9 Years of Shadow - Header
Image via Halberd Games

9 Years of Shadows envelopes March 27

I feel charcoal is a perfectly valid medium

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Freedom Games has announced that 9 Years of Shadows, the musical Metroidvania from developer Halberd Studios, will arrive on March 27, 2023.

While, on the surface, 9 Years of Shadows looks like a pretty close follower of a particular 1997 Castlevania title, it has some unique wrinkles to make it more than another gated exploration title. Appropriately taking place after the world has spent the aforementioned nine years in darkness, you play as Europa, who refuses to let that timespan build into a full decade. Bringing with her a “healing teddy bear,” she sets off to the cursed Castle Talos to try and bring color back into the world.

Music will play an important role in the narrative. Some bosses wield “musical attack patterns.” Serving as guest composers are Metal Gear Solid veteran Norihiko Hibino and Iga-era Castlevania fixture Michiru Yamane. On top of contributing to the soundtrack of 9 Years of Shadows, these two absolute legends will make appearances within the game as NPCs. Damn.

The Symphony of the Night corner of the indie marketplace is a rather crowded one these days, but I’m rather stricken by the colorful pixel art that 9 Years of Shadow is showing off. It reminds me of the way Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance used bright colors to appear more visible on the Game Boy Advance’s light-hungry screen. I sometimes feel like I’ve had my fill of gated exploration titles, but they more often resemble pickles; I always seem to have room for one more.

9 Years of Shadows will be available on PC via Steam and Epic Game Store on March 27. A Switch version is in the works and will drop in the third quarter of 2023.


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Zoey Handley
Staff Writer - Zoey is a gaming gadabout. She got her start blogging with the community in 2018 and hit the front page soon after. Normally found exploring indie experiments and retro libraries, she does her best to remain chronically uncool.