Lost in Shadow preview: Seeing the light

I've played Lost in Shadow twice so far at preview events, and both times I was moved to ask, "Could this game end up on other platforms -- XBLA and PSN perhaps?" Both times the game's representatives said no. Lost in Shadow is headed to Wii this January as a retail release, and that could be a real shame -- though the game is "aimed at kids, but enjoyable for adults as well," according to a pitchman, history suggests that this unique, beautiful, third-party platformer from Hudson is unlikely to be a sales hit.

But for Lost in Shadow's sake, let's hope Wii owners discover this possible gem -- they might just find a very pretty, endearing game with an interesting platforming twist.
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The twist, as the game's title suggests, has the player stuck in a shadow world, making for an irresistibly creepy visual element. (If you couldn't tell already, I'm a sucker for this one's looks.) While the platforming isn't tuned to pixel-perfect precision (see: N+), it's functional, and it serves as a solid base, allowing the presentation to pull you in.

Visuals reminiscent of a Team ICO project

Aside from visuals reminiscent of a Team ICO project, Lost in Shadow's eerie ambience and relatively bare bones story -- coupled with the game's tower-climbing premise and freaky, persistent many-handed monsters -- serve to give the entire world a feeling of bizarre uniqueness. Intentional or not, though, fighting the enemies feels clumsy. Perhaps you're just a terrified boy stuck in some crazy shadow world, but I'd like to think you could summon enough courage to handle a sword with some level of precision.

Though it can also be awkward to control, the light-altering mechanic adds a bit more depth to the gameplay. Point the Wiimote at the screen and, somewhat clumsily, use the on-screen sliders to adjust the angle or amount of light in a particular area.

Minus a handful of hitches here and there, Lost in Shadow has given me the impression it could definitely be a solid release (coming out in a crowded first quarter). That it's bound to a console not exactly known for strong-selling third-party titles has me worried that the game could suffer the same fate as so many other third-party Wii gems before it. But that's a good worry, I suppose -- Lost in Shadow seems good enough to worry about.

Check out the latest dev diary for Lost in Shadow below.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.