ReviewsReview: White Shadows

Review: White Shadows

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Lying politicians and an imbalance in living conditions is nothing new. Where greedy creatures can manipulate power, they always will. George Orwell perfectly highlights this plight in Animal Farm. This novel is critically acclaimed and subsequently, it has influenced many forms of entertainment. White Shadows wears its appreciation to Orwell’s work on its sleeve! Therefore, fans of gritty and twisted dystopian dramas need to look no further.

Developed by Monokel and published by Thunderful, this is a monochromatic puzzle adventure title. Set in a twisted and futuristic dystopia, you must work through bizarre chapters of a disheartening plot. Its repeated nods to Orwell’s work are equally uncomfortable, as it is fascinating. Consequently, the quote “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” is as poignant as ever.

White Shadows tells a gripping story. 

You control a little Ravengirl who must work her way through an industrial and oppressive world. She knows that she is at the bottom of the animal hierarchy and wishes to escape her dangerous existence. However, the piggy overlords will not allow such an indiscretion to take place! They block her path, use manipulative messages, and attack her with robots. After all, what is the use of power if it doesn’t give you full control?

White Shadows comprises multiple chapters of increasingly disturbing and bizarre ideas. As you wander through the bleak monochromatic world, you are introduced to seedy advertisements and creepy traps. Everything you encounter is designed to break a society that should be equal. However, the pigs view themselves as intelligent and masterful, and this is how it must remain.

Oppressive imagery at every turn.

Simple puzzles intertwined with absurd machinery. 

Much of White Shadows gameplay focuses on a handful of similar puzzles. You must flip switches, push or pull boxes, avoid detection, or jump over obstacles. At the start, you’ll be intrigued by the interesting blend of problems you face. However, as time wears on, you realise the developers have simply rehashed their ideas repeatedly. This would have been disappointing if it wasn’t for the wonderful surrounding world and excellent machinery. The buzz and flicker of sordid advertisements will chill you to the bone. Moreover, the brutality of machinery will make you shudder.

The puzzles blend methodical thinking with fast-paced action. You quickly flit from dumping 80+ chicks into a blender to leaping across ladders and avoiding trains. Furthermore, there are moments where you must sacrifice your feathery friends in order to escape. No matter how much you try to better the system, you can’t, and this was disturbing. 

Political influences. 

Whatever way you look at it, you can’t avoid the obvious parodies to Stalinist Russia. You may worry that this is overbearing, but it complements the style perfectly. If you aren’t keen on the political twist, you can simply enjoy it at a rudimentary level. However, the blend of subtle ideas and OTT imagery creates an interesting, albeit strange world to explore.

Where White Shadows falls short is its failure to evolve. As you reach the latter stages, the action plateaus and you are left wanting. This was particularly disappointing, as the early game is so promising. Fortunately, it doesn’t taint the overall experience, yet, I can’t help but imagine how much darker the plot could have gone.

Enjoy the thrill of this train ride.

White Shadows is stunning. 

Few games make me stop to admire the scenery. However, White Shadows is spectacularly stunning! Its use of a striking monochromatic palette and overbearing imagery is wonderful. Furthermore, the stage design, complex machinery, and crazy advertisements will surprise you. Monokel has created an immersive world that is unnerving and fascinating to explore.

Gamers may become frustrated with the side-scrolling approach, as much of the world is out of reach. You’ll yearn to explore it and play with each whacky item, but sadly, you can’t. Luckily, however, you are never far away from a new puzzle or landmark. Fortunately, this continual flow of new and interesting moments distances you from any lingering disappointment.

The striking world is supported brilliantly by the ear-piercing audio. Industrial sounds screech and whirl around your head the further you explore. These are complemented by robotic noises and the juxtaposition of the cute animal squeaks. It’s an eclectic blend of sounds that adds to the hectic nature of the gameplay. Whether it’s a train whooshing overhead or a machine crunching bones, you’ll never tire of what you hear.

The industrial brutality hidden beneath the surface.

It’s a dream to handle.

The developers have clearly aimed for a seamless and user-friendly experience. With a simple button layout and buttery smooth movement, this is a dream to handle. Furthermore, the responsive controls make leaping platforms or completing puzzles much easier. The straightforward approach allows you to “enjoy” the oppressive atmosphere and bizarre story.

Unusually, for this genre, there is some replay value. Thanks to the loud imagery and strange goings-on, there is always something to see. Moreover, the secretive achievement list keeps you coming back for more while demanding perfection. 

White Shadows is short but brilliant.

With only 2 hours of gameplay, you may worry you’d be left disappointed. However, those couple of hours are brilliant. White Shadows is visually amazing, full of atmosphere, and will genuinely make you shudder. Its only downfall is that it plateaus near the end, but don’t let this put you off. I adored it and I recommend you to buy it here! The surrounding world is dangerous and you must escape before it’s too late. 

SUMMARY

White Shadows is a dark and gritty Orwell-inspired puzzle platformer. You must explore a grim industrial dystopia that will send chills down your spine. It comprises excellent ideas but it fails to evolve in the latter stages.

+ Striking graphics.
+ Creepy imagery.
+ Atmospheric audio.
+ Simple controls.
+ The strange world adds to the replay value.
- The latter stages plateau.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: Daniel@moviesgamesandtech.com

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Review: White ShadowsWhite Shadows is a dark and gritty Orwell-inspired puzzle platformer. You must explore a grim industrial dystopia that will send chills down your spine. It comprises excellent ideas but it fails to evolve in the latter stages. <br/> <br/> + Striking graphics. <br/> + Creepy imagery. <br/> + Atmospheric audio. <br/> + Simple controls. <br/> + The strange world adds to the replay value. <br/> - The latter stages plateau.<br/> <br/> (Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC and PlayStation.)<br/>