Who didn’t spend time as a child being fascinated by the imaginative shapes and creatures they could create using shadows on the wall? Having fun with shadows isn’t limited to children either. As teenagers and even college students, who could resist an unattended overhead projector creating a blank slate of fun ready for your hands to create magic? Deep Fried Entertainment wants you to remember the fun of using shadows. Except this time it isn’t to get a laugh, it’s to solve a puzzle. And maybe there is a laugh or two to be had here as well.
ShadowPlay offers a gameplay mechanic so simple that you’ll immediately wonder why no one has attempted it in the past. The basic premise involves taking the objects you’re presented with and manipulating their positions and angles using the light that shines against the wall. As you maneuver these objects into position, your goal is to get the resulting shadows to match the silhouette (outline) that is displayed on the field of play (wall). This is easily one of the most original games on WiiWare that’s available today and certainly a nice departure from the “me-too” offerings of puyo-puyo and Cooking Mama clones that litter the Wii Store.
Speaking of brick walls; there may be an instance or two where you want to slam your head against one. This isn’t due to the controls, which Deep Fried nailed. It’s simply because some of these puzzles are tough. I’m talking Ninja Gaiden (circa 2004 on Xbox) tough. And yet it makes this title even more endearing. ShadowPlay lets you know that it’s not a push-over. These are the challenges where you’ll be grateful there’s no time limit. And thankfully the controls are great. ShadowPlay is one of the few titles to utilize the MotionPlus. The MotionPlus function is great when compared to the nunchuck option. We tested the game’s controls using both options, and after a little practice quickly were leaning towards the MotionPlus.
On top of the premade puzzles laid out before you in ShadowPlay, there is also an option for FreePlay. This game mode allows gamers to create whatever shadowy silhouette strikes their fancy. While there aren’t any medals here to appeal to the completionists out there, it does tap into the childhood fun of shadows. Replay value is only limited to your imagination.
ShadowPlay is exactly the kind of game that we wish popped up more on the Nintendo Wii. If anyone from Majesco is reading this, that doesn’t mean clone this to death. It means originality is something that is lacking in gaming. But thanks to Deep Fried Entertainment’s ShadowPlay, there is some hope that new ideas do still exist. With a hundred different challenging puzzles spread throughout various themes, ShadowPlay has the gameplay to appeal to those seeking enigmas for the eye as well as those just looking to kill time. The added option of FreePlay also means that anyone who remembers the fun shadows offered as a child should check out this WiiWare wonder.