It's games like Shadowmatic that really highlight the depths of ingenuity streaming from the indie gaming community.
Devs like Triada Studio Games can evidently make a superb touchscreen game from any idea, no matter how simple it might seem on the surface.
And Shadowmatic is one of those titles that's made, from day one, for a specific platform, which is visible in every aspect of its inspired design.
Casts a long shadow
The game revolves around a very simple, and easily recognisable concept. It's a single player shadow puppet game, but in the most effective way you could imagine.
A strange, contorted shape is suspended in mid air, and casts a shadow against the wall in front. Your task is to twist and rotate this amorphous construct until a recognisable silhouette appears on the wall.
Looking at the object itself offers little in the way of help. They're designed to be intentionally vague, making no sense in three dimensions, but creating accurate shapes when reduced to 2D by their own shadows.
Shadowmatic even increases the challenge by giving you two shapes to deal with, turning them individually and revolving them around each other until a likeness of an animal, or household object suddenly appears against the wall.
Shadowmatic is perfect for touchscreens due to its wonderfully organic controls. Objects are rotated easily with a single finger, and turned on their axes using two (think of moving the view in the Maps app).
If you've two objects to deal with, a button is supplied to switch control between them. Holding down this button and sliding a finger on the screen orbits the two objects around each other, which is a necessary aspect of the shadow's formation.
These controls are so natural when the objects are under your fingertips that there's almost no need for explanation. It works, it's accurate, and it makes Shadowmatic a pleasure to touch.
This goes double when you take the beautiful visuals into account. Not only are the shadow-emitting objects photorealistic, but the walls and backgrounds are equally striking.
The lighting effects that are central to the gameplay also add an extra depth of beauty, and this all conspires to make Shadowmatic a tranquil pleasure from every angle.
Bound for greatness
It's inevitable that Shadowmatic is going to be compared to Zen Bound. And it's quite right to do so, though without any accusation of copying, or cloning. They're simply kindred games in a very small sub-genre, and fans of one are going to love the other.
Shadowmatic boasts the same kind of chill out gameplay that doesn't focus on winning so much as delivering a mesmerising experience. You play this game to relax, not to shore up high scores or indulge in OCD-level exploration.
It's about connecting with your touchscreen and soaking up Shadowmatic's lashings of intelligent design - coming away feeling enriched for having absorbed its delights for a couple of hours.
There are scant few games that can boast this kind of relaxing atmosphere, and it's perfect for anyone who demands a cerebral aspect to their down time.
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