Shady Part of Me is a unique puzzle-platformer where a girl and her shadow work together to solve puzzles and progress through a watercolor landscape. The two main characters are opposites. The girl is afraid of light and must hide in the shadows, while her shadow must remain in the light and uses shadows as platforms. The story revolves around mental illness and the girls’ journey as they work their way through their fears. It’s such a simple, yet brilliant, concept that opens the way to some seriously clever puzzles.
Gameplay is quite simple. The girl can pull levers and push boxes, while her shadow is a bit more athletic, as she is able to jump and climb. The real challenge comes from the puzzles, which are the perfect difficulty. Some of them took serious thought to solve, making it that much more satisfying whenever I overcame a particularly challenging one, but rarely did I ever feel very frustrated, either. And though controlling two characters can potentially lead to a tedious amount of backtracking, that was never a problem in this game, as there were frequent checkpoints, meaning neither character could really get left too far behind. Also, you won’t lose much progress if you make a mistake because you can simply rewind to before your blunder and try again!
I only have two minor complaints. One, the locations in the middle of the game started to get a bit dull, though the game did become more interesting again later on. And two, I don’t recall there being a proper title screen, and I couldn’t tell what I was selecting in the pause menu because there was nothing to distinguish the option I had selected from the rest. That second one is a minor issue, but I found it odd, as if the game was somewhat unfinished, though it seems like a problem that could surely be fixed with an update.
Shady Part of Me is one of those obscure gems I was grateful to discover. With an interesting watercolor aesthetic, a thought-provoking story focusing on mental health, and some truly clever puzzles, I would highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a unique experience that’s sure to get you thinking.
This post was originally published on Virtual Bastion on September 7, 2021.