Shadowbug is a 2d puzzle platformer without the ability to jump, instead as you play through levels you dash attack your enemies which allowsShadowbug is a 2d puzzle platformer without the ability to jump, instead as you play through levels you dash attack your enemies which allows you to move throughout the world. In some instances you can dash through walls, use the enemies to gain vertical height, or volley dash enemies to continuously keep your character up in the air.
Like most good platformers in each chapter the dash mechanic is utilized in a different way. Fish hopping over toxic lakes, bouncing between wall climbing spider-likes, or activating slow moving deadly ghoul arms all make your journey a satisfying learning experience that keeps you on your toes throughout the campaign.
As you begin the first few worlds are really just focused on the platforming, but the further you get along the puzzles really become apparent. Looking off screen to find that certain enemy to dash to, unlocking a whole new world of challenge, that you then have to solve the puzzle, and platform your way to victory is what shadowbug is all about. You will certainly play the more difficult levels multiple times, learning attack patterns, mapping puzzle results, and timing your dashes just right.
At the end of each world like most platformers, you’ll encounter a boss. The bosses in Shadowbug are the highlight of each of them. Trying over and over, again and again, until landing that perfect move, hit, or jump that gets you to the next attack pattern that you have to figure out. Each at first giving you that oh no feeling, becomes a task of memorization and skill, that feels fantastic.
The biggest and absolute worst part of this what would be overall fun experience, are the controls.
When playing docked you can play with the joycons detached or with the pro controller. You use the left joystick to control left and right walking, and point with the right joy con or tilt the pro controller, utilizing the motion controls to control the little on screen fly. That fly is your pointer to select enemies that you want to dash attack, the most important mechanic of the game. Which does work very well, you do get much better with time, but tight and precise, absolutely not. You can recalibrate your movement by pressing the Y button if it gets wonky, but they rarely feel spot on. It’s incredibly frustrating dying on a difficult level because of shotty controls, not because lack of skill.
When playing handheld the attached joy cons will not work and you are forced to play touchscreen and I would recommend with the joy cons detached.
As you play the iOS version of shadowbug you touch and hold the left or right side of the screen to walk left or right, you then just press the enemy that you would like to dash attack. The reason that you have to detach the joy cons, is that even for a guy with large hands like me, reaching my thumb over the joy cons to press the left and right sides of the screen is too far, and you absolutely cannot get all of the enemies with your thumbs. Removing the joy cons makes it a much more enjoyable experience, but at that point, just buy it on your iphone.
Playing through shadowbug was a back and forth experience of satisfying victories and mechanical frustrations. Underneath the foggy input devices lies a pretty solid platforming experience with fun and innovative puzzle design. The game also has a very good challenge balance, with enough difficulty to increase your skill but keep it feeling light. While I can recommend this game on other platforms, the Nintendo Switch input controls are just not up to par.
Be sure to watch my video review at YouTube channel TheFlannelFox… Expand