Lost In Shadow Hands-On Preview

Lost In Shadow

Platformers are always looking for new ways to renovate the genre, most of the time with middling results. For every Braid, there’s a dozen games that didn’t get it right.

Lost in Shadow, coming soon from Hudson, looks to avoid becoming one of those dozen, creating a world where the player plays, for the first ever I’m sure, a shadow. Instead of playing on the platforms and ledges that are in the foreground, you are instead traveling on their shadows, as a boy whose shadow was ripped from his body. This creates a dilemma: does seeing the platforms while jumping on their shadows create a visual difficulty that will affect overall enjoyment? The answer is, well, sometimes.

Controlling the game is simple: run, jump, push, pull, and so on. There are some collectibles, some of which you are required to get before continuing, but nothing that is so ridiculous that you’ll never move on. The visual effect of being in the background did trip me up more than once, but luckily it was never in a place where I ended up dying because of it. It’d be something, for instance, where I’d jump and think I was landing on the platform but instead land on the platform’s shadow, causing me to be like, "Whoa, what the hell? Oh yeah, I forgot." What is cool is how the shadow’s actions can affect the real world; for example, if the boy pulls the shadow of a lever, the actual platform it controls will still move, allowing his to pass or reach another area.

LiS screen

Another aspect of the game’s control is the sylph, a butterfly-looking creature that the player controls by pointing the Wii Remote. This function allows the player to create new platforms for the boy to traverse. When the player points at the screen, the sylph will react when something can be altered. By pressing and holding B, the action will take place, allowing for further exploration. It’s a unique feature, a pointing tool much more effective than other platformers, that will help players get through this shadowy world.

The story, as I alluded to earlier, is quite interesting. You play as a boy’s shadow, separated from its host body, on a quest to rejoin his normal form. The stages are complex, ranging from lush fields with waterfalls to construction sites with heavy machinery. I get the sense that this will be more of a Braid-esque platformer, with more emphasis on the puzzle, than a Super Mario Bros.-style where enemies will constantly be in your way. (I know Braid had enemies, but you know what I mean.)

Lost In Shadow seems primed to be a sleeper hit, and with a January 4th release date, it will also set a high standard for 2011, a time that already looks to be a great gaming year.


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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