In My Shadow is a puzzle platformer from Playbae and Alcon Interactive Group. Players take on the role of Bella, who is in the process of recollecting her past. The game goes through multiple periods of Bella’s life and combines the narrative and gameplay in a fairly unique way. In My Shadow features a somber tone, with some interesting design choices. The game doesn’t solely rely on its narrative to keep you invested, which is one of the best parts of it. Our In My Shadow Review will go over what worked, and what didn’t in the game.
Story and Writing
The story is told in different types of cutscenes, some animated, and a few with static images. The main character, Bella, is essentially recalling different parts of her life that led her to her current position. The story is engaging for the most part, and we get to see Bella at a young age, interacting with people in different rooms.
Rooms are essentially used as a backdrop for the story, and as we’ll explain later, that works in the favor of the gameplay as well. The story being told isn’t exactly a deep one, but one that is presented well, with decent writing, and dialogue. There’s a lack of subtlety expressed in the narration, especially in the later sections, and that could have used some touching up.
The focus on estrangement, and the themes of people “falling apart” is what drives the story. Things are contextualized to a degree, and while it could certainly have been a bit longer, the game’s length and general pacing are adequate.
Gameplay and Controls
This is where the game truly shines. The developers were allowed to express themselves as competent designers. The game uses shadows, and perspective to create platforming sections and gives the player freedom to manipulate it. Each platform is essentially an object from the room you’re in, like a table, or a chair. You’re allowed to change the height, direction, and orientation in different puzzles, allowing you to create platforms for traversal.
Now, this can get a bit tricky, but I never looked up a solution. It’s challenging but fair, and after a few attempts, most players will understand what they have to do. Each room features a time period of Bella’s life, and the objects used for platforming are appropriate to that period.
The presentation is solid, and the animations for the main character and objects are nicely done. There’s nothing to complain about here, and the UI is helpful in almost every situation. This is by far, the best part of the game, and something the developers should take great pride in.
There are over 50 levels to go through, and that’s a lot to chew on, especially when a good majority of those were pretty creative in design. This is indeed the strongest part of our In My Shadow review.
Visuals and Audio
Admittedly, this is where the game struggled. The character models in this game, are not good. There’s obviously some effort put into diversifying them, but almost every single character model is poorly put together. Those can be highly distracting, and really put you out of the mood. A stronger art direction combined with a different character presentation would have worked far better.
While the character models aren’t exactly good, everything else is actually pretty nice. The rooms have a lot of detail, with different furniture, decorations, and the subtle use of lighting adds to the atmosphere. Of course, since the game relies on a light source to form shadows, it pulls that off very well. Again, everything apart from the character models are colorful, well animated, and has a decent variety.
The game has a bunch of sound effects and a constant soundtrack. The soundtrack especially stands out and matches the themes of the game very well. The quality of sound effects varies, but overall, there’s an impressive amount of effort put into these.
In My Shadow is a great puzzle platformer, and something we’d love to see more of. The game tells a very personal story with some blunt writing. While the character models are the weakest part of the game, the general presentation, and audio design are impressive throughout. The actual gameplay is refreshing and brings a lot of interesting ideas to the genre while delivering a polished experience. Recommended for people that like the platforming genre, and for those that want a pretty good story with it.
You can purchase In My Shadow at Steam from the following link. Make sure you check out our review for Inspector Waffles as well, in which we talk about a detective story featuring anthropomorphic characters.
What did you think of our In My Shadow review? Have you played the game too? Share your experience in the comments below.
This review is based on the PC version of In My Shadow. The key was provided by Alcon Interactive Group