Official Nintendo Magazine

Log in to access exclusive Nintendo content, win prizes and post on our forums. Not a member yet? Join for free

A Shadow's Tale review

Can a glimmer of initial promise shine through?

A Shadow's Tale setup is both simple and rather ingenious. You play as a boy's shadow as he attempts to climb a huge tower to regain his mortal vessel, which is imprisoned at the top. This one quirk adds a whole new dimension to the basic run-and-jump platforming formula.

Not only do you have to carefully time your jumps and slash away at enemies with your sword, but you also have to pay attention to the light source, since that's what is providing you with your platforms. After all, you're a shadow - you don't walk on the platforms themselves, but the shadows that those platforms project. Duly, you'll spend much of your time fiddling around with and moving items to ensure the light casts the correct shadows for you to progress.

Click to view larger image
Illuminating Ideas

For the first few hours of play, it's a delightfully fresh approach that had us waxing lyrical about how reminiscent it was of Amiga classics such as the original 2D Prince of Persia and Another World. Not only is it a really clever puzzling mechanic that's great fun to wrap your brain around, but it looks absolutely bewitching too. The lonely, solemn environments, eerie soundtrack and bizarre creatures give the game a feel unlike any other.

Only after the umpteenth lever switch does the realisation dawn that the beauty is only skin deep. The unfortunate truth is that A Shadow's Tale takes its brilliant central idea and then spreads it disappointingly thin. There are precious few gear changes, no real set pieces to get the pulse racing and no new gameplay elements introduced to keep things interesting. It's a game that appears irresistible at first sight, but whose charms quickly wear off.

Ultimately, if this were a three-hour-long, 1,000 point WiiWare download, we'd have been first in line to shower it with praise. Its minimalist, artsy approach is absolutely perfect for the service, and it's not like there are too many lush cinematic setpieces to gobble up the file size either. We'd wager it would have found a much more enthusiastic audience on WiiWare than it will in the ruthless high street marketplace.

For some strange reason, though, Konami has decided to push this out at full price and bloat its length to the point where our initial goodwill almost entirely evaporated. There are some brilliant, affecting and ambitious moments to be enjoyed here, but you'll be reaching for the Wii's off button long before its makers intended.

This is an edited version of a review that appears in issue 61 of Official Nintendo Magazine. For more in-depth analysis, screenshots and boxouts, buy the magazine here.

Comments

12 comments so far...
Add a comment

  1. imbusydoctorwho Friday 15th Oct 2010 at 12:13

    soon gets repetive a + ?
    anyway i might get this looks good

  2. Monkey Balls Friday 15th Oct 2010 at 12:41

    I imagined this game would get a review like this. It looks to have gameplay in a similar vein as Prince of Persia (which is no bad thing), but I did wonder if the novelty would be sustained. Hm... I might purchase it in a few months if it goes down in price.

  3. Danikat Friday 15th Oct 2010 at 14:40

    I've been interested in this game since I first heard about it (in ONM) but I have to admit I did keep wondering whether it wasn't really just another platformer.

    I'll probably still get it, and probably still enjoy it. It just won't be one of those games I can play for hours on end. (Which isn't bad, I could do with some more games that don't eat my life.)

  4. sciqueen Friday 15th Oct 2010 at 14:55

    Aw, I was looking forward to this game :( Oh well, I'll just buy something else!

  5. clarkie123 Friday 15th Oct 2010 at 15:08

    Odd that you've marked it down for being repetitive and samey, yet:

    It never overuses one element or another, never dropping in a particular type of light or switch puzzle too often and changing things up just as you begin to suspect it's getting gimmicky. The core novelty of its gameplay never wears off...


    Strange that two reviews would say things so different.
    :?

  6. Chetters Friday 15th Oct 2010 at 15:12

    i think this will be a "buy a year later second hand" because the sales will be crap and then the price will hopefully drop like a stone.

