Reviews: Shadow Complex

Funny that it calls itself a Metroidvania.

As a Metroidvania fan, I don't. Remember the days when Metroidvania fans looked on Castlevania Symphony Of The Night and wondered if games like that could get any easier? Well yes, they fucking can.

As a 2.5D platformer, this game succeeds spectacularly. As a Metroidvania, it utterly fails.

You don't explore, and find new areas to explore based on the equipment granted to you. You have a beacon which highlights the area you need to go to next. You don't gain many new powers, either. Double and Triple Jump, and the ability to breathe underwater. And also the ability to actually grab a ledge and wall jump. Heck, weapons even grant access to new areas. Sounds solid, right?

The problem with the game is the way these upgrades are handled. You get NOTHING which the plot doesn't dictate you should get. Every ability is directly the key to unlocking the next area. And the repeatedly touted over a hundred items? They're, for the most part, a +4 to one of your weapons if they're not random-ass gold or one of the keys needed to unlock the ultimate armor. There's no abilities which are hidden for the persistent player. No secret areas which casual players will never see. There's nothing outside of the basic game.

And that's why this game is not a Metroidvania. It could have very easily been handled with a series of sequential stages. There's no thought, no exploration, nor unlocking new areas because of your new gadgets. From beginning to end, you follow a fucking beacon and stick with it like glue.

Technically you could turn off the beacon and pretend you're exploring the game, but the plot makes things abundantly clear.

It's fun, I'll admit, but it stains the Metroidvania name.