After an amphora of wine or two, Plato came up with the notion that for most of us, reality is nothing but a bunch of shadows dancing on the wall of a cave. For the boy hero of Hudson's Lost in Shadow, reality really is nothing but shadows: Severed from his physical body by the blade of a hooded figure, the boy's shadow is cast down from the heights of a ginormous tower.
And it's time to start the long climb back up.
Obstacles both static and monstrous stand in the way of this unusual and interesting metaphysical journey. Start with the fact that, as a shadow, the boy can no longer directly interact with objects in the physical world. In other words, he can't walk on a wall, but he can walk on the shadow of the wall. Anyone who's ever spent a summer's day jumping from shadow to shadow can tell you you're not likely to get very far before you hit a dead end.
Luckily, our guy has a fairy -- er, Spangle-- hanging out with him who can help, at least to a limited degree. Using the Wiimote, you can use the fairy to move objects, or manipulate lamps and sliders to shift and spin the environment so the angle of the light changes, shifting the shadows and opening a new path forward.
In this sense, Lost in Shadow is a lot like Super Paper Mario with the 3D effect always flipped to "on." Depending on where the shadows are falling on the tower walls, it can sometimes feel like you're navigating your way through a bizarre M.C. Escher portrait. Yet even though the perspective takes some initial getting used to, much of the actual platforming and creature-bashing you'll do feels fairly familiar. It's rare for the solutions to the game's environmental puzzles to be more than a few trial-and-error clicks away.
And then, about two-thirds of the way through the game, something unexpected happens that changes both the game and the player's perspective. It unleashes the first of a handful of surprises that make playing through the familiar stuff all seem worthwhile.