04/01/2021

๐Ÿ‘ฅ Shady Part of Me | Review | PS4 | "great puzzles, music and visuals let down by narrative and voicework" ๐Ÿ‘ฅ @ShadyPartOfMe #GameDev #IndieGames

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A wonderfully designed puzzle game that hits real highs in terms of aesthetic, sound and mood but the whining voicework and obfuscated narrative leak through the game and wore me down to the point that I genuinely wished the game was purely music and puzzle driven with silent protagonists.

The Shady Part of Me is a game very much built around the light. As you make your way through the 3D environments, creating your path of shadow and darkness to move through – as the unnamed protagonist cannot live in the light – your dark companion, a separate shadow of yourself, moves through 2D environments on a separate plain and you must work together to overcome the obstacles that lay ahead.

The way in which the game is presented is quite stunning, with a stark, watercolour palette and music that alternates style dependent on the character that you are controlling. 

These strong elements are compounded with a simple and intuitive control scheme that means the focus is on progression through this beautiful, smooth world and puzzles take centre stage. 

You’ll make your way through rotating gears, many switch-based areas, object manipulation and, more problematically…through the dialogue.

The voice work in this game is among the most grating I’ve encountered (the voice actor flits between breathy sadness and childlike whingeing in an insufferable, high-pitched voice), equalled only by certain Japanese games featuring buxom high-school girls partaking in various, unlikely sports. 

This headache-inducing delivery combined with a constant, ongoing and very vocal, vague narrative that aches of teenage poetry really brings the game to its knees. For every moment I was lost in a fluctuating, trip-hop beat or keyboard line as I breezed through the enjoyable puzzles, there was a high-pitched whine in the background as the in-game characters complained once more of being alone, misunderstood or just bickered about not needing any help.

What makes this a real problem is how great the soundtrack is, it is vinyl-purchasingly good and yet there were genuine moments that I thought about muting the game, which is rare.

The Shady Part of Me is a really visually enticing puzzle game that will take up around four hours of your time and with an expressive, muted palette and a really saucy soundtrack. 

Puzzle-wise, the light and physics-based obstacles get more and more inventive as the game evolves, it’s just a real shame that the fundamentals of the game are really under the pressure of such a thin, under-explained story, delivered in such an infuriating manner. 

I loved the puzzles and tone…now I wait for the vinyl.

7/10

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