Triada Studio isn’t your average video game developer. Founded in 1993, the Armenian outfit has spent over twenty years working in post-production, creating stunning computer-generated imagery and animations for television brands and film. One look at Shadowmatic and you would think that Triada has been in gaming business for a while now but, in truth, it actually marks their industry debut.
Aside from looking absolutely gorgeous, Shadowmatic benefits from simple yet challenging gameplay spread across ninety individual stages. Given two or more shapeless blocks, the player’s objective is to move and rotate them in order to create the desired shadow pattern on the wall. It’s devilishly basic in premise yet manages to materialise into a full game experience.
Manipulating the puzzle pieces is done via a few simple gestures that should come naturally to most tablet and mobile users. Although additional control options are gradually filtered in, it never becomes overwhelming, nor do the inputs lose any of their finesse.
Shadowmatic plays out stage by stage, presenting players with a branching tree of puzzles to solve. Complete one and all those adjacent will then become available, eventually ramping in difficulty the deeper you progress. As you’ll soon find, however, this level of challenge can fluctuate greatly depending on your cognitive skills and perception. Although I manage to blitz some of the puzzles in mere seconds, others can take several minutes to work out. It feels a bit trial and error at times yet still comes out as being fun.
Luckily, Shadowmatic dishes out a few clues to assist you. Firstly, each cluster of levels has its own distinct theme or setting, immediately helping to narrow down which shape its asking for. In the janitor’s closet, for instance, you’re likely to find tools and protective clothing. The retro household, however, will instead play host to old-school technology.
If these aren’t enough, the game also has a hints system. Each stage comes tagged with four increasingly obvious hints, culminating with an exact image to match. These come at a cost, however, and once all your hint coins have been spent, Shadowmatic rather cheekily points you towards its in-app purchase page. With the internet being what it is though, you can just as easily find any answers you need knocking about on Google or YouTube.
The real standout is just how amazing the game looks. Transferring its everyday expertise, Triada has ensured that everything about Shadowmatic looks photorealistic and even the level select menu is beautiful. Beneath its visual prowess is an understated mellowing soundtrack that helps to anchor the game’s leisurely pace.
Once you have cleared all stages, there’s little else to do but improve your completion times. Triada has worked in a gallery of secondary shapes that can be made during some of the levels, acting as Shadowmatic’s collectibles. Overall, it’s a fun game even if a little repetitive at times. On top of that there’s plenty of room for expansion, whether that be in the form of a sequel or bonus seasonal content.
Shadowmatic is available now on iOS devices.