Top Critic Average
If you don't like point-and-click adventure games, they game may not be for you. If you are a fan of the genre, looking for something difficult to tackle, or wondering why you haven't played Shadowgate in 30 years, absolutely pick this up. I swear, the music will bring you back.
Shadowgate is, well, Shadowgate. If you know what that means, you're probably keen on playing it. It's not exactly a taxing title as far as computer specs run, so there's really no issue for those who traditionally stick to consoles. But if if the name means nothing to you, either you're about to be made a believer in the joys of brain-breaking puzzles or sent screaming out of the castle and back to the loving arms of Call of Duty.
In all, Shadowgate is a formidable if sometimes frustrating return to classic adventure gameplay. If you're a fan of the original or undaunted by Shadowgate's unforgiving depths, it's worth grabbing a torch and venturing inside.
Some players will appreciate the fact that this game is remorseless a lot of the time. Meanwhile others — even fans of this sort of punishing experience — may feel that the game is a bit too daunting at times.
Zojoi have attempted to resurrect a classic here, but time has undoubtedly taken its toll. What's here is enjoyable enough for hardened adventure game fans, but gamers honed on a diet of The Walking Dead may be turned off by its complexity and strict adherence to difficulty. If you've got the patience then Shadowgate could be the game for you - it's often amusing, always head-scratching, but most importantly it's a taste of gaming past that many may miss.
In addition to torches, you'll collect a vast assortment of items, from weapons and armor to seemingly useless trinkets, bones, and even magic spells, that you can then use on the few hotspots in each room trying to get further into the game.
If you are a fan of the series or the enre you will find this title to be instantly intuitive to you and you will likely slip back into the old mind set. If you are new to the genre and are interested I would suggest you give it a go. If you are not interested in adventuring point and clicks This game has no real departure from the original formula so I do not think there will be anything to convert you.
Shadowgate wants to remind players of what games were like twenty years ago, albeit with a fresh visual covering. The improved presentation is a welcome addition, but the unevolved gameplay and story will tend to feel outdated. In the end, it feels overpriced for a single jolt of nostalgia.
Several antiquated mechanics like the limited supply of torches and the unhelpful hint system also serve to make exploring Shadowgate Castle more frustrating than it should be, and that's even before we debate whether baffling cryptic trial-and-error puzzles are a good thing or not. Shadowgate is a faithful update then, but Zojoi have squandered the opportunity to actually update the gameplay too.
Zojoi Studios have done an excellent job bringing Shadowgate up to date without adding or removing its original appeal. I would recommend this game to anyone looking to experience either something a little different or looking to recapture that magic from their childhood. My biggest concern for this release is the attention it will get from gamers. Being a remaster of an older point & click game, I fear that a lot of people will simply overlook it in favour of other titles (I sincerely hope not). Shadowgate fully deserves the Thumb Culture Silver Award and I hope to see more of this kind of game making its way onto modern consoles.
Shadowgate on Nintendo Switch is very much the same reboot we saw on PC back in 2014, taking the same mix of puzzles, difficulty and exploration the original was famed for and mixing it up with some enhanced conundrums and much more appealing presentation. Even with the updated visuals, Shadowgate still has a clunky UI, however, the button mapping on Switch does help negate this issue a little. Problems aside, this is a faithful remake that retro fans will lap up, although newer players might find this elder gaming statesman has teeth that bite a little too hard.
Shadowgate really suits the on the go feel of the Nintendo Switch. Staying true to the 2014 version will please fans and with the art style, this point-and-click game was a pleasure to play even if it's incredibly hard at times. The controls are adapted well but do take some time to really grasp as there are a lot of options and customisation available, making it clunky at first. Fans of the original game will love the updated graphics and extended puzzles, but newer players might find it hard to get stuck into.
Shadowgate is very easy to recommend to fans of the original game or of the early days of point-and-click in general. For modern genre enthusiasts, it may be a tougher sell thanks to basic presentation and lots of opportunities to get a game over. Regardless, this is the best updated version of a thirty year old game that one could hope for, and it should leave nostalgic adventure gamers hopeful for more classic revivals in the same vein.
While you're busy destroying your brain to figure out the game's logic, you will at least have a beautiful environment to look at. Unfortunately, graphics alone do not make a game great.