News Article

First Impressions: Lost in Shadow

Posted by Corbie Dillard

We take Hudson's new platformer for a spin

It doesn't take a genius to see that Hudson's upcoming Lost in Shadow release isn't your typical run-of-the-mill platformer. Not only does the game feature a protagonist that's not even a real person, rather his shadow, it also features some absolutely mesmerizing audio and visuals to further make it stand out from the crowd.

Hudson was kind enough to send over a preview build of the game and after spending a couple of hours with it, it's clear that the developers were going for something a little different when they put this unique platformer together and the end result is a game that's as interesting as it is playable.

To begin with, you don't actually control a character, rather you control his shadow. By the same token, you won't run along the actual platforms and wires in the game, but rather their shadows. It might seem a bit confusing, but once you get the hang of watching the shadows instead of the actual platforms in the foreground, you'll soon find yourself maneuvering the levels like a pro. You move your shadow using the analog stick on the Nunchuk and move your tiny winged spirit, called a Spangle, around the screen using the pointer function of the Wii Remote.

As with most platformers you'll find bridges that collapse, moving platforms, and even railway cars to hitch a ride on in order to navigate your way through the game's many levels. When you start the game, you only have the ability to run and jump, although you can latch onto ledges and pull yourself up. Jumping is controlled with the "A" button on the Wii Remote.

Occasionally you'll reach platforms that are out of reach or present a dead end and it's then that you must use the Wii Pointer to search around the screen with your Spangle spirit. If you're able to locate a switch with the Spangle, you can then activate it by pressing the "B" button on the Wii Remote. You can even ride on some of these moving platforms that you activate in order to reach previously unreachable areas.

Your main objective in each level is to locate the three Monitor Eyes that are carefully placed around each area. You'll have to have all three Eyes if you're to break down the Shadow Wall at the end of the level and progress to the next area. Along the way you'll have to deal with many puzzle elements, not to mention a wide array of enemies that must be either avoided or dispatched. As you progress through the game's levels, you'll soon come across a Rusty Sword that will then allow your character to attack and defeat many of these enemies. The levels increase in difficulty fairly quickly, so you'll have to really be on your toes in order to traverse some of the later sections of the tower.

As if all of the moving platforms and puzzle elements weren't enough to deal with, you'll also have to make use of the various light sources in order to bend and move shadows. These range from a simple horizontal or vertical slider that you can adjust using your Spangle, to actual lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling that you can click on and swing back and forth. Anytime you move light, it affects all of the shadows around you. In fact, sometimes this will be the only way you'll be able to progress through a specific section, at least if you can figure out how to do it.

Another unique area you'll be able to explore are the Shadow Corridors. In these unique caves you'll have the power to rotate the levels around 90 degrees to the right or left in order to safely reach the exit. This is where the puzzle element of the game really starts to become challenging and you'll soon find yourself scratching your head while trying to figure out the best way to rotate the level without rotating a shadow on top of your own shadow, thus killing it. This aspect of the gameplay can be quite tricky, but adds a nice twist to the traditional platforming elements.

There are some absolutely gorgeous visuals in the game and enough hypnotic sound effects playing in the background to keep you thoroughly mesmerized throughout the adventure. Since there's really no music to speak of, you'll be able to really get into the actual mood of the game and experience the weird feeling of being in an alternate state of reality, just as your character's shadow is. It's actually quite impressive how the developers have accomplished it, but a nice touch added to an otherwise very enjoyable overall presentation.

We haven't seen a really solid 2D platformer pop up on the Wii lately, so that fact alone makes Lost in Shadow a highly-anticipated release. Couple that with the fact that the game is not only extremely well done from a gameplay standpoint, but also offers an almost surreal audio/visual experience and what you have is a game that could become one of the true sleeper hits for the Wii console. Although Hudson has been catering to the casual gaming audience as of late, this new platformer could just turn out to be the title the more hardcore platforming fans have been waiting for.

