by: Tally "xelissa" Callahan
As Lost in Shadow opens, you witness a dramatic cut scene where a tied-up boy’s shadow is cut from his body on the top of a massive tower. His shadow is thrown off the tower where it falls all the way to the ground. Woken by a sprite called a spangle, the boy’s shadow starts the long trek back to the top of the tower. This is where his desperate adventure to figure out what happened and what’s going on begins.
Most levels in Lost in Shadow have the same basic format: you traverse 1-3 floors per level (the tower has over 50 floors) collecting “memories” (when you acquire them you get a brief sentence or two that reveals a little more about the state of things and also boosts your “weight” in the game which corresponds to health) and “monitor eyes.” There are three monitor eyes per level which feature them and you must collect them all in order to progress to the next level. Each level has you manipulating light and shadows in creative ways in order to progress (e.g. moving a light source via the spangle so the shadows are cast slightly differently, allowing you to get to places which were previously too far away). At its heart, Lost in Shadow is really a puzzle platformer, but it does feature some simple combat. There are a good amount of creatures scattered throughout the levels which can actually hurt you quite a bit. Defeating them is simply a matter of timing your strikes right and running back when they’re about to strike. These enemies drop health and xp orbs (level boosts the damage of your sword) making it worthwhile to defeat them, but not crucial if you just rather skip some of them.
Lost in Shadow has a lot of good things going for it. The game looks attractive on the Wii and the motion features are used appropriately without being overused. The light and shadow mechanics are utilized cleverly and the puzzles are never overly frustrating. It also has a suitably spooky atmosphere, which I appreciated.
There are a couple of mild complaints I have with the game, however. While there’s a good amount of mixing which mechanics are being used per level, sometimes I felt that I’d like to see new mechanics faster to keep the experience fresh. Also, when you die, none of your progress is saved and you have to start from scratch at the beginning of a level. Since much of the time you spend the first time through a level is figuring out where you’re supposed to go, a good chunk of time is cut off from any subsequent attempt you make at the level; however, it can still be pretty frustrating when you died right before the end of the level just because you missed a dodge from an enemy.
All in all, Lost in Shadow is an aesthetically-pleasing platformer with a good amount of content. While it has its own small flaws, these shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the game if you’re interested in a platformer where you can manipulate the environment in creative ways.