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Game Review #506: Shadow Bug (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Robert Krause

Developer: Muro Studios

Publisher: Muro Studios 

Category: Platformer, Adventure, Puzzle

Release Date: 3.30.2018

Price: $8.99

Watch the Trailer

Buy Shadow Bug digitally from the Nintendo eShop here.

Buy Shadow Bug physically from the First Press Game store here.

Shadow of Reckoning

When an evil factory threatens to destroy a forest, a ninja bug arises to defend his homeland from the monsters and machines. Muro Studios' breathtaking example of a puzzle platformer released in March of 2018 but is now getting a physical release with a collector's edition from First Press Games. Shadow Bug’s artistic style is one of the more imaginative and beautiful that I have seen from an indie developer. You’ll play on all dark black shadow platforms while the background behind you will show picturesque forest backgrounds, sewers, and factory rooms. With a soundtrack that is both relaxing to listen to but also varying enough to not get bored with I enjoyed playing through all 36 levels and its 6 unique boss fights that were challenging but not extreme like a lot of platform games bosses tend to be today. 

Slash N Dash 

Your little black dot with eyes and two katanas can move smoothly through the levels using either the touchscreen like a mobile game, the JoyCons, or - the way I found most enjoyable - using both. You use the left analog to move and touch the screen to attack enemies or chain attacks. After a couple minutes of figuring out how to position my meaty hand out of the way and under the switch screen, I was able to use my hand and still see where the next attack or platform I needed was. As the game progresses you’ll find more and more puzzle areas that require finding levers or back tracking to find a monster you can rush to but none of the levels felt punishing or ‘unfair’. Each level has three ninja stars (or shuriken for my fellow weebs) that you can collect; one for completion of the level, one for beating a goal time, and one for the amount of light orbs you collect. Each level also has a leaderboard for quickest time through the level. Most of the boss fights have a puzzle mechanic to figure out, whether to give them damage or to destroy them outright. A couple took me a few minutes to figure out but I was still able to avoid dying by attacking other monsters in the room or moving around to avoid damage.

Dark and Beautiful

As I mentioned in the opening, Shadow Bug is a beautiful game. Similar to Limbo with the dark shadow foreground that you play through but with gorgeous backdrops that look like paintings. The level design is very well done and while there are limited monsters and machines I didn’t notice since most of my focus was on moving to the next part. The soundtrack is also a major plus, it is very relaxing and almost happy to listen to even though the plot is a bit dark. Even during tough puzzles or battles the music almost motivates you to succeed.

Wrap Up

There are a lot of platformers out there now a days. Some that are just trying to make a quick buck on the genre and some that are labors of love that you can tell the developer wanted to give its players an enjoyable experience. Shadow Bug is the latter, with its smooth game play, unique characters, beautiful art and sound track, and the fact that it is long enough to feel worth your money, even if it’s only a steal at $9. If you’re a physical collector I can not recommend this game enough, especially the Collector's Edition for its artbook and soundtrack CD.

Score: 10/10

Buy Shadow Bug digitally from the Nintendo eShop here.

Buy Shadow Bug physically from the First Press Game store here.

Follow Muro Studios

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*A game key was provided for review purposes

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