I did not originally plan to review this game, but one night I just kinda sat down and felt like playing a nice, simple puzzle game. So, I picked up In My Shadow and, well, it’s bit more than just your everyday simplistic puzzle game.
So since this is a puzzle game, I’ll start there. The puzzle design in In My Shadow has a few hiccups but is pretty good for the most part. It makes use of shadows and you basically have to maneuver objects in such a way as to cast a shadow so your little shadow person can collect all the shinies and make it to the end of the level. A simple setup, but one the game executes well. You start with tables, blocks, and other small objects, but eventually get to work with destructible objects, chairs that can be rotated, and even portals.
And then there’s the fact that the puzzles go from one wall to two, so then you have to figure out an object’s shadows in two places. The game has a nice difficulty curve like this, introducing these new mechanics across its 50 puzzles at just the right pace that they don’t become overwhelming, yet still offer up a nice challenge. The difficulty was never to the point where I needed a walkthrough, but I won’t deny there were a couple that may have taken me twenty or so attempts. Most of them took well under that though, rounding out the experience to just under three hours.
For a puzzle game like this, I find that to be a decent length. It is short enough that it doesn’t overstay its welcome, yet long enough that you get to fully explore each mechanic. The only complaint I have there is that there is one mechanic introduced at the end that only had a half-dozen or so puzzles to it – I would have liked to see that one fleshed out more. Otherwise though, the gameplay is fine.
The story is also important to the game, but it comes with some pros and some cons. It’s good in that it felt really personal, like the developer was trying to tell a story of their own childhood (although I don’t actually know if that is the case here). However, it’s not so good in that it feels completely detached from the gameplay. You get the cutscenes in-between puzzles, but otherwise it is like the story exists as its own thing, rather than something tied into the gameplay. You could almost completely separate the two and hardly notice the difference, which was a bit disappointing to me, but maybe not so much to others.
Graphically, I wouldn’t say the game is anything special. I mean, the puzzles are literally shadows, so there isn’t much to look at there. It’s not bad, but not something to remember the game by. The same can be said for the music, which is mostly ambient piano stuff and I can hardly remember any of it. Again, not bad, but not enough to leave an impression.
On the technical front, there are a few things to mention. For one, I had no issues running the game at 1440p and 144 fps. I had no issues with crashes, fps drops, stuttering, or anything like that – so A+ on the performance front. Controls are also fine on both controller and keyboard and mouse, although both do not appear to be rebindable, so you’re stuck with the defaults.
And while I didn’t run into any bugs, I did run into a few things that are somewhat close. The movement, for example, could feel floaty at times and jittery at others. The latter is really noticeable when trying to jump on a very small ledge, resulting in failed jumps or me simply falling off. Hitboxes are also a bit of an issue. Due to the nature of the gameplay, regular objects blend in with hazards. So if you have a millimeter of spikes poking up through your chair, you will die to it even if it is practically invisible. And there are some hazards that simply have larger hitboxes than what their shadow would suggest. Minor issues, but issues nonetheless.
In My Shadow is a competent puzzle game all things considered, with clever puzzle design and a nice learning curve tying it all together. It may be a bit rough around the edges in some parts and the story may have its ups and downs, but I did enjoy my time with it and would recommend it to other puzzle game fans.
Quote: In My Shadow is a competent puzzle game all things considered, with clever puzzle design and a nice learning curve tying it all together – even if it is a bit rough around the dges.
You can buy In My Shadow on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.