Thursday, March 9, 2017

Indie Impressions - Shadows of Adam

Shadows of Adam

Now Available on Steam

Developed by Something Classic Games 

In the modern world of jRPGs very few titles seem authentic anymore. Heavy marketing tactics and shifts in demographics have caused shock, awe, and commercial appeal to take place of genuine storytelling that is heartfelt and relatable on a universal level. With things like Chrono Trigger and Suikoden II's style of emotional narrative a thing of the past, we now rely and look to the indie market for a more human take on the formula the way we remember and love it. Shadows of Adam offers us a glimpse into the past, back to a time where these creative aspects were priorities and not afterthoughts.

One of the greatest strengths in Shadows of Adam is the gorgeously detailed yet simple and retro pixel-art that fills the screen. The characters are given a certain visual personality that you don't often see in retro styled games through their wonderfully diverse and creative designs. Considering how low-fi the 16-bit designs of the characters are they manage to each have a very distinct style of fashion or armory, which sets them apart and makes the story much easier to follow. The backgrounds of each setting you adventure through are of exceptional quality, with crisp natural settings and ominous, dank caves all giving a genuinely old school and nostalgic jRPG backdrop.

The game also has incredible sound design for an indie pixel game, and really evokes the same sense of chaotic intensity I got from the epic battles with Lavos years ago. The loud crackling of lightning, the whoosh and roar of a burst of flames, and even the nostalgic Squaresoft-esque crystalline tinkling of a savepoint are all meticulously engineered for a classic yet dramatic effect. Warm and melodic chiptune tones make up the retro throwback soundtrack and set a mood that is dreamlike as well as memorable, calling back to a style of soundtrack composition that was progressive and appropriate to it's setting and pacing.

The writing is done in a provocative way that leaves many early details out, creating an initially mysterious and sometimes confusing atmosphere. Our heroes scour the thick and twisted Tangle, but it isn't until the revealing of it's monstrous and grotesque boss that we are introduced to why they were sent from their village and exactly what the strange source of dark energy they hunt for really is. With many twists and unexpected turns Shadows of Adam is a lengthy 10ish hours of fantasy narrative that as any good jRPG should has lots of humorous and lighthearted side-quests that introduce very strong and unique character building.

Shadows of Adam is the spark to reignite that flame in every classic jRPG enthusiasts heart. For every kid who spent their weekends renting and obsessing over beating those sprawling, complex adventures in everything from Final Fantasy to Dragon Quest and grew up wanting more of the classic adventuring. If you're the kind of person who feels that something is clearly missing from today's modern offerings of mostly cheesecake rpgs, Shadows of Adam is a genuine and authentic glimpse back into a time where imagination and creativity took priority in the form of great storytelling, engaging character development and a one-of-a-kind crafting of fictional worlds.

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