Review: Shadowmatic, by TRIADA Studio (universal binary)


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Jul 5, 2008
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[URL="]Shadowmatic[/URL], by Triada Studio
$2.99, ****1/2


  • Great new 3D puzzler
  • Makes good use of the parallax view

  • Syncing can be a problem

Shadowmatic is a great puzzler game, one of those you can sit and play for hours, or just spend ten or fifteen minutes as a time. In my experience, however, it is far more likely to be on the ?hours? side of things than the ten or fifteen minutes.

The concept in Shadowmatic is simple ? think shadow puppets. You are shown an object, with a light shining on it, resulting in a shadow being cast of the opposite wall. Your job ? rotate and move the object to create a per-determined shadow of the wall, solving the level.

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Figure 1. Rotate object to achieve the desired shadow - like this fish!

The trick is, the objects you have in no way resemble the shadow you are trying to cast. While the games starts out with one object, you eventually move on to two or more objects that have to be in relatively perfect alignment to cast their shadow. In addition, you don?t know what the shadow is supposed to be, so you can find yourself just twisting and turning an object hoping to start to see something recognizable on the wall.

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Figure 2. Choose from multiple paths and many different puzzles (note, the image only appears AFTER you solve the level)

There are a few ?help? systems designed to guide your progress. On the bottom of the page you can see up to six dots. As you start to move your alignment closer and close to the desired goal, the dots start to light up. If you rotate or twist to far, they start to go out again. Think of it as a kind of ?hot/cold? guidance system. If you still find it too difficult, you can start to unlock hints ? at first just some clues, but you can also unlock the level title. For those that has absolutely given up, you can unlock the actual image, showing you what you are supposed to see (you still need to figure out how to get that image, however).

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Figure 3. Sometimes you have multiple objects to rotate and align to get the desired shadow.

Shadowmatic is a universal binary, and the touch controls are easy to master of either an iPhone or iPad. Combined with a nice soundtrack (which they suggest you listen to with headphones). You can choose to sync your progress if you like, but it uses iCloud rather than game center. This means if you have multiple users, they will all receive the same synched progress.

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Figure 4. As you get closer to the goal, dots on the bottom start to light up. Light all six, and you have solved it!

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Figure 5. So called "secret" images are waiting to be found, in some cases by accident!

The image recognition can be a little hit and miss. There are a few times that I swear I have the image it was looking for, but it wasn?t ?registering? as correct (even though I had all six dots lit up). Then, suddenly, I make a slight shift in the object, and it recognizes that I have solved the level (even though to my eyes the images were basically identical). So it can be a little temperamental or sensitive at times.

One last nice feature is that there are ?hidden? images, called ?secrets? that you can try to unlock. In all my playing, I only have found one so far (strange elephant) and in many cases they seem to occur almost by accident. They are usually much more specific that the regular image, and a little stranger, than the regular images.

All in all, Shadowmatic is a well-designed, engrossing, and fun puzzle game to play. While I fully admit there were times I was frustrated with the app, the gameplay was unique enough, and challenging enough, that I was continually drawn back in. As a universal binary for $2.99, the app can be a fun way to spend a few minutes (or hours). Four and a half out of five stars.

* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks

Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. All opinions expressed in this review are precisely that ? opinions. You may agree or disagree. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.