Tandem: A Tale of Shadow is a puzzle-platform with a fantastic level design, in terms of the quality of its puzzles and the creepiness of its visuals.
Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is a puzzle-platform developed by Monochrome Paris and published by Hatinh Interactive. The dark world of Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is filled with fantastic puzzle designs, with new ideas launched at a rapid pace that keep the player engaged until the end.
Tandem: A Tale of Shadows takes place in Victorian London and stars a young girl named Emma, who learns that a boy named Thomas Kane has gone missing without a trace. Kane is the young son of a famous and eccentric family of wizards, and their strange home has baffled the police. She decides to investigate the Kane mansion herself. On the way, a teddy bear falls from a car at high speed, and to his surprise, he jumps to his feet and starts running towards the mansion. Emma names the teddy bear Fenton, and the two enter the mysterious Kane Mansion, in order to find the missing child.
Fenton has the ability to walk on walls, which is the key to the main game loop of Tandem: A tale of shadows, because he and Emma exist on parallel planes. The player controls Emma from top to bottom, while Fenton is on a 2D stage above her. The goal of each stage is to use Emma to guide Fenton to the next piece of the key which is used to further explore the mansion, with the player able to switch between them at any time. The player has to use Emma to influence the environment in order to create shadow bridges, which can be done in different ways, for example by using a lamp near the barriers. As the game progresses, it introduces new gadgets, such as living jelly platforms that will devour each other to create larger platforms, moths that move from lamp to lamp. who can devour Fenton if he gets too close attack Emma if spotted by the giant eyeballs lining the hallways.
The level and puzzle design in Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is fantastic, thanks to the game that shakes up the formula with new additions at intervals of a few stages, and keeping the different elements for solving the puzzles at your fingertips at all times. The dual world aspect of the gameplay also leads to some great timing puzzles, with the player having to keep the shadow bridges and platforms displayed with Emma while Fenton races against the clock. Tandem: A Tale of Shadows packs a lot of content into its 4-5 hour battery life, and puzzles never get stereotypical or outdated.
The aesthetics of Tandem: A Tale of Shadows are also fantastic. The game is inspired by Alice in Wonderland, the films of Tim Burton and Sherlock Holmes, all brought together by the Victorian steampunk inventions that exist throughout the Kane Mansion. The world map of Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is divided into five different levels, each with its own unique look and feel, such as the kitchen and its huge living desserts, or the boiler room and its mechanical monstrosities. Each step is full of little flourishes, as well as some hidden secrets to discover. The soundtrack of Tandem: A Tale of Shadows complements this aesthetic nicely, with a number of chilling melodies that haunt Emma’s footsteps.
It should be mentioned that Tandem: A Tale of Shadows suffers from a few minor issues at launch, most of which relate to the Ghost Bridges and Fenton. The malleable nature of the environment means the game sometimes struggles to register whether something is a platform or not, but these are rare, and the checkpoint system prevents rolling the player back too far. .
Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is a short game, but each stage is well designed, with the puzzles just hard enough to make the player feel smart to solve them, without ever being so obtuse that it becomes frustrating. The spooky world of toys and monsters in Kane Mansion is a lot of fun to explore, and learning how to change the shape of shadows to suit the player’s needs remains intriguing until the end.
Tandem: A Tale of Shadows will be released on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X / S on October 21, 2021. Screen Rant has received a digital code for the PC version of the game for the purposes of this review.
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