Review Solstice: Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a space-ship shooter set in a world not too unfamiliar from Metroid. The game flaunts some absolutely stunning visuals and features a world of twists and turns with a massive map that may require some back tracking.

Shadow Planet is a wondrous game that features some deep exploration and some brilliantly polished mechanics that make it a joy to play. Destructible environments, enjoyable physics that allow you to lift and throw boulders, and some absolutely insane boss fights.

Like most games in it’s genre, Shadow Planet features multiple weapons that you can switch from on a dime and it does a great job at making it seamless. Popping up a radial menu and having the weapons switch on your ship looks incredibly smooth.

Rocks can be destroyed or moved to solve puzzles.

There’s absolutely no way to give this game enough credit for it’s art style. The game looks absolutely amazing and does a great job of making the entire foreground completely black. Because of the game’s simple art style it gets away with red being bad and everything else being, well, not bad.

The ship is also very simple and stands out from the rest of the game because of it’s shape and constant movement. Even when it’s completely still it will slide into a stop and rock back and forth. All your weapons hang out of the bottom of the ship and the arm they’re attached to moves around seamlessly to point where you’re aiming.

Your ship in all its glory.

The game’s premise is simple enough to give the game some background and meaning but it’s definitely not a highlight of the game. Your planet is attacked and altered by an alien being that can only be described as a “shadow planet.” Your obvious goal is to enter the shadow planet and thwart it’s devious plans.

Some of the enemies you fight are pretty unreal, and they all tend to act differently from how they deal damage to you and how they move throughout the level. Some will snare you from a distance while others will attempt to fly into you and explode. It results in some pretty extreme game play that forces a lot of movement on the player’s part and also makes you learn a lot in a short period of time.

The water effects look amazing.

 There are some downsides to this game, of course. The level design can get pretty rough on you after hours of gameplay. Hitting dead ends after a few hours of gameplay or having to trace back to an older area of the game for another weapon can get extremely tedious. In fact the only times I wanted to put down the controller were when I realized I was on the completely wrong end of the map.

Even though the game plays great with a controller once you try moving back to keyboard and mouse it feels less than optimal. There are also a few parts in the game that may confuse what you’re supposed to or the controls may make those objectives a little more difficult.

Giant spider-worms are bad. Very bad.

Even though there’s some downsides, like every game, this is still a great purchase. The game has an amazing sound track that switches between heavy rock and melodic techno-rock which fits the game perfectly. There are a few times though that the music won’t quite match the scene of the game.

The art style and the polished gameplay are great reasons to pick up this title, but it’s entirely possible that you won’t enjoy or play through the whole game.

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Check out the game on steam here

If you need any extra information on it read some more reviews below. I suggest watching them as you’ll be able to fully experience the visuals and audio of the game.

Gamaustra: Critical Reception article

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