Sometimes an idea is simply cute, and that’s fine. But when an idea is cute and smart, then you’ve got something. In The Shadows [official site] appears to fall into the latter category – a very lovely-looking pixel puzzle platformer, with surprisingly complex lighting, about a little kid who’s scared of the dark.
As we all know, monsters are scared of light, and as such in this dreamy-world puzzler, the toddler you sometimes play as needs to flick switches to trap the beasties under lamps, at which point they quite naturally turn into benign trampolines. The goal is to collect stars (not just because it’s a platformer trope, but because the kid’s bedroom is covered in stars, and this is a dream based on his surroundings), and reach exit doors to each level.
It’s very traditional in design, but in the early build I’ve had a play of the puzzles are immediately interesting. I at first worried when I saw block pushing, because oh my there’s so much block pushing out there just now, but was quickly relieved to discover it demanded my brain, not my labour. The toddler player character is adorable, despite being just a handful of pixels, occasionally toppling over because walking’s new, and hard! This is all based on the odd memories of an older man, reflecting on his childhood, trying to understand his present life.
It’s enormously pretty, and from my brief play of an alpha build, immediately entertaining. It’s also in need of a bit of cash to get finished, a Kickstarter with just over a week remaining and just two and a half thousand Canadian dollars remaining. Have a pitch video: