Generally favorable reviews - based on 73 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 71 out of 73
  2. Negative: 0 out of 73
  1. Shadow Complex is an incredibly well-made game that finally grabs the "Metroidvania" subgenre and drags it into the modern era instead of relegating it to a land of remakes or portable games.
  2. 100
    It's a must-play game for anyone who loves the reward-based exploration and side-scrolling action of the side-scrollers of old.
  3. 100
    Saying that Shadow Complex is a triumph of Live Arcade almost sounds insulting. It’s one of the best games in the 360 library. The gameplay is tuned tighter than a Maserati, and Jason’s flowing movements nearly make the Prince of Persia seem crippled.
  4. 100
    Shadow Complex is an amazing game, and the 15 bucks this will be the best buy you do this year. Chair has a bright future ahead of them and after seeing what they could do with this game I can't wait to see what they could create if they were given the chance to make a big AAA title.
  5. 95
    Despite the short-but-sweet nature of the game, it actually delivers more value than a significant portion of full retail-priced Xbox 360 games. Shadow Complex is a game that is incredibly simple and straight-forward in the most intuitive and imaginative way possible.
  6. An incredibly solid game that could fetch $30-40 as a retail copy.
  7. Also of note is the game’s wicked cool take on stat and achievement tracking. Things like how many enemies you’ve performed a melee attack on or mini spider bots you’ve kicked are tracked, and you’re shown updates as they happen.
  8. 95
    Good omen have been more than confirmed, this is a Metroid-like game which will please those looking for alternative action formulas, and it makes its job very well.
  9. Shadow Complex completely revolutionizes the console's downloadable market by setting a new standard for quality that is second to none. Simply put, it is the best original game you can currently buy on XBLA.
  10. Its stellar design, eye-popping presentation, addictive gameplay and, of course, that very reasonable price tag, make it an easy purchasing decision for anyone looking for an endlessly engaging experience—you might find yourself playing start to finish in a single sitting.
  11. It may seem like the average price of games on the XBLA is increasing without any correlation to quality, but rest assured, Shadow Complex is worth every Microsoft point you pay.
  12. 94
    One of the best games yet in 2009. And I'm not just talking about the Xbox Live Arcade. The classic, exploration-heavy gameplay is a winner.
  13. What’s ultimately important for Shadow Complex, is that it is completely unimportant how people got the game. It could be download, it could be retail, who gives a you know what. What matters is that it is great, truly great even. One of the best new games you’re going to play on your Xbox 360 this year, hands down.
  14. If you are a fan of Action games you should buy Shadow Complex, If you aren't... you should buy it too.
  15. Pelit (Finland)
    Offers a perfect blend of retro gameplay and modern design sensibilities. Xbox Live Arcade games don’t come much better than this! [Aug 2009]
  16. One of the best games on Live Arcade, capable of rivaling even many of the retail games out there. A great level design keeps the gameplay interesting and entertaining from start to finish, together with great visuals and very high overall production quality. Definitely a must buy.
  17. While the narrative could’ve used better pacing – and more antagonists to boot – Chair Entertainment did an overall great job at retaining the interest all throughout the storyline.
  18. At 1200 Microsoft Points (around $15), Shadow Complex is one of the most fulfilling, robust packages the Xbox Live Arcade has to offer, which is a steal for a game that could have easily been released at retail.
  19. All in all, Shadow Complex is a finely-crafted game that is sure to please anyone with a fondness for the older Metroids or the newer side-scrolling Castlevanias as this offers up a similar experience, with some of its own touches that help it stand out from the rest.
  20. The four years Shadow Complex spent in development was well worth the effort. Shadow Complex is absolutely amazing and shouldn’t be disregarded because it’s only available for download.
  21. While the classic Metroid gameplay might not appeal to a few gamers, this new 2.5D graphic twist with some excellent new gameplay choices we have an instant classic. If the 1200 MS (15$) point price scares you or even turns you off don’t let it, this is worth every penny and more.
  22. It's accessible, fun, and rewarding to play through. Shadow Complex is a crucial game, as it raises the bar for future budget-priced downloadables.
  23. A stunningly-executed, modern-day Super Metroid.
  24. It's a game that will delight gamers old enough to recognise the classics it celebrates, while captivating those oblivious to its inspirations.
  25. Shadow Complex is a stunning demonstration of what you can squeeze onto the service. Play it, marvel at it, and hope that it's the future of downloadable games.
