Shadow Puppeteer Review
Shadow Puppeteer Review
Its unique control system and beautiful design makes it one of those refreshing new games that makes reviewing fun.
Posted: 10/08/14 | Category: Review | Developer: Sarepta Studio | Platform:

Of the thousands of games released every month, only a few really break new ground. As with Hollywood movies, most games share strong similarities to successful titles of the past. Play World of Warcraft and you understand the concept behind Guild Wars – both of which remind one of EverQuest. While Shadow Puppeteer broadly fits into the genre of a platformer/adventure, its unique control system and beautiful design make it one of those refreshing new games that makes reviewing fun.

Per the official website, “Sarepta studio is a new game development studio situated in Hamar, Norway. The game is being made with the support of Nordic Game Program, Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Film Institute.” For once I can agree with a government-backed project.

The Story

A young boy staying up way past his bedtime sees a strange man with a music box slink through the streets. When he begins to play the music box, a strange purple mist curls through the town, stealing everyone’s shadow. Apparently the townsfolk sleep heavy, because only the boy notices the shattering glass and breaking doors. Somehow, the structure the boy is in is compromised and he is plunged into the basement. There he finds his shadow. However, it is only attached to him by a thin nebulous line which will throw the player back to the beginning of the level if the two become too separated. Your objective is to find the thief of shadows and release his ill gotten gains back to the slumbering town. But beware, this shadow thief can manipulate his stolen loot into creatures of the night!

Gameplay

Shadow Puppeteer is definitely for the more experienced gamer. I have yet to play a game that is so control management-intensive. The movement between the boy and his shadow, coupled with the controls for each, appears to be easy on the surface – until you have to interact with an object that is not exactly in the line of the shadow and the boy. This takes gaming to a whole different experience. This game is unapologetic from the beginning, and the puzzles and small mini-quests demand one’s full attention.

The game can be played solo, but is really meant for two players. If you want to rough it alone you’re going to have a hard time of it. Ultimately, what sets this game apart from all other games is the co-op playing.

In all the games I’ve ever played before that take two players, none has ever ensured such a reliable interaction. Shadow Puppeteer forces the players to move in synch and to communicate every possible action. Without effective teamwork, the boy and his shadow will separate and the level will reset. Either you have a fantastic team effort or you might find that you won’t be speaking to your teammate for a very long time. After several hours of attempting to play the game on single player, I realized I was in way over my head.

The Dream Team

Hence, in order to have a clear and comprehensive review of the game’s co-op mode, I called upon my elite team of players, my go-to when there’s a raid to be done or a group effort to be solved: The Dream Team – my kids. These are their words regarding the game.

Breanan Appelberg, aka Buggaboo:

Q: How do you like playing Shadow Puppeteer?
A: It’s as challenging as Minecraft in survival mode on a PVP server.

Q: What are the pros of the game?
A: You have to find and solve lots of puzzles. The game is easy to understand. It’s challenging in a fun way. It’s clean - no distracting stuff to go through.

Q: What are the cons?
A: Glitches are still in the game, especially with Cat mode. I don’t like being the shadow. Every time you have the shadow it cannot go through other shadows.

Q: Suggestions for players?
A: With other players it is a lot easier. Single player is too hard to accomplish.

Q: Suggestions for the producers?
A: Try fixing the glitches.

Q: Anything more you would like to add?
A: The Cat should be a slug so we can get out of the place really quick!

Tyreke Philbrick, aka Mario:

Q: How do you like playing Shadow Puppeteer?
A: It’s very challenging, which makes it fun. Sometimes it gets very, very hard, and you need to restart the level. You can get trapped or killed.

Q: What are the pros of the games?
A: It’s very fun. It is very challenging. It’s like a new game completely.

Q: What are the cons?
A:There are glitches. It is very, very hard as you have to work with another person.

Q: Suggestions for players?
A: You have to have a good team effort. Watch the walkthroughs!

Q: Suggestions for the producers?
A: The Cat level is still very glitchy and hard.

Q: Anything you would like to add?
A: Before the Cat, you chase the guy with the music box. We could not understand why he summoned the Cat. (Note: the first boss fight consists of being chased by a Shadow Cat.)

Final Thoughts

All-in-all, this is definitely worth a weekend with a friend, and I would recommend it for any gaming pair. As long as you remember that this is just a game, you can put your relationship’s communication skills to the test and laugh at yourselves when you’re not quite in sync. All ages can play so long as they can handle a keyboard. I am definitely looking forward to more from this developer!

 

Final Grade: A  (co-op only, with glitches patched)
 
Challenging puzzles and heavy interactive play
+ Graphics are clean, simple, and fresh
Co-op play is unique and entertaining with great interaction between players
The game still has some glitches that need to be addressed
- Single-player mode is very difficult and not recommended
 
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