Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Shad'O

12:00 PM on 11.03.2012 // Alasdair Duncan
  @Full_of_hornets

Maybe not the tower defense of your dreams

Tower Defense games are fairly common these days but despite the rigidity of their design, developers still manage to take the basic tenets of the genre and make some interesting titles. Sanctum, Anomaly: Warzone Earth, and Plants vs. Zombies have all been distinct and enjoyable games. Even Orcs Must Die! and Dungeon Defenders did something unique by adding third-person action to the mix.

Shad'O has arrived, attempting to give the tower defense genre a new setting, however, gamers may find it a familiar and all-too-traditional experience.

Shad'O (PC)
Developer: Okugi Studio
Publisher: Okugi Studio
Released: September 4, 2012
MRSP: $9.99

In Shad'O, you control William, a young boy who is attempting to fend off the forces of forgetfulness and shadows to retrieve his memories before they're lost forever. Aided by his childhood teddy bear, William will travel to different locations of his dreams in an attempt to beat back an ever increasing fog that threatens to cut the link to his past. In each level, there is a memory that the shadows are trying to destroy and that's what he must protect with his army of patchwork tower companions. But as William salvages his memories, is he better to have left some things forgotten?

Shad'O brings a few interesting dynamics to the tower defense genre, most notably the fog that envelopes most of the level. At the start of a level, most of the map will be swathed in fog and it's only by placing units that you can disperse some of the gloom. It's an interesting dynamic -- you'll be forced to place units not only for their offensive abilities but also so you can get a better idea of what type of enemies are incoming along the main paths. You can place units near some light beacons at the beginning of a level and from those points, you can expand your forces to reveal the rest of the map. Maintaining these units is vital as it's easy to get swamped with foes after losing advanced positions.

However, at its core Shad'O really is fairly traditional tower defense -- enemies attack along a strict path (or paths) and the units you place are all fairly standard (e.g., the shooter, the laser, the area-of-attack, and so on). At the start of the game, you have the three basic offensive units and the primary energy retrieval unit; it's only after the first boss that you'll be given access to more units with further ones unlocked later on. Shad'O isn't great at giving feedback as to what towers are effective against certain enemies. With the necessity to reveal more of the enemy path, expanding quickly with lots of cheap units reaps as much reward as careful placement of more expensive and powerful ones.

While units can be upgraded to more powerful and effective versions, you have to unlock the ability to do so after completing a level. You have the option of unlocking up to another two tiers of upgrades or choosing a variety of spells to gain access to instead. Upgrading a unit in battle is as easy and the fact that each upgrade only costs the same as the initial unit cost, it's an appealing route to take. However, many of the spells are invaluable to progression and can greatly swing the tide of a battle in your favor. Indeed, one particular spell that removes any stun effects on your units became the only way I was able to beat the first boss level.

Having a single unlock after completing a level is a big gamble, but a poor choice will stay with you for the rest of the game. Once you complete a level, you're able to replay it in Nightmare Mode which ramps up the difficulty and rewards an extra unlock. These become vital -- stacking spells and upgrading units are a must as the game offers an increasingly steep challenge in later levels. Also available are bonus stages where there is a tweak on the gameplay formula; the reward here is a special permanent bonus or buff. Levels might have a random draw aspect to the units available or a particularly inventive scenario where you have a battlefield full of fully upgraded units but are only able to activate them one at a time.

Shad'O never takes advantage of its dream setting to make some really interesting levels; despite some eye-catching backgrounds, the levels are always on a 2D plane and look fairly similar. Likewise, the unit and enemy design are fairly standard. The friendly units are like patchwork toys made up of mismatched felt, but there's some charm to see them fully upgraded with their out-of-place weaponry. The enemy units are blobs of inky shadow with little to tell them apart. When they're bunched up in a crowd, it can be hard to tell what specifically is incoming. The cutscenes are composed of still images with little animation but they convey William's sense of confusion and his gradual understanding of why his memories have been disappearing.

Shado'O offers a solid tower defense experience, albeit one that doesn't take advantage of its unique setting and story. While mechanically sound, despite some frustrations when it comes to unit placement around the fog, it's nothing you probably haven't played before.