  26. Shadow Complex is a must have game, it oozes quality and puts some box titles to shame.
  27. Shadow Complex is a triumph, a new standard for downloadable games. It’s a game in the purest sense, but is as “next-gen” as any Xbox 360 owner could hope for. And at 1200 MS Points it’s an absolute bargain guaranteed to fill rival XBLA developers with fear.
  28. Chair Entertainmet and Epic Games developed Shadow Complex as an action game based on classiscs like Metroid series. This game will allow you to explore secrets in a EE UU military basement with a fast paced action gameplay and stunning graphics powered by Unreal Engine 3.
  29. Shadow Complex is still 1200 Microsoft Points well spent for a simple shoot-em-up that will keep trigger-happy gamers blasting bad guys for days on end.
  30. Shadow Complex offers a retail-quality experience for 1/4th of the price. Fans of any type of action-adventure gaming would be crazy to miss out on this refreshing shooter. Now bring on Shadow Complex 2!
  31. 90
    An engaging and action-packed title filled with the type of old-school arcade action that you just don't see too much in this day and age.
  32. I honestly just can't say enough good things about Shadow Complex. Except for a little wonkiness when trying to aim into the background, this is a truly phenomenal title. For a fifteen dollar arcade game, the production values are almost unbelievable. The graphics are great, the level design is fantastic, the gameplay is fun and involving, the sound effects and voice acting are well done, and the story is even interesting.
  33. The game’s blood-spilling action is balanced by strong exploratory elements and frequent plot updates.
  34. This is clearly the game you must play during this summer on Xbox 360. It's the best action/exploring game since Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, one that fans of the genre will love but that also has elements to attract players that are new into it.
  35. Just to give you folks an idea, I was able to muscle my way thru the game on normal in about 7 hours. But, I’ve only scratched the surface, the replayability is really high for this game as you can go through it over and over.
  36. We were spoiled by Shadow Complex’s sophisticated environments, and while we could settle for the truckload of timed challenges in the nifty Proving Grounds collection of mini-games, we wanted to fall back into the darkened corridors of the sinister Restoration’s high-tech mazes for more, more, more.
  37. Despite sounding like I am gushing, the high production values and attention to detail are evident with every step.
  38. From the power-ups to the level design, Shadow Complex is a love letter to Super Metroid. The result is a game that is a heck of a lot of fun, although it would be unfair comparing it to Super Metroid.
  39. The amount of polish and replayability Shadow Complex offers had me forgetting I was playing an arcade game. If you are looking for something to continually go back to for bragging rights and exploration fun then Shadow Complex is certainly not a title you should miss out on.
  40. There's eye candy galore for one, and more importantly the gameplay, exploration and levelling-up will keep you coming back for more.
  41. Even when compared to other titles in the Summer of Arcade line-up, it’s more than worth the money, proving, once again, how much is possible within the limitations of digital distribution. It’s a must-buy for fans of the genre, and still worth investing time in for anyone else.
  42. Shadow Complex takes a classic formula and brings it in to the high definition era giving us a beautiful experience, in more ways than one. It is well worth the asking price and a title that everyone needs to try out. Be sure not to miss out.
  43. Shadow Complex is yet another example of how fun, creative gameplay does not have to be limited to the bigger budget AAA titles.
  44. 90
    With competent combat, thrilling exploration and the inherent joy of becoming a world-conquering super soldier, Shadow Complex is a triumph. The journey might be short, but it's one of the sweetest you'll have all year.
  45. Shadow Complex is a title that shows that two-dimensional games still have a right to exist. The story is well done, the influence of Metroid and Castlevania give it a classic feel and the complete package has lots of replayability. The game lends a hand here and there which makes the game more accessible for a larger audience. The game isn't perfect, thanks to the clunky aiming-mechanic when things happen in the background. Still, Shadow Complex is an example of how XBLA-games should be.
  46. A massive map, cool upgrades, and addicting gameplay make for the best XBLA game made yet.
  47. Shadow Complex comes to Xbox Live and more than projecting the revival of a genre out of use by industry it surfaces the difficulty of organizing a large-scale production at a low cost.
  48. X-ONE Magazine UK
    A throwback to an almost non-existent genre on 360 and a superb addition to the list of great titles on XBLA. [Issue#50, p.93]
  49. Games Master UK
    A first-class throwback to the gory days of 16-bit and a superb shooter in its own right. [Nov 2009, p.84]
  50. 90
    Put simply this is one of the best games of 2009 and arguably the best game yet released on XBLA.
