Lately whenever the Nintendo eShop updates, some of the Indie titles released are hit and miss. Sure we see games that catch our eye, peak our curiosity and in the end, give us the confidence to shell out the cash. With Indie games, we essentially take a gamble or even a risk. Chances are, we’ve never heard of these developers or their studio. For all we know, this is their first shot at a published game.
Shapes of Gray falls in an odd category. The premise is not absolutely horrible, but its not necessarily ground breaking. But is everything as black and white, or in this case, gray as it seems?
There’s no real plot to this game as Shapes of Gray follows an arcade style set up, of advancing through levels which gradually increase in difficulty. You play as an octagon gray shaped character, swing your tiny sword and move on.
The overall objective of this game is to wipe out the enemies on the screen as fast as you can. These threats are also gray, sometimes different shades but I wouldn’t say around 50, each having their own set of attack patterns. Some will wait and charge at you, shoot projectiles, or just float around. Along with these pixelated pests, time will be against you as you race against the clock, which for me, felt like the biggest threat of all.
You can take up to three hits total with health only replenishing after reaching specific checkpoints, or finding the rare health drop. The difficulty never felt like it gradually rose, rather it was sporadic. There were some levels that were beyond easy, while others would catch me off guard sending me to my pixelated demise. When a checkpoint was eventually reached, I never felt a rush of pride for my accomplishment, but rather a sigh of relief knowing that I never had to deal with previous levels again.
Controls for Shapes of Gray felt, ok. There really wasn’t much to it as all you had to do was face the enemy, swing your wee sword and keep moving. Granted there were some enemies that had specific weak spots, it never felt to cryptic. Timing will be key in this game, as I took more damage from running into the enemy rather them running into me. With enough time and practice, you’ll quickly become a master at drifting from foe to foe, clearing levels in an instant.
Visually, this game is boring to look at. I understand that “Gray” is in the title, but everything just feels neutral and dull. It looks as though you’re viewing things through a microscope as small organisms fight on a petri dish, but who knows, maybe thats the actual plot?
In the end, it’s really hard for me to recommend this game. Gameplay gets old after a while, controls are ok at best and the presentation was severely lacking. This seemed like a game that you’d play on a web browser at work when your boss isn’t looking rather than something you rush to fire up on your console. Explore at your own risk, but in this case, I’d pass on to something else.