REVIEW: Shadow Bug

A streamlined platformer that has you mowing down robots with lightning speed.

Steam: Released
Type: Single-player
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Muro Studios
Publisher: Muro Studios
Release date: July 22nd, 2017

Ninja VS Robots

Shadow Bug is a game that came out last week, the first game by Muro Studios. It retails for a humble five dollars, meaning it won’t make much of a dent in your wallet, and I’m happy to report that the quality of the game more than equals the price. You play as an insect living in a forest besieged by the negative parts of industry, as a massive factory has opened up shop and is making the place very unpleasant to live in. It’s up to you to shut it down.

The game is a platformer…sort of. You can move the bug left and right, but he can’t actually jump himself. Instead with the mouse you control his little firefly companion, and moving them over an enemy makes a target reticle; with a simple click, the Ninja Bug will zip over and slash it in half. This can move him past walls and ceilings, and of course, gain height. So, it’s not technically a platformer exactly, but I’m not sure it fits any other genre either.

Slice N Dice…with care

It’s not quite as simple as just teleporting over to the next enemy, of course, as the Ninja Bug will physically move over to them in a straight line. If he touches anything harmful during this, like thorns or another enemy,  you’ll get sent back to the last checkpoint. A common set-up in levels is to have a string of enemies leading you from point A to point B, usually involving some good timing.

Complicating matters is each level having a grading system, with three shurikens each that you can earn; with that and the general gameplay, I wasn’t too surprised to see the game had a mobile version available on iOS and Android. You get a shuriken for beating the level, scoring enough by killing enemies and collecting orbs, and for beating the time for the level, which can be tricky to do while also scoring high enough.

It sounds a bit simple since you’re only using three forms of input, but it quickly ramps up, going from levels you can finish in a few moves to ones that have projectile enemies, switches your need to flip (and re-flip in some cases), sawblades you need to fall between, you name it. There are even bosses that require some precise movement. It’s a simplistic game, but not a casual one.

Graphic-wise, the game really excels. The backgrounds are beautiful, showing off the beauty of the forest, and the actual sprites and levels use some interesting shades of black, that make the game pretty appealing to the eye. The music is equally appealing, sounding exciting during levels and bosses, and triumphant when you win.

On the whole Shadow Bug is one of those mobile games that fully deserve a place on Steam. I’d recommend it on either platform; having it on the go would be great for killing time on the subway or bus, while sitting down to concentrate on a few levels could be some fun light gameplay if that’s what you’re looking for. At five dollars, I think it’s definitely a game you should try out. Two hours should be more than enough to see if you’ll like it.

Written by
Justin Brett
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