Review: Shadow Point
Puzzles and Sir Patrick Stewart narrating, what's not to like?
Coatsink Software has been a long-term supporter of mobile virtual reality (VR) headsets ever since the early days of the Samsung Gear VR. Even in the last few years with a growing roster of high-end devices the studio has still stuck with Oculus Go – the only notable deviation was Esper: The Collection for Oculus Rift. So it’s no surprise that the team would develop something for Oculus Quest – one of the few original titles available at launch – in the form of puzzle experience Shadow Point.
The developer has rarely put a foot wrong with its previous VR efforts – something few studios can lay claim to – and Shadow Point is no exception. Before the videogame has really even begun you’re welcomed by the warm narration of Sir Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, X-Men, American Dad!, Ted) who leads you on the story throughout and gives the whole production a real feeling of quality only he can.
Shadow Point is a puzzle adventure set in a fantasy world based on the stars. All the puzzles are based on light and shadow, with lamps illuminating shapes which then have to be matched by in-world objects. A very simple premise and one that will ideally suit new VR players, or those simply looking for a relaxing experience. Played either seated or standing, there are enough motion options to ensure a comfortable experience, with both teleportation and smooth locomotion useable at the same time.
With seven main areas and over 80 puzzles (Coatsink’s number, VRFocus didn’t count them!) each location is split into rooms, each with varying amounts of puzzles to complete before progress can be made. While all the areas look suitably stylish and certainly feature Coatsink’s familiar design found in previous videogames like They Suspect Nothing, the interactive are purely kept to the puzzles themselves.
Which is a bit of a shame as there are lots to see and look at but the majority of it can’t be picked up or played with – one area has a bow and arrows laying on the ground and bags painted with targets yet no way to interact with them. This makes exploration mostly irrelevant (even in the small areas), keeping the journey fairly linear and only partially using the freedom Oculus Quest provides.
That freedom is mostly seen in the way some of the puzzles are laid out, having to hold items to gauge their size and position relative to the shadow trying to be cast. However, this process does on occasion highlight tracking issues with hands sticking when trying small movement adjustments when controllers are near the periphery of your vision.
This tends to happen on more elaborate and difficult puzzles which can make things a tiny bit frustrating at points. The actual difficulty curve is well balanced, providing a decent challenge once you’re about halfway through the story. One problem story-based puzzle titles tend to have is a lack of replay value or additional areas to explore to beef up the experience. Shadow Point has some nicely hidden extras with each location having a trickier ‘moon’ challenge to complete. If achieved this then opens a new area at the main observatory hub.
Shadow Point is a suitably well-accomplished puzzle experience. Those previous grumbles aside, there’s enough here to provide a good few hours of entertainment without breaking a sweat or running the risk of hitting a wall accidentally. Shadow Point isn’t quite up to the standard of Coatsink Software’s Augmented Empire for Oculus Go but it’s a charming adventure no the less.