Review by Raserei Hojo
"A hidden gem for the Wii; climb to the top of the tower!"
Lost in Shadow is a story with a simple plot - get to the top of the tower! But that's not all there is to it. Enemy shadows block the way to the top and nearly all of the gates that lead to the higher floors are locked! You have to unlock the gates and pass through shadow walls to reach the higher floors of the tower. That's not all, either! You have to collect the 90 memories of other shadows that are floating around the tower. They document the story of other shadows who made the same journey as you, so heed their warnings!
If you enjoy complex puzzles that take more than five minutes to complete, this isn't the game for you. The puzzles are simple enough (but not too simple) so that nearly any person who picks up this game would be able to solve the mandatory puzzles and beat the game. The game works by having you (a shadow) collect Memories which increases your weight as a shadow.
When you defeat an enemy, you're rewarded with both experience points and health points which makes leveling up and keeping your health at a healthy level quite manageable. While the focus is getting to the top of the tower, the other focus is collecting Memories, of which there are 90. Most of them are found along the way to the top of the tower, but a handful of them are hidden in clever locations. Finding them all is more of a challenge than completing the game itself!
The controls are fairly basic with nothing too complex. The combat system is a simple swing-and-bash style and you use the Wiimote to point at certain objects to manipulate them. Controlling the character is easy, but it can be disorienting to watch the shadows of the environment as opposed to watching the physical material itself. Walking through the real world can, at times, be a little laggy, but it's hardly noticeable. The loading times are quick and the stages move from short to long to a running frenzy, so you won't get bored of the same old thing over and over.
The story of the game could literally be summed up in two short ideas: the boy's shadow is cut away; the boy climbs the tower to get his body back. While there is a bit more to it than that, there's nothing complicated about it.
There are a limited number of cutscenes and the ones that give you a spoonful of story are few and far between. That said, the story itself is pretty compelling. The game tells the story of the tower as you progress to the higher floors. It gives you enough to make you want more and compels you to move higher in the tower to learn the full story as well as to find out if the boy will be successful in reclaiming his body. Considering the game starts with zero explanation for what's happening, you quite literally go from knowing absolutely nothing to understanding why certain things happened and why certain things are happening as you progress through the game.
The graphics are average; nothing spectacular, but enough to placate anyone whose main focus is to play for the story instead of shiny cutscenes. Because the game works in an unusual way with your character walking only on shadows for the majority of the game, it's clear that a lot of work was put into the way the shadows move. You can manipulate light at certain points in the game and the way the shadows bend is incredibly realistic, especially when they skew because of the camera angle or a platform jutting out of the tower walls.
As for the sound, it can't be said that the game has a stellar soundtrack. In fact, there are only a handful of music tracks in the game. It's generally quiet, serene, and very atmospheric. When the game moves to a more frenzied level, the music shifts appropriately, giving you the feeling that you could be in danger at any moment.
Depending on if you want to collect everything or just beat the game, it's easily beatable in about 7~15 hours in a first playthrough. However, because half of the game is collecting items and the story is minimal, its replay value isn't very high. After you finish the game once, there's no need to play it again. That doesn't mean it can't be played again, but chances are you'll play it out of nostalgia rather than to get anything new out of it.
Final Recommendation - This game would be a great addition to almost any collection. It's a story that can be understood across generations and that makes it relatable for gamers of all ages. It has a short playtime, but playing through this game is a rewarding experience.
If you like puzzle platformers or know someone who does, then buy this game or at least borrow it from a friend!
Play Time/Replayability: 6/10
It's definitely worthwhile to get it while you can before it becomes hard to find! It has all the markings of a true classic that you won't regret purchasing and playing.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 01/04/11
Game Release: Kage no Tou (JP, 07/22/10)
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