Have you ever tried to make shadow puppets with just your hands, and a flashlight? Shadowmatic is a new iOS game that relies on the core concept of shadow puppets, but evolves it into a challenging puzzle experience. Rather than using your hands to cast shadows, you’re given intricate 3D objects that you can spin around 360 degrees to cast varying shadows. Each of the over 70 levels has one mysterious shadow to form, and you have to discover it by rotating the pieces given to you. It’s always a fresh challenge, since you don’t know the objective until you start manipulating the pieces.
Shadowmatic features a beautiful 3D visual design that accurately depicts the depth of field required when positioning the blocks. There are also nine unique environments for themed packs that change what you’re forming, and where you’re moving the pieces to. As good as the game looks, it controls even better to let you position the pieces exactly as you want by swiping one finger, or dragging with two fingers. As you advance through the levels, you will come across puzzles with two separate pieces, or even three pieces to manipulate, and there’s a single button to select the different pieces, or even activate the ability to move all the pieces together. It all works flawlessly, and the controls combined with the visuals really immerse you in the idea of actually moving the pieces.
It’s great to see each puzzle take shape from the simple beginning of spinning a given object around, and seeing if any particular form catches your eyes. One of the most interesting aspects is that the 3D shapes have very little resemblance to the resulting shadow form giving you little to go on to find the solution. Shadowmatic is a bit like Zen Bound in manipulating the finely crafted 3D shapes, and there are elements of Blueprint 3D in taking a random mass, and forming it into something recognizable. The difference is that Shadowmatic takes the challenge, and immersion up a notch to engage you in playing every single level.
Beyond the 70 included levels, there are extra little bonuses to discover. Every couple of levels include secret shadow forms to discover either by accident, or trying to identify odd shapes from the secrets menu. The level select menu is finely tuned for nonlinear level progression, and it also contains hidden elements to discover even more secrets. Every single part of the game is so well made to the point that you even have a 3D parallax view when aligning the objects. It’s the type of game that wraps you in its world, and keeps you coming back to discover every mystery it holds.
Shadowmatic ($2.99, Universal) is an ornately crafted challenge that moves beyond a game to create an immersive experience that is an absolute must have.