Shadows: Awakening is one of the most exciting RPG games I have recently played. Developed by Games Farm and published by Kalypso Media Digital Ltd., the story of Shadows: Awakening is just as compelling as the gameplay. That’s not to say the game is perfect. From puzzles to giant spiders, and demons that devour souls, this game has a little something for everyone.
I enjoy a game that sits a little on the edge of darkness, and this game makes its intention obvious from the beginning. The player’s character is a Devourer, a demon summoned without a pact by a mage that has performed some questionable deeds in his life, but his goal is to prevent the destruction of the Heretic Kingdom. As a Devourer, the player exists in the Shadowrealm, and by devouring a soul can also exist in the regular world. Each soul is considered a puppet.
The player can choose from a warrior, a ranger, or a mage as the primary puppet. Once chosen, the other two are not playable, which will bring about an urgency to complete the game and play again as one of the other characters, possibly on a tougher difficulty. This theme carries over into the rest of the game as there are opportunities to consume other souls depending on how the player chooses to journey through the world. Each puppet acquired levels up individually and possesses their own skills. In this way, Shadows: Awakening plays like a traditional RPG game with a party of four characters but is restricted to single player because only one puppet can be used at a time.
Switching between puppets is done using A, S, D, and F, or the scroller on the mouse, and their three powers are used with Q, W, and E. Having these keys so close together often caused me to switch puppets when I was trying to attack. Each ability can be improved by spending skill points. The player will gather armor and weapons while exploring dungeons for valuable items and kill beasts to gain that ever important experience. Most puzzles in Shadows: Awakening are solved by using clues found in the Shadowrealm. The point and click controls make some puzzles annoying and unintuitive, as it can be easy to walk passed that boulder you need to move, or get it stuck on a wall along the way.
The camera is fixed in one location in a traditional dungeon crawler fashion. Sometimes in games similar to Shadows: Awakening the character is small and few details can be determined, making the style of armor or weapon insignificant. This game does a great job of making the otherwise small details prominent. The background music neither adds nor takes away from the game, but the voice acting is excellent. Each character has appropriate accents and tones for their personality, making them come alive. Certain races have interesting characteristics, such as the lizard race speak with a hiss.
Shadows: Awakening is a classic RPG style game that is fun and easy to learn. Switching between puppets gives the single-player experience a unique twist by allowing the player to be different character classes. For my first play through I chose Evia, a mage, but I was also able to play as a ranger and fighter class after devouring other souls. The plot and character backstories are equally captivating, and though the point and click control for movement creates some otherwise avoidable difficulties, this game is worth the risk.