  7. OrangeRakoon Friday 15th Oct 2010 at 16:15

    Odd that you've marked it down for being repetitive and samey, yet:

    It never overuses one element or another, never dropping in a particular type of light or switch puzzle too often and changing things up just as you begin to suspect it's getting gimmicky. The core novelty of its gameplay never wears off...


    Strange that two reviews would say things so different.
    :?

    Apart from they're not different, they're the same.

    Both agree that the core idea repeats itself. The only difference is in opinion - the ONM review saying they found it repetitive while the IGN review saying they liked the lack of gimmicks. Opinions are different.

  8. DON 4 Friday 15th Oct 2010 at 16:18

    i loved the first conduit despite the hacking online. im also really hoping their not letting the story go bad in place of the gameplay tho

  9. clarkie123 Friday 15th Oct 2010 at 17:15

    Odd that you've marked it down for being repetitive and samey, yet:

    It never overuses one element or another, never dropping in a particular type of light or switch puzzle too often and changing things up just as you begin to suspect it's getting gimmicky. The core novelty of its gameplay never wears off...


    Strange that two reviews would say things so different.
    :?

    Apart from they're not different, they're the same.

    Both agree that the core idea repeats itself. The only difference is in opinion - the ONM review saying they found it repetitive while the IGN review saying they liked the lack of gimmicks. Opinions are different.


    Eh?
    The fact is ONM said it's repetitive. IGN said it isn't.

  10. OrangeRakoon Saturday 16th Oct 2010 at 00:22

    Odd that you've marked it down for being repetitive and samey, yet:

    It never overuses one element or another, never dropping in a particular type of light or switch puzzle too often and changing things up just as you begin to suspect it's getting gimmicky. The core novelty of its gameplay never wears off...


    Strange that two reviews would say things so different.
    :?

    Apart from they're not different, they're the same.

    Both agree that the core idea repeats itself. The only difference is in opinion - the ONM review saying they found it repetitive while the IGN review saying they liked the lack of gimmicks. Opinions are different.


    Eh?
    The fact is ONM said it's repetitive. IGN said it isn't.

    Yes, that is correct. What's your point?

  11. SuperLuigiBros Saturday 16th Oct 2010 at 10:35

    i loved the first conduit despite the hacking online. im also really hoping their not letting the story go bad in place of the gameplay tho


    The conduit?

    I won't be getting this, NGamer gave it 83% though so there was a clash of taste there as well

  12. clarkie123 Saturday 16th Oct 2010 at 11:13

    Odd that you've marked it down for being repetitive and samey, yet:

    It never overuses one element or another, never dropping in a particular type of light or switch puzzle too often and changing things up just as you begin to suspect it's getting gimmicky. The core novelty of its gameplay never wears off...


    Strange that two reviews would say things so different.
    :?

    Apart from they're not different, they're the same.

    Both agree that the core idea repeats itself. The only difference is in opinion - the ONM review saying they found it repetitive while the IGN review saying they liked the lack of gimmicks. Opinions are different.


    Eh?
    The fact is ONM said it's repetitive. IGN said it isn't.

    Yes, that is correct. What's your point?


    My point is that its odd that two reviews can say such different things. It's not really an opinion if something is repetitive or not. Either it is or it isn't, surely?

Register or log in to commment
Add a comment
Nintendo Co., Ltd. is the owner of certain copyright which subsists and trade marks and other intellectual property rights in certain content, characters, artwork, logos, scripts and representations used in this publication. All rights are expressly recognised and they are used by Future Publishing Limited under licence © 2006 Nintendo Co., Ltd. All rights reserved. "Nintendo", "International Nintendo Licensed Product" "Nintendo DS", "Nintendo DS Lite", "Nintendo DSi", "Nintendo 3DS", "Nintendo DSi XL", "Nintendo 3DS XL", "Wii" and "Wii U" and the associated logos are the trademarks of Nintendo Co. Ltd. All rights reserved.