Black Shadows Review – Just Plain Bad

Published: October 9, 2015 9:00 AM /

Reviewed By:

Black Shadows 4

Black Shadows is short, broken, confusing, lazily designed and not very scary. Don't play Black Shadows.

Anybody still here?

Okay. Let's get into it then.

Now, if this game were simply an experiment performed by IceGame Studios, then good on them for the practice. But it isn't. IceGame is trying to pass off Black Shadows as a full release worth spending money on. And, to stress this point further, it just isn't worth checking out by any stretch of the imagination.

Black Shadows 1

Black Shadows puts the player in the role of a young scientist, alone navigating the corridors of a dark and empty facility. Something is following her—something very dangerous and paranormal. With this minimal plot, the player then is tasked with running around and exploring. You better not run out of batteries, or else face the wrath of whatever spectral evil shadow thing is threatening you.

This is another indie horror game inspired by Outlast and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. And like all the other imitations, the original games had a little more to them than what Black Shadows is diluted into. Gameplay is divided between looking for keys in order to progress and looking for batteries in order to not die. A few points of criticism here: Outlast may have not done much more, but at least it was pretty to look at and had some interesting epistolary information to gather. There is nothing else to Black Shadows. The scenery is horrendously dull—a set of identical looking derelict office supplies, the most boring I've seen this side of the original F.E.A.R. And the plot is next to nonexistent—merely an excuse to put the player in harm's way.

At least in other stalker sims you are able to avoid your pursuers. In this game, you call it game over if you run out of batteries even for a moment. And don't look for save points—there are none. If you die, you're sent right back to the beginning. Want to pause or check the options? Well don't press ESC. That immediately boots you out of the game. I even had difficulty just getting to the title screen in this game, as it, I soon discovered, actually doesn't have one.

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Not to complain about small portions in such a poor-tasting meal, but Black Shadows doesn't even last a decent indie game's length. Fifteen, maybe twenty minutes tops for a full playthrough. Five doors to unlock. A handful of mediocre jump scares. This review took more time to write than it did to play this game.

Black Shadows just shouldn't exist as a commercial release. It is at best practice for the developers. The story is wholly uninteresting, the gameplay dull and broken, the graphics repetitive. The sound is mostly alright, but the narrator's voice (whose monologues take up about half the game) could have used some improvement.

By and large Black Shadows left this reviewer feeling completely unenthused. Another lifeless Amnesia clone to join a legion of others.

Check out Black Shadows on Steam here.

A copy of the game was provided by the developer for review on PC.

Review Summary


Short, shamelessly imitative, boring, broken and just plain bad. Black Shadows is not worth playing.

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Cultural historian, critic, author. I like cultural history, adventure games, RPGs, scary things, coffee, audiobooks, and insupportable pop punk music. Up… More about Bryan