Parents' Guide to

Shadows: Awakening

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Unique role-swapping tale limited by bugs, skill management.

Shadows: Awakening Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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This unique role-playing game (RPG) has a clever plot twist, but the bugs and character management keep it from excelling. Usually, demons and heroes fall on different sides of the battlefield, but opposites attract in Shadows: Awakening. The game's main hook is the symbiotic relationship between the player's Devourer and the heroes it's bound to. You navigate two worlds simultaneously, swapping back and forth at will between the mortal and shadow worlds. Because of the supernatural nature of the Shadow Realm and how time's warped within it, things like collapsed walls or bridges will exist in one plane but not the other. Also, swinging platforms and hazards may be frozen in place. It's an interesting gameplay mechanic for solving puzzles, exploring the world, and even fighting enemies. Some creatures, for example, exist in both worlds, but can only be hurt in one after shattering their protection in the other.

Switching worlds is only half the story, though, as the Devourer consumes other souls throughout the game, adding new "puppets" to its collection and more characters to the available party. With all these extras, though, comes lots of additional character management. Managing armor and weapons, items, character stats, and more can get overwhelming for one character. Now multiply that by at least four characters at any given time, and it's easy to spend as much time in the character screens as fighting enemies. It feels clunky, especially compared to the more fluid action, where swapping worlds and characters feels smooth and organic. That's not to say there couldn't be more polish in the action part of the game, though. Random glitches occasionally popped up, like floating critters (rats, bugs, etc.) or stubborn targeting issues, but these were more a minor nuisance than a major frustration. If you're willing to invest the time into the game, Shadows: Awakening can wind up being a surprisingly entertaining and unique adventure worth checking out.

Game Details

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