Right, own up you lot. Which one of you knew about this and didn’t tell us? What do you mean what am I talking about? I’m talking about Shadowbug! You haven’t heard of it? I hadn’t either, but strap in, as this one is an absolute gem…
Shadowbug is a completely unique take on a platformer. You can’t jump, instead you move by attacking enemies who are in mid-air. You literally hop from one to the other – bypassing saws, lasers, robots, green goo and more as you go. Your aim is to chop your way through enemies to get to the white door at the end of the level. This mechanic works absolutely flawlessly by using the touch screen (you’ll want to play this in handheld mode). That’s not to say it’s a breeze though. Trust me, you will do stuff with your hands you didn’t even think was possible. Luckily the game eases you in. There are 36 levels to get through here, with the difficulty seriously ramping up around Level 24. There are also 6 bossfights to break things up a bit too. The problem is, Shadowbug at times is stunning to the point where it’s hard to explain. Hopping from one monster to the other is genuinely exhilarating, especially in the later levels. It’s an adrenaline rush I haven’t had for a while in a video game, which is really saying something, as we’ve been lucky enough to play some really great games this year at P&L. Oh and I haven’t even got to how it looks yet.
The visuals in Shadowbug are verging on breathtaking. It’s like jumping into a magnificent painting. Each level is a joy to behold and if taking the scenic route was an option you’d take it all day long. But there’s no time for that, there are white doors to reach! And reach them you will. But some levels will take a lot of dying to learn the patterns required. It’s ok though, as you’re thrown straight back in to the action, and the checkpoints are friendly. Phew!
Another astounding aspect of Shadowbug is the music. Huge, epic scores accompany you along your journey and it’s another factor that keeps your heart rate raised. I should say there is a story at play here, but it’s really not part of why you’ll fall in love with Shadowbug. For those that are interested however, you are a ninja hero, called Tim. Alright you’re called Shadowbug, I was just checking if you were still reading. Anyway you need to save your home forest from the evil factory by slicing monsters to pieces. Luckily you kick ass, and so does Shadowbug. I have to be honest and say that this game really took me by surprise. I don’t know what I expected, but I was pleasantly blown away by a tiny little bug. How cool is that?
Shadowbug is one of my favourites surprises of the year. A magical, majestic example of what games can be.
Punk rating: 9/10