Shadow Point is a beautifully crafted game with great story-driven gameplay and depth that’s lengthened by its many mind-bending puzzles.
There aren’t many games currently on the Quest that really tell a good story whilst also getting you involved for many hours. These kind are games are usually reserved for PC platforms such as the Rift S. But with the Quest becoming ever more popular, developers are beginning to see the platform’s potential and invest a little more time and money in the development of their upcoming titles. As some recent Quest sale successes studies have shown if do the game right and you will be rewarded handsomely.
Developers Coatsink has done just this with their first title on the Oculus Quest, and a launch title at that. Stepping into Shadow Point’s rich and well-narrated storyline raises this game appeal heads and shoulders over the many throwaway and short-lived titles that are present on the Quest Store today. More of this please, developers.
Shadow Point is a beautiful story-driven puzzle game that’s set on an abandoned mountain top observatory that has a magical fantasy world hidden inside it. You play Alex Burkett, who ascends via cable car to the Shadow Point Observatory to search and uncover the mystery of Lorna McCabe, a young school girl that went missing twelve years ago.
The game swiftly takes you between two worlds via portals that can be found around the observatory’s abandoned rooms. Each portal leads to a fantasy world, and within this world, you have to solve over 80 mind-bending puzzles to learn more about Lorna’s disappearance.
Each puzzle you encounter in your adventure is mostly solved by forming shadows to match a silhouette that’s drawn on the wall. You do this by holding up or placing various objects that you encounter in each world in front of a lamp that shines upon it.
This all sounds relatively simple and easy, but as each puzzle levels progress, they each get harder to form each ‘shadow’ puzzle. Soon you have to tackle mirrored reflections, peer through magical lenses to change objects, rotate statues and static lamps, through to using two objects in each hand to form a complex shape in front of the light.
It isn’t until you mirror each silhouette exactly, using the light and objects in the world before you solve each puzzle, and only then will you unlock doors and openings to explore new areas within the magical kingdom you’re in. The game’s difficulty curve ramps up quite drastically in two particular levels – Pendulum and The Garden – where you have gravity to manipulate handing objects and multiple portals to enter through. I do not understate the fact when I say there are ‘mind-bending puzzles’ in Shadow Point. At times you can be standing in the room just trying to figure out what exactly you have to do to complete the puzzle.
To ease the frustration of any puzzle, you have the calming towns of Sir Patrick Stewart (from Star Trek fame) who narrates throughout the game. Having such an iconic vocal actor in the game has raised the game’s appeal two-fold. This was easily a great choice by the developers, and it is fantastic that he was even up for doing it. Hearing Sir Pat Stew narrate the story is wonderful to listen to. In fact, all of the voice work has been wonderfully written and acted throughout the game’s narrative. This is something so easily neglected in games, especially in VR. I would have liked to have been able to respond to characters in the game, as it does feel like you are more of a mute observer than actually being included in the story you’re experiencing.
The graphics in Shadow Point look just great on Oculus Quest. It reminded me of the game Firewatch, with its soft colour pallet and Pixar-like environments. The magical fantasy world, as well as the abandoned observatory, have all been wonderfully created. Character models and animals all fit in with the world’s clean and colourful aesthetic, and the overall art direction feels consistent and as detailed as you would want it to be in this game. Its musical score and sound design mirror the visuals perfectly, with calming music and effects to ease the pain of any frustration that some of the puzzles may be causing you.
For your £14.99 from the Oculus Queset Store, Shadow Point does not disappoint with its asking price. There are plenty of hours to be had solving each story puzzle in this game – more so if you try to 100% it by completing all of the optional moon puzzles. There aren’t many story-driven puzzle games on the Quest, yet if you are craving for something that not only challenges your mind but it also looks and sounds great, you’ll be over the moon when you download Shadow Point.