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User Comments (40)

SkullMan

#2

SkullMan said:

Oh bummer I thought this was a wiiware game...ala The Lostwinds. Hmm, if it's full retail I'll wait for a price drop.

thaantman

#4

thaantman said:

This game does look good, just not $40 good, I agree with irken004 this should of been a wiiware release, I may get this when the price is divided in half

Marvelousmoo

#6

Marvelousmoo said:

Yah, as long as it lasts long enough to be worth a retail, then it should be good. The visuals do look really nice, and the gameplay looks fun.

bro2dragons

#8

bro2dragons said:

why does everyone see 2D platformer and automatically assume it's a download? and why, when they discover otherwise, does it suddenly become not good enough, despite the actual quality of the game itself?? are 2D platformers not "full" or "real" games anymore???

i, for one, am really looking forward to this, and will likely buy it full price if i have the money, come launch time. yeah, there are others (Kirby, DK) i'm a bit more excited about... but this sounds really good, too, and if my budget can handle it, it'll be worth it to support the developer's efforts. besides i think i'll be getting a good deal for $40.

Spoony_Tech

#9

Spoony_Tech said:

This does look good and been on my radar for a while! I will wait for a review first before plunging money into this as there is so much else to buy this year! Dos this remind you of ico or what!

liammiller18

#10

liammiller18 said:

Having played this game on the streets of Akihabara, I must say that all you naysayers proclaiming it to be worth ten bucks are full of crap. This is a high-quality platformer with great ideas and a marvelous atmosphere. It deserves every penny it can get.

accc

#11

accc said:

The first four commenters are prime examples of why the videogame industry is going down the toilet. Here we have a game which is unique, ambitious and looks outstanding, yet they don't want to pay more than $10 or $20 for it because it's a sidescroller.
no need to be super-harsh about it -- TBD

NeoShinobi

#12

NeoShinobi said:

I really like the look of this game. I probably won't buy it at release but i'll deffinetly keep an eye on it.

irken004

#13

irken004 said:

@acc What IS pushing the industry forward then? I think the answer is downloadable titles. Besides, the Wii is already getting more sidescrolling titles that will most likely sell better than this. (Namely KEY and DKCR.)

theblackdragonAdmin

#14

theblackdragon said:

guys, we don't even know how much this game will actually cost. there's a good chance it'd just be a budget title or something. Also, perhaps it's too big for a WiiWare game? I'd rather something like this go to disc than have to be chopped up or pared down for WiiWare...

accc

#15

accc said:

@irken004 Maybe you could argue that the DD model is pushing the industry forward on other platforms (even though I don't agree; I think there's still room for stuff other than me-too first person shooters at retail), but that certainly isn't the case for Wiiware due to the puny file size limit. Just out of curiosity, do you think KEY and DKCR would be better as downloadable games, and if not then what makes you think differently of Lost In Shadow? It certainly seems to be even more ambitious, and hence even less suitable for Wiiware, than something like DKCR or NSMB Wii to me (although I gladly paid/will pay full retail price for both of those).

WaLzgiStaff

#16

WaLzgi said:

I'll have to agree with bro2dragons and accc on this one.

I do not see why any 2d platformer is any worse than a shooter or an RPG. Need I remind you all that New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii and DS are 2D platformers? Why were they not downloads?

Objection

#17

Objection said:

I prefer disc games anyway. I look forward to the review, but I'll admit I'm just as much a cheap frugal person as some of the other posters here.

Amorous_Badger

#18

Amorous_Badger said:

On the grounds that I was willing to buy the stunning-but-criminally short 'Ico', I'd buy this if it's heading for full release.

Assuming it reviews well of course.

Pod

#19

Pod said:

The first four comments are people who say they think it's too expensive?

You guys don't even know how big a game it is! Sheesh.

Axoloth

#20

Axoloth said:

Corbie you ever played Ico? This game sorta gives me a Ico feeling, wondering if it really does have such a vibe about it?

