White Shadows is the first game from developer Monokel. Coming in at the tail end of a year that has been fraught with fear, it’s unique world and color drained style will immediately draw you in. The game’s short form story will keep you fascinated until the end. Over the course of this 2 to 3 hour story, you will platform, solve puzzles and really soak in some well thought environmental story telling. It’s quiet exploratory moments will let you have time to process some of the strange visuals you will be experience through the main character. Despite the fairly short runtime, there is still quite a strange tale to be told.
The first thing that really strikes you with White Shadows is its visual presentation. There are only three colors you will see in this whole game, black, white and gray. The farthest depths of the background are a void, which really lends itself well to the next aspect that White Shadows really nails, and that is its lighting and fog usage. Throughout the world you will have moments of total darkness, and while you can still see enough detail to continue, it is utterly creepy. The only organic thing here are the animals themselves, and even then it’s kind of a stretch. The use of a florescent lighting throughout truly oozes an ambience that should be experienced.
Without a single word of spoken dialogue, you learn that humans do not exist, that at some point the world collapsed. Animals have learned how to use technology to an industrial level. I won’t cover too much more of the details here, but I must say I was intrigued to know how the world came to its current state. Over the the games runtime I was drip fed information through visuals and some disturbing events. The only major things you can do as the young crow avatar is run, jump and grab certain objects. There’s also platforming, light puzzle solving, and occasional stealth. Sadly, all three of those things are simplistic even at the end portions of the story. There is also very little music overall. But what little music used is comprised of mostly classical music. The moments of silence are really deafening and it makes you want to keep going to escape the loneliness of it.
The only other criticism I can really conjure against White Shadows is how basic it is from a gameplay standpoint. The set pieces that utilize the platforming and stealth are visually interesting, but it lacks challenge. I figured out nearly every puzzle on my first try with little thought. Another blemish that somewhat cheapened the set pieces was some occasional technical hiccups that occurred. I had a couple of cases of pop in during dramatic moments, and audio that cut out. Despite the minor technical issues I very much enjoyed my time with White Shadows. It’s short, but sweet and doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s also priced at a much smaller price range than your average game price. If you’re looking for a relatively short but interesting experience, it’s hard to go wrong with White Shadows.
White Shadows Review
An interesting first game
The unique art style, excellent lighting, and mechanical world design are all great.
Unique artsyle and visuals
Interesting story with a "show don't tell" approach.
Very short experience
Some technical issues harm the immersion
Set pieces for puzzles and platforming are very basic.