When we covered Marsh Games' stealth physics puzzler Shadow Game back in 2010, we kind of loved it a little, but it was more a prototype than anything else. Well, now you dreams of being a shadowy little stealth bot can finally come true in their entirety with the release of the full game in the form of Shadow Drifter. Using the [WASD] or [arrow] keys, move through levels collecting stars and nabbing bonuses on your way to the exit. The catch? If you get caught in the lights, then the automated defenses will do their best to bring them down, so you'll need to push crates to block light sources (and push switches) in order to make it safely through. You'll need patience, fast reflexes, and faster thinking to proceed through the levels, and an extremely high tolerance for being riddled with bullets upon failure.
In concept, Shadow Drifter is simple. Avoid light, get to the exit. In actual practice, however, it's a remarkably clever little game. Pushing crates around will only get you so far and is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sneaking around. You can use the shadows of the enemies themselves to creep along behind them, chance a dash into illumination to try to direct the fire to blast the source away, and even make use of machinery to carry things around to block shadows for you. The result is a simple little stealth game that actually explores its core concept in some creative ways to deliver a fun experience that gets its players thinking beyond "push switch, get star".
It helps that Shadow Drifter has considerably more levels than the original's eight, and each stage's design gets increasingly elaborate in that satisfying "there's a simple solution to all this madness" sort of way that only bullet-spewing deadstacle (that's deadly obstacles) course can provide. Controls are smooth, though the physics occasionally mistake anything other than slow, careful pressure for "OH, DID YOU WANT ME TO THROW THIS ACROSS THE ROOM? OKAY." at times. It's always wonderful to see developers make good on their original projects, and Shadow Drifter is relief for another reason too, since it avoids the trap of going overboard on new elements that would have overcomplicated what made the original such a joy to play. Clever, challenging, and fun for fans of stealthy action, Shadow Drifter is a great final product evolution that's a great little game to boot.
[Thanks to Peekay for sending this one in!]