In these games, players take on the role of a shadow in often charming adventures.
Although few games make shadows their primary focus, they are an intrinsic part of life. In the light, a person’s shadow dutifully follows, even as the world around them is distorted to make objects appear larger or smaller than they actually are.
Games with shadow protagonists often use their unique perspectives to create puzzling obstacles and challenges that other heroes would never face. At times, they may also tell stories about the past or painful experiences that linger with a shadow’s physical counterpart. However, no matter their story, games about shadows are a stunning display of the interplay between dark and light.
6 In My Shadow
In My Shadow follows a girl named Bella as she recounts her childhood, appreciating time spent with family, even when things didn’t go as planned. Each level takes place in a room representing her relationship with the important people in her life – her childhood pet, brother, parents, and herself.
In her memories, Bella and her family take the form of shadows, and players must adjust the furniture in the room to help her avoid spikes and reach the others. Over and over, Bella’s shadow meets them on the other side of the room and gives them the affection that she didn’t in the past. With each puzzle, Bella’s shadow helps her take back her regrets to make a better life for herself, making the game an encouraging play.
After being kidnapped by an army of light soldiers, a woman named Yamiko summons a vengeful shadow spirit called Aragami to save her. As the spirit, players sneak through the shadows toward Yamiko, following her guide while eliminating soldiers using stealth attacks.
Aside from moving quietly through the shadows, Aragami’s connection to the darkness allows him to manipulate the shade, conjure untraceable weapons, summon beasts from the shadow realm, turn invisible, and make bodies disappear into voids. While using shadow techniques makes Aragami an almost undetectable, deadly force, stepping into the light quickly rids him of his powers. Through the spirit’s battles and time spent alongside Yamiko, Aragamimakes the darkness a valuable and remarkable ally.
Schims are shadowy spirits that represent the souls of every object and living thing. Existing without one is a strange and unfortunate experience that should never happen. However, after a human Schim is separated from its body, players must jump from shadow to shadow to find their way home through the hectic yet vibrant world.
As people, animals, and cars move throughout each level, SCHiM seamlessly combines its gameplay with impressive animation while allowing players to change the game’s limited color palette to personalize each stage to every player’s wants or needs. As an anticipated indie work of art, SCHiM gives the shadows a colorful life of their own, the way many did in childhood.
3 Lost In Shadow
Lost In Shadow follows a boy’s shadow and his fairy companion as they travel through a tower, searching for the body he was cut away from. While the shadows of bridges, ladders, and other obstacles block his path, the shadow’s companion helps him manipulate the world around him by turning cogs, tilting platforms, or even adjusting the lighting in the room to cast more helpful pathways in the shade.
The puzzle platformer primarily focuses on the boy’s ascent and determination to remember his identity. However, the presence of shadow beasts and other invisible dangers throughout their travels adds another layer of intrigue to their story. With each step, the boy’s shadow learns how to control the darkness around him, recognizing his value as a shadow, even as he still longs for his physical form.
2 Shady Part of Me
In Shady Part of Me, a young girl, afraid of light, and her confident shadow navigate complex fantasy dreamscapes, trying to help the girl escape her loneliness, insecurity, and fear by working together. As players switch back and forth between the girl and her shadow, they use levers and pull objects to create new paths forward while avoiding the light or dark, respectively.
Overcoming obstacles side by side allows the shadow to offer her body encouragement and reassurance while challenging her innermost doubts. If not for being separated, the girl could begin facing fears and traumatic experiences on her own. However, after feeling misunderstood, isolated, and ashamed of her situation, her shadow’s kind patience slowly guides the girl toward understanding light’s beautiful and fickle nature.
To most, Dawn is a nine-year-old girl’s imaginary friend. However, to Didi, Dawn is just as real as anyone else. She is a strong acrobat with the power to shift into a shadow at will, using the darkness to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. Together, Didi and Dawn stumble across the girl’s absentee father and decide to help him with his latest business venture, hoping that, in exchange for success, he will stay by her side more readily.
While Didi supports her father by encouraging him to build a new carnival in town, Dawn explores the shadows, fixing damaged attractions and listening to the hidden truths others believe Didi is too young to hear. As the past unveils itself through Dawn’s efforts in the dark, Contrasttells a touching story about determination and the complexities of familial love.