9 Years of Shadows Reviews
It's pretty and it plays well, but this is a short, underwhelming Metroidvania with no exploration and uninteresting level design.
Halberd Studios has crafted a Metroidvania with a really encouraging number of unique elements. We have no issue in declaring it A Good Game™ and a great time thanks to its careful crafting and implementation of a number of original ideas that elevate the gameplay, rather than stifle it. It is just another Metroidvania at heart, yes, and it doesn't revolutionise the genre; but, while there are a few scrappy bits where you can see a thinning of the budget compared to works by larger studios, it holds its own as an inventive, pretty, and consistently enjoyable adventure.
Call it refined nostalgia. Call it a love letter to Metroid Fusion and other Game Boy Advance metroidvanias. Call it what you want. 9 Years of Shadows is a good, short, yet approachable metroidvania. While it doesn’t quite hit the depth of combat complexity and story beats of its GBA predecessors, it overdelivers via gorgeous pixel art and an orchestrated soundtrack. Its Nintendo Switch port is not the best in its current state, but it’s worth playing if you’re wanting a metroidvania to play on a lazy Sunday.
9 Years of Shadows' pixel graphics are gorgeous, its story is compelling, and its boss battles are worth the slower moments you have to wade through to get there. It's a fun adventure that offers enough surprises to keep Castlevania fans engaged throughout.
I was initially hooked by 9 Years of Shadows, and I still have nothing negative to say about the game’s music or visuals, but then I realized that the game didn’t have anything interesting to show me after the Poseidon armor. The predictable level structure, meaningless upgrades, uninteresting enemies, mechanically boring boss fights, and stale combat make it a repetitive slog to go through.
Nine Years of Shadows is a good Metroidvania with an impressive presentation and intriguing world. Gameplay mechanics will be instantly familiar to any genre fans and easy to understand for newcomers. There aren’t too many surprises in the narrative but it is imbued with a sense of optimism that kept me engaged.
9 Years of Shadows is a great game that fans of Metroidvanias will definitely love; it's just the problems with the game crashing and freezing that make me have to score the game lower than it really deserves.
9 Years of Shadows may not shake up the world of indie games, but it comes as a metroidvania with quality, personality and a lot of good ideas. Recommended for fans of the genre.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
With the abundance of quality metroidvanias currently available on Switch, standing out is no easy task. Nevertheless, with great visuals and animations, fun combat and a simple but intriguing narrative, 9 Years of Shadows fulfills its mission and delivers an adventure that deserves to be experienced. Its linearity and short duration may disappoint some players, but it's undeniable that the mix of color, musicality and action works well here — and, given the competent adaptation and its inherent versatility, Nintendo's hybrid console is the best way to experience it.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
9 Years of Shadows obviously leans on the genre’s trademark mechanics, but it brings enough of its own to make it stand out from the rest. Its world alone is reason enough to give it a spin, but add in its creative balancing of combat and magic/health regen along with how the game deals with color and you’ve got something special that shouldn’t be missed even by the most veterans of players.
Undoubtedly giving off a feel of earlier days of grand environments, hacking, and slashing, but missing a spark to go next level
An experience of between five and eight hours of full-fledged metroidvania. Overcoming a mechanic that somewhat unbalances its gameplay, 9 Years of Shadows is a simple game that knows very well what it is looking for, providing art designs and a particularly remarkable soundtrack.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
9 Years of Shadows may not reinvent the wheel with regards to the genre but one can’t deny the quality on display here. The gameplay is fun and addictive, from the game’s tight combat to exploration, encouraging you to seek out every secret possible. On top of all that, you add beautiful pixel graphics and an excellent soundtrack which makes the experience all the more special. 9 Years of Shadows is a great example where it’s ok for a game to play off the same music sheet, so long as the band playing is skilled and brings a top-quality performance. I’m trying to say the game is great and well worth your time. Even if you are tired of adventure games, this may just renew your interest.
9 Years of Shadows is a really fun Metroidvania-style title with cool ideas and gorgeous visuals, but the technical issues do hold it back right now. It’s playable from start to end and there’s nothing severely game-breaking, but I did have to re-load my save a multitude of times to fix little issues, whilst there were plenty of occasions where the game just crashed on me. Outside of those issues? There’s a heck of a lot to like in the game, with the clever world design, unique abilities, and beautiful presentation ensuring that 9 Years of Shadows stands out in the crowd. It just needed a little bit more work before release to ensure those bugs would be fixed. And when those bugs are sorted out? You can add an extra point to the score.
I can’t pretend the glitches I encountered in 9 Years of Shadows weren’t frustrating, especially as a backer. I can only hope that Halberd Studios and Freedom Games take my complaints to heart and does everything they can to patch these problems as quickly as possible. Because underneath all the glitches, there’s a truly fantastic adventure, and one I still really enjoyed. If you’re a fan of Metroidvanias, definitely put this one on your wishlist. Just maybe wait on pulling the trigger until the developers have had a chance to make some necessary fixes.
9 Year of Shadows is a challenging but rewarding metroidvania with some lovely pixel art, an intriguing story, excellent soundtrack, and an exciting armor system based on Greek mythos. Navigating the map can be a bit tedious, and some of the combat encounters fall into a repetitive cycle, but if you're looking for a unique metroidvania with a lot of style, 9 Years of Shadows gets a lot right.
9 Years of Shadows is a straightforward Metroidvania with some incredible theming, unique narrative lessons to pass on, and healing — or, at the very least, beautiful — music. It keeps things simple, sometimes to a fault, but manages to keep one thing at the forefront from beginning to end. Fun. It's a shame then that, at least at launch, the game's smattering of technical issues get in the way of letting its real art shine.
If it weren’t already clear from the review up to this point, I adored this game. 9 Years of Shadows is a rare delight in a subgenre that has become a bit overstuffed of late, a careful and fun romp that speaks to the best of its genre by at once feeling almost effortlessly engrossing and yet impossible to put down. Every time I stopped playing I couldn’t wait to get back into the castle, and even though I saw where the major plot twists were very early on I was still happy as they unfolded.
9 Years of Shadows uses music and color to create a unique adventure. Agile exploration is its greatest asset, especially changing Europa armor to overcome the various challenges spread throughout Talos Castle. Technically the game is competent, however, as a metroidvania, it is basic: the progression is very linear and most of the elements are too simple. To compensate, the atmosphere is well-built with the colorfully stylish visuals and outstanding soundtrack. These characteristics make 9 Years of Shadows enjoyable, despite not being very outstanding.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
9 Years of Shadows is an artful blend of fluid, challenging gameplay, beautiful environments, animations and user interface, and music that gets your blood pumping.