There seems to be a common theme among 2D puzzle platformers, where oftentimes a harmless-looking boy tries desperately to reunite with something or someone that is dear to him. Lost in Shadow is about a youth whose shadow is severed from him and the silhouette is then discarded off the side of an immense tower. The goal of the game is to make your way back up to the top of the tower that you were just tossed from because the person that you're connected to is still captured there. Our first look at the game gave us an idea of what to expect in terms of the mechanics of the game and the puzzle elements.
In the opening cutscene, we saw a young silver-haired boy who was being held captive, dangling by his arms with his head down and tied between two large columns. The platform that he was chained to appeared to be at the top of some tower, and we watched as a masked, fully armored figure in a cape walked steadily toward the boy. As he got closer, a bizarre-looking sword materialized in his hand, and like an executioner, he used it to sever the shadow from the prisoner who was hanging helplessly. The shadow, now separated from its owner, was curled up into a fetal position. The armored fellow leaned over, picked up the shadow, and dropped it off the side of the tower.
Given that shadows don't have a ton of substance, there didn't seem to be any harm done as it fell to the ground. The shadow was greeted by a fairy with large butterfly wings that encouraged it to get back on its feet then proceeded to tag along as a guide and companion. Why the fairy was helping us out was unknown to us at that point, but as a shadow, we were unable to interact with anything in the foreground, so that's where the fairy came into the gameplay. As a silhouette, you can only run and jump along the shadows that are cast by objects in the area, so in order to help you get to where you need to go, the fairy will help move objects in the foreground to change the location of shadows in your environment.
Using the remote, you can control the fairy by pointing and pressing B when there are platforms to rotate. The camera angle can change as you progress, which is part of the challenge, so the path isn't always obvious because you'll have to adjust your perspective and there may be objects in the foreground that are distracting. In each stage, the goal is to collect the three key items that are placed throughout the level in order to remove the shadow wall that is blocking your exit. There 11 chapters and more than 50 stages in the game, as well as 30 shadow corridors located within some of the levels. These shadow corridors are shorter puzzles, represented by a swirling black portal, and they transport you to another smaller area where you need to find the way out. In these areas, you'll come across what looks like the DNA double helix, which can be used to rotate the camera in a 90-degree angle to help you find your path.
While you may be invincible when it comes to falling off buildings, you can get hurt by creepy spiders, as well as other traps and hazards. If your health reaches zero, you'll have to start the level over. Later in the game, you'll also be able to retrieve a sword to fend off red-eyed enemies that are trying to hinder your progress. Blue-eyed enemies can't be defeated by your sword, but there are other ways of getting rid of them by being creative with your surroundings. As you defeat enemies and complete shadow corridors, you'll gain health, as well as experience to increase your shadow's abilities. At first, the levels are pretty basic as you hop along the shadow of rafters and climb ladders. But as you enter the tower and go through an area that looks like a factory, some of the puzzles can get a bit tricky, as well as involve more complicated contraptions. At one point, we saw a horizontal and a vertical switch that let us change the direction of our light source, which in turn changed the shadows--as well as our perspective--in interesting ways. There seems to be a lot of experimentation involved that is similar to an elementary school science experiment where you try to get creative with shadow puppets.
Lost in Shadow looks to have some solid challenges to tackle, and even though you're traipsing along the shadows of metal beams or pipes, there was a comforting, dreamlike quality to the areas that we explored because of the lighting in the game. It feels like it's always sunset in Lost in Shadow because of the warm glow and the long shadows that are being cast onto the background. Before reaching the levels that take place in the tower, there is a nice view of the quiet countryside as you approach the building. Once you're inside, you lose the greenery and rolling hills in favor of stone walls. But there's a magical quality that seems to stick with you the entire way through because of the lighting and shadows. The build we saw didn't have all the translations in yet, but we were told that there are memory spots where you'll be able to learn more about the story as you go through the levels.
We'll update you with more information about Lost in Shadow as soon as it becomes available. Look for the game when it is released this fall on the Nintendo Wii.