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Fading Shadows (PSP) artwork

Fading Shadows (PSP) review

"Bwahahahahaha! "


So did the main villain laugh, quite possibly twirling his moustache as he imprisoned poor Erwyn in his castle from which no soul ever escaped. Why did he do it? Just because he's bad and being bad is cool with the kids these days?

Alas, no. The evil wizard (for is there any other kind?) Gardal imprisoned Erwyn because it was foretold that his death alone would be the catalyst for plunging the world into utter darkness in which he would be an undisputed ruler forever more. However, what Gardal didn't count on was that Erwyn had a pretty smart sister, Aira, whose powers enabled her to transfer her brother' s soul into that of an orb which would... somehow hinder Gardal from just crushing it with his pure wizardry might.

The orb itself has no special qualities, but when guided with a beam of light, it can move, jump or even change its shape, and it will have to do a bloody good job to go through 40 levels filled with danger that Gardal himself placed, be it in the shape of fire breathing pillars, pools of water or pits that will swallow the orb thus destroying it completely.

As those keen of mind might have already guessed, you are the beam of light that has to serve nanny to Erwyn who is, as the story itself seems to tell us, utterly and completely useless.

The ray of light at your disposal seems to have a magnetic field attached to it that attracts Erwyn's orb to it, if its focused enough, a feat that you can do with a single press of a button. So, if your beam was at maximum width, the orb itself would stop in its place, not budging an inch. However, focus it, and the orb will gain momentum with gusto and follow you around like a puppy. You can make the orb jump in that focused state as well with a well placed blow of pure sun energy into a certain spot.

However, to make matters more complicated, there are some places (and by some, I mean all of them once you pass the initial few levels that serve as tutorials) where jumping and maneuvering around pitfalls just won't do you any good. The orb is made out of steel initially, and as you might know steel is not known for its Phelpsian-like ability to swim. Quite the opposite; sinking like a rock is more it's thing. So, at certain points in the level, you can guide the orb at a morphing panel where it will change its substance to that of wood for instance. When you do that, you will have no problems floating in the water, but other issues will arise. Mainly the fact that heat, let's say for an example, the heat that the sodding beam of Sun emits does not combine well with wood, so if you are not careful at all, you might burn poor Erwyn to what I'm sure is an agonising and painful death. This will happen at times. And for those reasons, you can collect gems that give you more lives, and with that, more tries in solving that particular level. There is also the glass form of the ball, which does not burn, can redirect lasers or various other sources of light that when refracted open doors/press switches/make good stuff happen to fire in various directions, but it also breaks whenever it collides with a wall, which again kills off Erwyin in a nasty manner.

Every few levels or so, you will be greeted by a few still images that show the «story line» of the game in a very vague way before you are once again burdened with another level.

And that's just the thing. The idea sounds boring on paper, but in practice it is even worse. The entire game just lacks appeal, immersion and overall any sort of interest to it. You will not experience joy when you finish a level, but something more akin to drudgery that you're not yet finished, and that yet another completely sterile, boring level awaits you to save a character you couldn't care less about.

Even the music that follows you seems to be made simply to show you that you could be spending your time in a much more efficient manner because after a short time it will just start to loop over and over again. There is no story aside from the very basics that don't even try to pull the contrived plot of «The wizard did it!».

There are not many things that I would say «suck» about this game, but likewise, I must say that there are absolutely no things about it that «rock» in it as well. As a puzzle game, it's developed to stimulate that rotting grey matter in your head but its performance would be much more appreciated, were it not for one glaring problem, that being BOREDOM which can not be capitalised enough.

Game time is extended with collecting well hidden puzzle pieces throughout the levels that unlocks concept art which is pretty well done, but that alone does not save this game from mediocrity.

Truly, the best part is to see in just how many ways you can shatter/burn/impale/crush Erwyn's poor, ball shaped soul.


darketernal's avatar
Community review by darketernal (October 09, 2009)

Occasional reviewer of random stuff.

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zippdementia posted May 13, 2010:

This review made me happy tonight.
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darketernal posted May 14, 2010:

I was inspired on that day. Hurray for dull games.

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