Title: Shadows of Adam
Available on: Windows PC, Switch
Developer: Something Classic Games LLC
Publisher: Something Classic Games LLC
Version Tested: Switch
Official Site: https://shadowsofadam.com
Release Date: May 3rd, 2019
Where to Buy: Steam, Nintendo Eshop
The 3DS had loads of amazing RPGs and the Switch is amassing a respectable library itself. But if your only looking to spend around $20, the options are somewhat limited. Kemco has brought a few of its titles to the system. In general, these titles are very similar to each other and look like they’ve been made on an RPG maker title. This is where Shadows of Adam brings a breath of fresh air to the Nintendo Switch in terms of music, art, gameplay, and story. Great 16-bit RPGs of the past such as Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, and Super Mario RPG all have engrossing stories and music. This helps create a believable world and Shadows of Adam does the same. I am Setsuna tries to recreate the feeling of a 16-bit classic in a similar way.
Of all the retro-styled RPGs currently available on Switch, Shadows of Adam hits the sweet spot of being relatively cheap, and also very polished and satisfying to play. From my limited experience with traditional turn-based RPGs, Shadows of Adam brings back memories of Chrono Trigger, both in terms of the music and in the way the story is always pushing the player to find out what happens next. In other words, this is no cheap Kemco ‘copy and paste’ RPG. It’s a gem that I’d even encourage RPG newbies to play.
As a budget RPG, the care that has gone into this title is clear to see in the way everything comes together. Mainly due to the atmosphere created by the graphics and music. The gameplay is more or less traditional, with your party of four having regular attacks and spells. A unique twist though is that mana recharges by itself over the course of a battle. This means you can be constantly churning out powerful attacks if you manage your party just right.
The game can get tough but if you stock up on potions and ethers, you shouldn’t have too much trouble and should be able to enjoy the best aspect of this game; the solid feeling of progression and storytelling. Saying this though, the gameplay is very satisfying. For an RPG, the game is relatively short, clocking in at around 10 hours. In my opinion, this is a positive, as some RPGs do drag on for too many hours.
Great Pixel Art
In terms of graphics, the game has certainly tried to emulate the 16-bit era, with colorful environments and sprite-based character models. Although not as detailed as a game like Shantae, some of the animations of the characters are really well done and even humorous. There are two annoying characters, in particular, that turn up to battle you at the worst possible times and are a bit of comic relief. In terms of music, there are some really great tunes that’ll remind you of classics like Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana. The soundtrack really helps to build the atmosphere and a great job has been done in that regard. Each area has its own tune, and this gives them personality which helps to build the story.
The themes the game tackles of loss, and, isolation can be thought-provoking. Although not quite as hard-hitting as some of the best in the genre, they can still make you think deeply about these issues. This is done in a similar way to how Chrono Trigger deals with the prospect of destruction that transcends time. Or, how Ocarina of Time introduces the player to time paradoxes and contradictions. In other words, through an interplay of music, art, and gameplay, Shadows of Adam gets its themes across.
Speaking of story, it revolves around two childhood friends attempting to find one of their fathers, who has mysteriously disappeared. It may sound like generic RPG storytelling but there’s plenty of twists and turns throughout. The music and art really add to the immersion as well. Enemies are varied and bosses are often grotesque. This helps to create a sense of terror for the player and it really does seem like the world is on the verge of doom. Although the game is pretty linear, the atmosphere that is created really encourages the player to find out what happens next. The mystery of each character’s backstory is intriguing.
Short but Sweet?
In terms of criticism, the two main things that could come to mind are the game’s difficulty (I didn’t die once) and the game’s length. Both of these points could be looked at as positives though. Being (relatively) easy means you don’t need to grind for experience. In terms of length, modern RPGs seem to have a need to include a campaign which takes hundreds of hours to finish. This often isn’t practical for the average person. Because it’s short, story events feel more meaningful and the player is less likely to get bored. AAA games like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice may carry the hefty price tag which means a lengthy experience is expected, but Shadows of Adam is a budget title.
Verdict: Overall, Shadows of Adam is one of the best budget RPGs I’ve ever played. A game that is way ahead of the Kemco RPGs in terms of quality, it’d be interesting to see how it holds up to a full price RPG such as Octopath Traveler (which I haven’t played). From beautiful pixel art, an engrossing story, and a sublime soundtrack, this is a game you should pick up. Especially if you don’t have 100 hours to put into a game.
- Great Music
- Great Art
- Solid Gameplay
- The game may be too short for some players
- Easy difficulty level