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(9 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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DoraLovely, dreamy, and "look, Ma, I made a bunny!" are just a few of the words you could use to describe Triada Studios' iOS puzzle game Shadowmatic, a title that combines the shifting perspectives of Starlight with shadow puppets and tchotchkes. In each level, your goal is simply to figure out how to twist and align whatever object(s) you have so that the shadow cast on the wall creates something. Well, something specific, anyway. Just press and hold on the screen and drag your finger around to rotate. If there's more than one object, you can swap between them by tapping the button in the lower-left corner, or hold down the button with one finger and swipe with another to move them both relative to one another. At the bottom of the screen you'll see a progression of dots that will slowly light up depending on how close you are to figuring out what you're supposed to be making. No special skills or ambigous "gamer" cred required here... just an appreciate for eye and ear candy, and a willingness to, like, relax, maaaaaaaaan.

Shadowmatic is one of those games that manages to dazzle without a whole lot of bells and whistles, largely because of how clean and elegant the whole presentation is. Everything about it makes you want to snuggle down in your favourite beanbag chair (or, well, buy one, I guess) and just zone out with it. Though the concept gets a little repetitive over time, with a whopping seventy levels to throw shade at, there's something delightful about that little "ah-ha!" moment you get when you spot a familiar shape in the abstract design and realize what you're supposed to be aiming for. It's sort of the puzzle equivalent of those brain-bendingly clever art pieces that just look like piles of junk, and then resolve themselves into cunningly planned images when viewed from the proper direction. Less endearing is the less-than-helpful hint function, which can sometimes be so vague as to be baffling, and the obnoxious fiddliness of some levels when it comes to what they'll accept as the right solution. Still, Shadowmatic's effortlessly beautiful style and easy to pick up, carefully crafted gameplay makes it the sort of puzzle game quiet evenings were crafted for. Kids may get frustrated by the precise maneuvering required for some shapes, but young and old will find a lot to quietly dazzle them in Shadowmatic.

Download on the AppstoreShadowmatic (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch)

1 Comment

Simple concept, but quite beautifully done. I do find myself wishing that the hint system was a bit more helpful in the case of multiple objects -- either with the hint lights maxing out when the object you're manipulating is correctly positioned on its own (if not relative to the others), or by eventually providing a clue about what type of movement is required next if you seem to be spinning your wheels.

The music and visual style remind me a bit of "Secret World"-era Peter Gabriel, which is never a bad thing.


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