  51. Shadow Complex is perhaps one the best games to come out on Xbox Live Arcade.
  52. At 15 dollars, Shadow Complex is simply a tremendous value, especially in the doldrums of summer. The lackluster story, superfluous 3D forays, and routine combat amount to mere nitpicks. The urge to scour and uncover that fuels the game makes it hard to put it down once you've started.
  53. Finally a game that not only pays homage to the original concept of arcade games but transcends it to a 21st century level.
  54. A pretty good story, bombastic action and lots of fun, Shadow Complex is a true recommendation!
  55. A fun, yet involving game. The action is well paced, there’s plenty of differing challenges, and the story will keep you hooked whether you’re a card fan or not.
  56. By focusing on the core themes of exploration and high-intensity combat while treating you to lush graphics and multiplane complexity, Shadow Complex is an excellent current-generation take on a classic gaming genre.
  57. 85
    At the end of the day, Shadow Complex is about shooting things, which is good as that's what the game does best.
  58. 85
    A well-written love letter to an almost-forgotten style of game, Shadow Complex is quite simply one of the best titles available on Xbox Live Arcade.
  59. 85
    Shadow Complex has turned out to be a very good game. It combines a strong story with nice graphics, sublime sound and addictive gameplay. The game isn’t perfect, but the good far outweigh the bad that it becomes a must-buy for every fan of action games. 1200 Microsoft Points is hardly much, considering you get more than what you pay for.
  60. A solid little platformer that’s surprisingly massive in scope. Unlike in the Metroid series, there’s never anything vague about your next objective.
  61. A perfect working mix between fights and exploration: high rhythm, never boring. You're going to feel pure fun as if you're back again playing coin-up, being stuck with your pad, achievement after achievement, enjoying it for hours. Nothing more to ask from a game such this.
  62. A solid traditional shooter, with many references to the great 2d Arcades from the past. Funny, quick and solid.
  63. Playing Shadow Complex it's impossible not to draw references to old two dimensional classics such as Super Metroid and Bionic Commando, sources of inspiration that developer Chair Entertainment openly recognizes. The 2.5D game engine not only looks great but works great, offering the player an intense and enjoyable journey all the way through. The adventure might be a bit on the short side, but given the quality and entertainment you're offered here there is no reason to let this one pass you by. One of the best packages you'll find on Xbox Live.
  64. The greyification of gaming continues, but this new age Super Metroid is more fun than it looks.
  65. It’s really quite amazing the amount of content you get for 1200 points.
  66. games(TM)
    While it may lack the precision design of a classic Metroid or recent Castlevania, Shadow Complex's all-out action, gigantic bosses and ingenious challenges allow it to stand up alongside those genre superstars on its own merits. [Oct 2009, p.133]
  67. A game that in it's essence manages to pay tribute to one of the best games ever made, Super Metroid.
  68. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    Exactly what you'd want from a modern Metroid - pretty, well-paced, and as grey as a squirrel. [Nov 2009, p.104]
  69. 75
    To call Shadow Complex inspired by the Metroid series would be a terrible slander to the word "inspiration." It's not so much that the developer, Chair, looked to Super Metroid for ideas as it is that they took a sheet of wax paper and did a rubbing of Samus Aran's entire career. It's a clone.
  70. Play Magazine
    Hits the mark as a sparkling XBLA action game, but misses the target as a Super Metroid/SotN-level experience.
  71. It's easy to see why Shadow Complex is such a good game - it follows the mold of some of the best and most enjoyable games ever, retaining that feel even though it's built with today's tech behind it.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 219 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 219
  1. Jan 18, 2014
    Shadow Complex captures the essence of Metroidvania games and has some very great upgrades to boot. Excellent sense of progression,Shadow Complex captures the essence of Metroidvania games and has some very great upgrades to boot. Excellent sense of progression, interesting plot great exploration and a good combat system. This game is probably the best XBLA game you can get. Full Review »
  2. Oct 2, 2013
    Awesome Metroidvania type of game. One of the most fun games I've played. Game design is excellent. I loved the mix of 2d with 3d. SometimesAwesome Metroidvania type of game. One of the most fun games I've played. Game design is excellent. I loved the mix of 2d with 3d. Sometimes the controls can be frustrating though...the character doesn't do what you want him to do. Full Review »
  3. Jun 3, 2013
    While it doesn't have tons of replay value, Shadow Complex is an entertaining diversion if you're looking for something to play. It doesn'tWhile it doesn't have tons of replay value, Shadow Complex is an entertaining diversion if you're looking for something to play. It doesn't particularly innovate in any way, but it's a fun Metroid-style game with modern gadgets and guns. Full Review »