Upplagd: 15 maj
Even though I liked the game overall, the entire experience was somewhat underwhelming. It has a lot of unused potential.
I liked the setting, art style, music, and most of all, the shadow-shifting mechanics. However, the entire thing feels like it needs a lot more polish to make it feel complete.
The story is kind of simplistic, character development is... weird (like that one scene where one character changes their mind by 180°)... You get hints of a back story in the form of collectibles, but they don't really reveal any coherent whole.
Then there are luminaries, which are still a mystery to me – you have to use two or three of them in each act to activate some kind of switch or whatever, but you can find a lot more of them throughout the game (like three times the amount you actually need). It feels like they were supposed to be used for something else that then got cut out of the game or something. And I still have no idea what they are at all.
There are a bunch of references to parallel universes, both in the final cut-scenes, and in some collectibles, but they don't really converge on any conclusion. They feel more like a cheap excuse for the existence of the main game mechanic, just slapped on the game without trying very hard to give it actual meaning.
Same with Dawn, the character you control – there are a couple of hints about her back story, with a “shocking” revelation at the end, but it fails miserably at making sense. Thinking about it, even her name is only mentioned a couple-three times throughout the entire game. That's about as much as you'll learn about her.
As for the actual gameplay, it wasn't terrible, but not breathtakingly good either. As I said earlier, shadow-shifting has a lot of potential for interesting and challenging puzzles, and there were a few of them too, but sometimes, you shift out of the shadow due to a glitch, or because the “dashing” ability is too random, forcing you to restart the same puzzle again and again.
The lighting, around which a major part of the game revolves, also seems to be made somewhat sloppily. It makes sense that detailed lighting and shading is disabled in areas far away from the playable character, but it gets reenabled too late – after you get into the area, suddenly, a light source appears just like that, with all the shadows. And the shadows themselves are quite glitchy as well – sometimes, your shadow on the floor doesn't match the wall at all, sometimes, your shadow gets stretched into the void... It's not that it doesn't work, but it only works well enough to make the game playable.
Other half-baked gameplay elements include grabbing ledges, which only works on a select few of them (and has a weird animation where Dawn's hands are a few centimeters away from the surface she's hanging onto), using objects inside shadows (especially moving them by moving the light source), or using the same awkward “interact” animation everywhere.
All in all, the game feels like an exciting demo of a potentially wonderful game. I don't think it's worth its full price, but go get it when it's 75% off. If I were to put this into numbers, I'd say 6/10.