Lost in Shadow – Preview
A WiiNintendo game preview by JHardin1112.
“There is a Tower that rises above all in an alternate world.”
I’ll admit at first glance I was skeptical of Hudson’s Lost In Shadow. I wondered if this was just another platformer with nothing new to offer. While playing through Lost In Shadow (WARNING: Bad Pun Ahead!) would I in fact just be chasing shadows? I can assure you this is not the case. After having played through the demo of Lost In Shadow I am no longer a skeptic. In fact, Lost In Shadow truly is an innovative platformer that will keep you engaged, challenged, and most importantly, entertained throughout your journey.
Gameplay & Controls
Lost In Shadow begins with a cutscene, high in the air, circling around the outside of a desolate tower. As the camera circles around the corner, you see a young boy imprisoned between two pillars at the edge of a landing. From out of the darkness of a doorway on the tower, a dark figure robed in black steps out. As he stands before the boy, a sword materializes in his hand and he slices at the boy, separating the shadow from the boy’s body. The figure grabs the boy’s shadow and drops him off the side of the tower. In the gardens outside of the tower, you are awakened by a winged sylph known as “Spangle”, (a mythological character, similar to a fairy) and you now have control over both the boy and Spangle. Welcome to Lost in Shadow.
Darth Vader has nothing on this guy.
Players assume control of the boy’s shadow on its way to reclaim the boy’s body from the top of the tower. You won’t be without help though. You are able to control Spangle, the winged sylph, using the Wii remote pointer and B button. Spangle can be used to rotate physical objects in the foreground, which open blocked areas or create new pathways for the shadow to traverse. Also, she can be used to change the direction of a light source, thus allowing the player to progress. You control the shadow with the nunchuck while pressing A to jump, B to attack/flip switches, and Z to read/access memories. Your health consists of your weight in grams, which is the weight of your shadow. As you progress through each level, you will come across memories. Once you obtain them, the memories will increase your weight by a slight percentage.
The first 10 minutes or so are designed without any enemies or weapons in order to get you accustomed to the controls and style of the game. The first time I played, there were a couple of times I was too busy paying attention to the foreground as I made jumps, and not paying enough attention to the shadows, thus ending in me plummeting to my death. However, the good thing about making mistakes, is that the game is forgiving. When you don’t clear a jump or you rotate the stage in the wrong direction and obliterate your shadow, the game will return you to where you were before you died, with only a fraction of your health gone. Once you deplete all your health is when you will see a Game Over screen. In order to complete each stage and progress to the next area, you must unlock the Shadow Wall at the end by finding all 3 of the Monitor Eyes (think Lens of Truth) If you touch the wall before obtaining all 3 Monitor Eyes, you will take damage.
You will also be faced with what are called Shadow Corridors, which are areas completely separate from the real world. These areas involve puzzle elements, including stage rotation, in order to pass them. Once you do, you will obtain experience.
That’s right, I said experience. If your interest wasn’t piqued before (it should have been!), then it will be now. You level up in this game as you destroy enemies and complete the Shadow Corridors. Your attack and defense will increase, making enemies a little easier to take down, especially the larger enemies.
Each stage is setup as a basic side-scrolling level with some vertical platforming involved. You are able to explore and backtrack. Since there is only one clear way to exit each level, the only point of backtracking is if you miss a memory.
The difficulty comes in three flavors: Easy, Normal, Hard. I played the game on Normal and only died a couple of times.
The controls are simple, tight, and responsive. I never missed a ledge when I expected to grab it, or didn’t make a jump that I was paying attention to. You can expect to pick this game up and play it right away without any trouble.
Visuals & Sound
The visuals have an almost ethereal quality about them. And while the character himself doesn’t have many defining characteristics, it is the environments and the shadows which stand out the most. The entire game has a softened look to it. Where the sun is shining, it is bright and the shadows look realistic. There were a few key shots of the outside base of the tower. The design was intricate and detailed with what looked like an atrium with numerous glass panel coverings. The visuals so far having been very pleasing and easy on the eyes.
Not much can be said about the music and sounds as they are minimalistic, like softly blowing wind. Since it is subtle, it doesn’t become boring or too quiet. The world that has been created is engaging and will draw you in, if you let it happen.
Concluding Overall Impressions
This is a fun and engaging game. I am not reminded of any other games while playing. However, I have heard others compare it to Ico. The visuals are pleasing and impressive. The difficulty is moderate and adjustable. It will challenge players, particularly in later levels, as you are faced with an increasing number of enemies. I am eagerly looking forward to purchasing the full version of this game and ascending the tower when it releases on January 4, 2011.
FINAL SCORE – BUY IT!
Gameplay Videos – First 30 minutes of Lost In Shadow