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Lost In Shadow

Score: 95%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Hudson Soft
Developer: Hudson Soft
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Platformer (2D)/ Puzzle


Graphics & Sound:

Over the past few years, platformers have become more and more scarce. As someone who loves platformers, I've really missed them. The new Lost in Shadow is a breath of fresh air in a world where platformers are all but gone. Unlike a large portion of platformers, Lost in Shadow is very real graphically. The colors are muted tones that you would see in the real world instead of being bright and bubbly. This gives the overall effect of a wonderfully detailed world. Everything seems a bit gritty and realistic, not that you pay much attention to the real world. Since your character can only run on shadows, you'll get used to tuning out the amazing scenery and instead concentrating on the black shadows.

The background music and sounds in Lost in Shadow are a bit haunting, almost like you're in a horror movie and waiting on something bad to happen. Given that the enemies aren't very difficult and things really don't just jump out at you often, you'd think that that style music wouldn't fit the game, but it works rather well.


Gameplay:

Lost in Shadow opens with a very realistic-looking cut-scene where your character's shadow is separated from your character with a massive sword and thrown off the top of a giant tower. But since it's a shadow, it survives. Now you've got to figure out as the shadow how to get yourself back into your body. The journey isn't easy, though. It's a long way with lots of detours that you have to figure out how to manipulate the shadows correctly to pass through.

Lost in Shadow is a side-scrolling 2D platformer. As such, you can really only go forwards and backwards, jumping to reach new areas, falling off of platforms to get to hidden sections, crouching to crawl through smaller areas, and several other tricks of the trade. But there's no wandering around a 3D universe and really no way to get lost. You start at the beginning of a level and move forward until you reach the end. You will hit some detours, though. When you see a swirling black doorway, it is a Shadow Corridor. Sometimes they're not necessary to complete the level, but you probably should check them out to make sure. Plus, you gain experience when you go through them, so they're very handy for leveling up your shadow.

At first, you're going to think that Lost in Shadow is a game with no enemies. You won't reach any enemies until you get into the tower, which will take you about an hour, give or take. After you get inside, you'll first run into normal enemies. These guys have red eyes. You'll be able to kill them with a sword that you'll get near the beginning of the tower. Granted it's still a shadow, but it's perfect for killing shadows. You can attack while both jumping and crouching and I recommend that you make sure to learn both well as you're going to need them. You'll also find that you have to get pretty darn close to the things that you're attacking since your sword isn't very long. Further on in, you'll face more difficult enemies that your sword won't be able to kill. You'll have to figure out how to use the shadows on the board to kill them. It's a long way to the top of the tower, but if you keep on going, you'll make it eventually!


Difficulty:

Lost in Shadow provides three different difficult levels: Easy, Normal, and Hard. You can switch between these difficulty levels at any point during the game. What they change is the difficulty of the enemies, so if you're finding that those are preventing you from solving the board, then just lower the level.

The real difficulty in Lost in Shadow lies not in the enemies, but in solving the puzzle of how to collect the three Monitor Eyes that you need to get past the level, and how to get through the levels. Lost in Shadow is as much a puzzle game as it is a platformer. You'll have to figure out how to manipulate the shadows by moving the light source, turning the board, moving objects around, and many other tricks to get you to where you need to go. The good thing is that you have unlimited lives, so don't be afraid to explore. Sometimes you just have to take a blind leap of faith and jump off to find where you're going.


Game Mechanics:

It's very easy to get the hang of the controls in Lost in Shadow. You will need both a Wii-mote and the Nunchuk to play the game. The stick on the Nunchuk will move you around the board. The (B) button is going to be very important as you'll use it to attack enemies. Holding down (B) will search for areas that you can move objects in the real world. Your shadow has no control over the real world, but you have a little helper called Spangle that can move real world objects for you. Spangle can be very helpful, so use it often to search everywhere!

Pressing the (+) button will bring up the Pause Menu (which doesn't actually pause your game timer, so it's not really an appropriate name!). In the Menu, you'll see all sorts of things like the memories you've collected, your stats, and more. You can also see on a map of the tower how far you've progressed. It's a really long way to the top of the tower, so don't be surprised when you haven't made it very far.

If you're like me and really miss good puzzling platformers, you definitely need to pick up Lost in Shadow today. It's a wonderful 2D side-scroller that will keep you puzzled for hours.


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

Sony PlayStation 3 DC Universe Online Microsoft Xbox 360 Breach

 
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