Mr. Shadow Review
Mr. Shadow Review
Pixel-hunting aside, I would still recommend this game to patient adventurers. It is a fairly short game for those with a good eye, and the price is right.
Posted: 12/17/16 | Category: Review | Developer: Bycomb | Publisher: Bycomb | Platform: Windows

Developed by: Bycomb
Release date: November 17, 2016 
Genre: Point-and-Click Adventure
Reviewed on: Windows 10

The Stuff of Nightmares
 

Mr. Shadow is a surreal 2D point-and-click adventure that goes to the heart of a child’s fear of the dark. It was developed by Bycomb, an indie development group working from Spain. Game credits include only five names which is a true testament to the talents of this small team.

I was one of those children who knew there were monsters under my bed, kept only at bay by a night light. For years, I was unable to sleep with a closet door open because of the shapes that hanging objects assumed in the dark.  Thus, I took delight in the opening scene of Mr. Shadow. A child is sleeping in a normal bedroom, surrounded by books, toys, and stuffed animals.

MrShadInTxt1

The child’s room includes a toy chest that provides a portal between the real world and the land of shadows and nightmares. Upon entering this portal, you are transported to six additional scenes, each of which uses a theme from the original bedroom to create some very scary places. The shadow world is heightened by a soundtrack of music and effects that captures the very essence of things going bump in the night.the window lets in the darkness and the familiar turns menacing in a heartbeat. Bycomb does an exceptional job of capturing the effect of shadows in the room. A stuffed alligator becomes a gaping maw, a headboard becomes a menacing presence, and other toys become looming, shifting objects of terror. Even the child’s own shadow becomes something to fear. And, as in real life, turning a light on temporarily dispels some of the darkness.

MrShadInTxt2

Opening the window lets in the darkness and the familiar turns menacing in a heartbeat. Bycomb does an exceptional job of capturing the effect of shadows in the room. A stuffed alligator becomes a gaping maw, a headboard becomes a menacing presence, and other toys become looming, shifting objects of terror. Even the child’s own shadow becomes something to fear. And, as in real life, turning a light on temporarily dispels some of the darkness.

 
Only the Shadow Knows
 

In some ways, Mr. Shadow plays like an escape-the-room game, with each scene standing alone and requiring a mix of pixel-hunting and diverse problem-solving. Once you complete a scene, the next one is available to load and play. You can also return and replay any previously completed scene. However, no save capability is provided, so plan on starting the current scene over if you take a break.

The artwork is whimsical yet surreal. It is primarily done in shadow tones with color added as specific puzzles are solved. For the most part, the challenge is figuring out where to click and in what order to complete the tasks required to make your way across a scene.  Often, a hot spot will drop the child into a totally new scene that requires additional escape tactics. Hotspots are located by scanning the screen with your mouse. Hotspots activate and deactivate depending on what previous actions you have taken. So the entire screen must be scanned repeatedly to see what your next option might be. A spot is active when your cursor switches to a hand. Once the hand appears, an object may require one click, multiple clicks, click and hold, or click and drag. Some clicking must be timed perfectly and some clicking requires accurate aim. All-in-all, each scene is a unique mystery that unfolds one hotspot at a time.

This is where the game began to wear on me.  Some scenes required more than an hour of scanning and clicking which moved me one step closer to carpal tunnel syndrome. My breaking point was a scene where the active area was a black line that was about 2 pixels wide. I finally found this by using my mouse wheel to zoom in and examine each screen segment in greater detail.

MrShadInTxt3

 
Grasping at Shadows
 

I admit that I have mixed feelings about this game. I love the artwork, the animation, the soundtrack and the concept. I love the intellectual exercise of trying to figure out what a scene requires and the "ah-ha" moment when something works. But, I grew very weary of scanning screens for the elusive hand icon –- a task that occupied a high percentage of the almost six hours that I spent playing Mr. Shadow.

Pixel-hunting aside, I would still recommend this game to patient adventurers. It is a fairly short game for those with a good eye, and the price is right. In the end, the charm of the overall Mr. Shadow experience outweighs my personal frustration with the mechanics.

 
Grade: B
 
Surreal artwork coupled with original soundtrack creates a whimsical world of shadows
Puzzles are diverse. Each scene requires a unique approach to problem-solving.
 
- Lack of "mid-scene" save capability means repetitive play if a scene is exited prior to completion
- Be prepared to pixel-hunt (a lot!)
 
 Logo 
 
Trailer:
 
 
System Requirements
 
 
MINIMUM Windows:
OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP
Processor: 1.8GHz x86-compatible processor
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Storage: 100 MB available space
 
 
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