Like every child, I had a irrational fear of the dark growing up and I’m not proud to say that it is a big part of why, to this day, I don’t play scary games. So when I first received In the Shadows from Colorspace Studio (and judging purely by the game’s name alone) I expected a spooky experience but instead I was delighted to find a game that uses a childhood fear and childlike wonder to tell a soulful story.
Use The Light
In the Shadows is a 2D platformer and begins with the player controlling a toddler. Shortly after being tucked into bed for the night, the toddler gets up to explore his home and collect small stars from its dark interior.
Within each level you will find a monster hiding in the dark and as every child knows, monsters are afraid of the light so the game requires players to push, pull and activate light sources close to the monsters. Adorable, huh? The game eventually moves onto different stages of this child’s life and while I would not say that In The Shadows is very story-heavy, the premise does remain the same as your character grows older.
Like Pieces of a Puzzle
The game controls are a little bumpy and while it took some getting used to in the first few levels of the game I eventually got accustomed to the controls – particularly pulling which I considered the least intuitive. More often than not I would end up pushing the light source as I was walking towards it and this sometimes resulted in it falling off a ledge and while the source will respawn right away in its original location, I found myself becoming annoyed with having to go back and restart the puzzle.
Some puzzles are harder to solve than others, but you can always come back to them. In your adventures you will find monsters that turn into different objects that will help you collect stars and progress further in the game. Speaking of monsters, nothing particularly scary happens if you do encounter them, you will simply end up back on the most recent platform you were standing on, which can end up being a blessing or a curse. Yes, you won’t need to restart a level but it removes the fear of failure. I knew that I could die as much as I wanted because there were no consequences.
It didn’t take me long to complete In the Shadows, around 6 to 7 hours total, but getting to the finish line was exceptionally rewarding. I would recommend the game to people who enjoy platformers, 2D art and especially if you like games like Fez. The overall atmosphere of In The Shadows is alluring and really pulls you in. I found it to be a really refreshing game that ended up surprising me and, in a way, helped me poke fun at my own fear of the dark.
DISCLAIMER: In The Shadows review code was provided by Colorspace Studio. The opinions expressed in the article above have not be affected by, dictated or edited in any way by the provider. For more information please see Girls on Games’ Code of Journalistic Ethics.