Tower defense newcomers should head for Defense Grid: The Awakening, but if you're looking for a different style of game in the genre, Shad'O might give you some fun hours. 



THE VERDICT

6.5

Shad'O - Reviewed by Alasdair Duncan
Amicable - A presentable but unmemorable time. Focusing on the bright spots helps, and I appreciate the effort, but I won't be playing this repeatedly.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Alasdair Duncan, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Full_of_hornets Tips
Alasdair Duncan is that bearded, bespectacled Scotsman that covers PC gaming that is not Fraser Brown. A long time Destructoid community member and forum moderator, he covers adventure, puzzle, F... more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Shad'O


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Emily Wants To Play has come to mobile (and I wish it would go away again)

Six Reasons Why YOU Should Buy Soul Sacrifice Delta For $8!

Mega Man X Drinking Game: The Super Smashed Bros

Video Gaming Bits -- Rampage: Total Destruction

Roses are black, PS4 lights are blue; This is a game, and it has valkyries too?

Cblogs of 02/10/16 and WONDER-isms

Modern face of survival horror

Discussion Discussion on Games

PStoid Episode 38: Doomed from the Box Art

Cblogs of 2/9/16 - Only Slightly Late Edition

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Looks like I'm not gonna be able to 100% Tearaway Unfolded until Monday at the least. I'm definitely writing about it this weekend and am trying my hardest to get my screenshots off of my PS4 (especially hard as I don't do social media anymore)
Darth Wachen avatarDarth Wachen
I've never done a blog before, so I may as well try one with a review of Stranger of Sword City....well, when I get entered into that contest of course
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Shakedown Hawaii is giving me good GTA vibes. I missed the topdown GTA games when they were a thing. I have to decide what platform to get it for since it's coming to 3DS/Vita/PS4/PC (probably the Vita version for moi).
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
You think your art sucks? Here's the rule34 I made of Larx yesterday. Look at it and despair.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Hey Dreamweaver? If you think your art sucks, you should have a look at my magnum opus. It's of Cloud from the popular game, Final Fantasy: All the Bravest.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
I never thought this would happen, but here I am. all of my 700+ pokemon gone in one day. My cart stopped working and there's nothing I can do. I quit, you can't just rebuild all that. Time to find something else.
taterchimp avatartaterchimp
Tom Collins is a pretty great drink, and well suited for poutine. consumption
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
It may be because I've been drinking but... We need some dung beetles from ark for the front page. Move that dung on out.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Does anyone know how to get PS4 screenshots onto a PC without needing a flash drive? I don't have a spare.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
This is an example of how bad my drawings are. I honestly think drawing stick figures would've been easier on the eyes. :( The worst thing about this image is that this was made after I got BETTER. Trust me, you don't want to see my earlier stuff. T^T
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
So I received a mysterious box in the mail today. When I opened it I was blown away...The friends I've made here on Destructoid are amazing (More pics in the comments).
Parismio avatarParismio
FRISK PACIFIES YOUR FACE!
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Woe is me. This month's Cblog theme is basically an excuse to draw pretty girls, and here I am with no time.
Gundy avatarGundy
Maybe one day I'll reach bronze rank in Rocket League...
Nathan D avatarNathan D
A very Bloodborne-y moment.
TheLimoMaker avatarTheLimoMaker
Back in tip-top shape guys, feel waaaaay better than I have done these past few weeks. Plus my voice sounds slightly raspy now, meaning my Batman impression has been upgraded. Apologies to Gaj and Solar the most, my male-up kisses go to you: Xxxxxx
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Wait... Is that...? Could it be...? It IS! Gravity Rush's Kat has taken a break from rushing and graviting to sacrifice some souls in Soul Sacrifice Delta! Which isn't even going for $8 on the PS Store right now! What a steal!
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
Finally got my in game time down to under an hour in Super Metroid. I'm pretty happy about that.
Shinta avatarShinta
https://killscreen.com/articles/falling-through-a-100-million-stories-in-gravity-rush-remastered/ Really great article about Gravity Rush's director (director of Silent Hill), and his 1970s French comic influences.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Unpopular opinion time: I not only consider Kanye West to be one of my favorite rappers of all-time — yes, I'm being serious — but he's one of the very few people in the world whom I'd consider to be a role model. I truly wish he would notice me one d
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -