick the habit of trying to interact with foreground objects, a mistake that led to several close encounters with some very pointy things. Once we got comfortable with being a background element (a strange feeling, as games usually emphasize the protagonist), our progression smoothed out.
The effect of being a shadow can be pretty phenomenal, especially when you hit an angled surface, and you become stretched and distorted as you run. It looks nice too - the environments are colorful, bright, and dreamlike, and the shadows are believable extensions of the physical structures.
Some of the platforming we played was of the standard jump, climb, and avoid spikes fare, but certain challenges required clever geometric thinking. In one level, we used our little onscreen helper-buddy, Spangle, to rotate objects, changing their silhouettes and creating new platforms. Another level allowed us to move the light source itself, making big gaps small. Bonus levels, called Shadow Corridors, are scattered throughout the game, and allow you to rotate the entire structure of the level (rotate it the wrong way and you're engulfed in the cold, blue darkness).
The two levels we played seemed a little short, and offered some challenge, but forgave every mistake... but we only played two levels. It's a well-realized, charming concept, and assuming we've only just seen the start, it could be high on our list of recommendations when it's released later this year.
Apr 9, 2010