ShadowPlay - First Impressions

posted 11 Jan 2010, 12:25 by Knuckles Sonic8   [ updated 23 Jan 2010, 09:19 ]
WiiWare | Puzzle | Deep Fried Entertainment | 1 Player / 2 Player co-op | 800 Nintendo Points


First off, I gotta start off by saying that Canadian developers rock! Sorry, but I couldn't resist. With that out of the way, ShadowPlay is a very original game where you use objects provided by the game to create shadows on the screen to solve puzzles. As if the concept itself wasn't appealing enough, ShadowPlay also marks itself to be the very first WiiWare title to take advantage of Wii Motion Plus! Yes, even ahead of Nintendo themselves! When using a new peripheral, it's easy for a game to use the sheer novelty of the new device to draw people in to an otherwise unexciting idea. Thankfully, ShadowPlay rises above that, and uses the Wii Motion Plus superbly to enhance its gameplay. 

    Starting off, you'll be introduced to a set of Training puzzles that will get you accustomed to the game's control scheme. It may take a couple minutes to get used to but it's nothing too complicated. The entire game takes place in an environment that resembles that of a movie set with light fixtures, curtains, and even a screen at the front of the stage where you'll be focusing your attention most of the game. During a puzzle, the screen will show an outline of objects or even insects and it's your job to replicate that outline using the objects provided on the right side of the screen. You grab objects with the A Button and move them around by aiming at your TV screen as they remain suspended in the air. As you move an object, it's shadow is shown on the white screen and can be enlarged or reduced as desired. With the item selected, pressing up or down on the D-Pad will bring it closer or further away from the screen, respectively.

    The use of the Wii Motion Plus comes in when you enter into Rotation Mode. By selecting an item with the B Button, you'll be able to move it all around in any direction you'd like. All of your motions are captured really accurately on-screen, making this function a success! You can also deselect objects by clicking off to the side allowing you to maneuver around the game space. Pressing up on the D-Pad will zoom into the screen at the front of the stage, pressing down will zoom out allowing you to have a much wider view of everything on-screen. You can even adjust the camera by pressing and holding the B Button at the corners of the TV screen and moving your Wii Remote around. When you think you've solved the puzzle to the best of your ability, you click the clapboard in the top left-hand corner of the screen. Then, the game will award you a Bronze, Silver or Gold Reel based on how close you were to following the given outline, and you move onto the next puzzle.

    There are 100 puzzles to play through ranging in difficulty levels and themes which will challenge your thinking in how you see certain objects. For example, in one puzzle, you'll be tasked with making a giant star using only pizza slices. There's even a Free Play mode where you can make your own creations, appealing to one's creative side! ShadowPlay uses the same appeal as games like Boom Blox in being able to express yourself and show off your creativity. Mind you, from what I've observed thus far, you can't save your creations or send them to friends. Still, it's great to have this feature and you can always take a picture, or even a video of your creations.

    So far, I'm quite pleased with what the developers have done with this game. The concept itself is quite unique, and the puzzles are of a good variety as well. As a single-player and co-operative experience, it seems like ShadowPlay would have a lot of appeal to families especially (and of course, other group settings). My only complaint thus far is that the music during gameplay hasn't changed since I started playing. Hopefully it does change as time goes on because I'm starting to find it a tad annoying but even if it doesn't, I think I can live with it. 800 Points appears to be a reasonable asking price based on what I've seen so far and I can already see that a lot of people would enjoy the game and what it has to offer.