Incognito_D

#21

Incognito_D said:

I have to agree with most of the replies here - just because something's a 2D platformer, why does that automatically mean it has to be a Wii Ware release? Some of my favourite games this generation have been 2D platformers (Wario Land, A Boy and His Blob, New Super Mario Bros, and Donkey Kong Country still to come)

JarredBuzzo

#22

JarredBuzzo said:

How can anybody say that it's a WiiWare release without playing it? You don't know the size or scope of the game, end of story.

Deviant_Mugen

#23

Deviant_Mugen said:

This game just keeps looking better and better; I've had my eye on it since that NP preview issue and, assuming I have the money, I'll be buying it on release day...

Regarding the argument, I'm also on the "2D platformers shouldn't be pigeonholed into WiiWare" side...

2D platformers rule! Good day...

NintyMan

#24

NintyMan said:

Very interesting concept. I'll keep an eye on this one and hope that I can get it even with all the games coming out this year. This is no easy time to be cheap or tight.

Incognito_D

#27

Incognito_D said:

I'm really quite interested in this game. Seems strange that there seems to be so little info about it and yet it's out at the end of next week. Anyway, I hope it turns out to be a quality title and I'll definitely pick it up if this is the case.

Ren

#29

Ren said:

ditto on the "stop whining" comments. A good game is a good game. WW games are also great but smaller file sizes, thats really the only difference, it's not where short or "simpler" games are arbitrarily relegated to.
Sadly, though, I'm personally on such a limited budget that lately the pricepoint alone keeps me from buying new retail games very often so I usually only get WW unless its something massive on replayability. I wish that wasn't so, but it's just simple economics for me.

EdEN

#30

EdEN said:

I paid $40 for A Boy and his Blob (another great 2D game everyone should own and is only $20 at the moment at Gamestop) and will gladly pay $40 for Lost in Shadow.

MeloMan

#31

MeloMan said:

I do wonder how big this game is though... I see some impressive graphics, but then some scenes I've seen seem on par with Dive: The Medes Island Secret, so I dunno if this could've been done for WiiWare or not. Ah well, main thing is as long as it's a good game then that's all that's required.

I however will wait for the bargain bin, money doesn't come easy these days. :)

timp29

#35

timp29 said:

I agree with some of the earlier comments. This is just too grand a scale for wiiware, but probably not enough for retail. Looks good though. May even become a cult classic, it is certainly original enough even if it sounds kinda like prince of persia.

Boonehams

#36

Boonehams said:

Lost in Shadow, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby's Epic Yarn... man, 2D platformers are making a HUGE comeback, and I couldn't be happier!

SMW

#37

SMW said:

Great hands on. I'm getting Lost in Shadow on day one. (Preordered a month ago.) Definitely looks worth the 40 bucks.

Be sure to check out the developer blog here: http://people.ign.com/lost_in_shadow/blog
I love how work started on this game due to a childhood memory.

imapterodactyl

#38

imapterodactyl said:

I've played the Japanese version, and the game is really a lot of fun. There are a lot of ways to manipulate shadows. You can swing hanging lamps, move objects within the level, and sometimes even rotate the entire area in order to drastically alter your shadow area. There's really nothing out there like it. Well, Shadow Physics I guess, but this is more polished and intuitive, and I think it started production before Shadow Physics did. The shadow monsters are pretty cool, too. It's definitely very ICO-esque. The environments, your clumsy handling of the sword, and even the feel of your movements, but in 2d. Even the monsters are made of black smoke like ICO (well, shadows, but they look the same). And when the game goes 3d here and there, your 3d character is very similar to a boy version of ICO's girl. I thought it was a rip-off, but upon playing it, it's really a very well done homage (there's no denying where they got their inspiration), and there was definitely a lot of love put into making it. It's addictive, but you can also easily pick up and play for five minutes here and there and actually accomplish something.

CorbsAdmin

#39

Corbs said:

I liked it so much, I just bought a Japanese Wii and the Japanese release of the game. No way I can wait until January 2011 for this one. :)

OldBoy

#40

OldBoy said:

I'm gonna have to wait for a price drop (too many great games on all platforms at the mo) but this looks fantastic and the idea of being the shadow is genius!! Hudson you still rock!!

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