Tandem: A Tale of Shadows, the tried

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows, the tried


A little Enola Holmes (at least in intent) and a little Alice in Wonderland. The initial impression, looking at the introductory movie of Tandem: A Tale of Shadows, was this. In case it escaped your radar, we are talking about a puzzle platformer developed by the French of Monochrome Paris: five people in all, passionate about 3D, the world of video games but also the creative process behind some brands. We are therefore not dealing with a studio focused on video games, on the contrary, Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is their second work after Singularity - a virtual reality title with a positive response on Steam.

Their next project, coming to PC and console, of which the demo is still available, puts us in front of an intriguing experience where brain-bending will be our priority: over forty levels, distributed on five different and at times disturbing worlds make up what promises to be an excellent puzzle platformer, despite the slow and simple start.

Let's discover Tandem: A Tale of Shadows in the tried and tested PC demo.

What happened to Thomas Kane?

The beginning of the game is very basic: in 19th century London, the disappearance of the magician Thomas Kane, a case on which Scotland Yard continues to investigate while still groping in the dark. Little Emma, ​​ten years old and investigative ambitions, is interested in the matter and decides to investigate on her own. Let's overlook the fact that a little girl, apparently from a good family, judging by the clothes, walks alone at night along the streets of London without running the slightest danger - after all it is a fairy tale with rather dark colors. On the way to the aforementioned Thomas Kane's villa, a carriage overtakes Emma at full speed and a teddy bear falls from it.

There would be nothing strange if the puppet did not stand up the next moment and start chasing the carriage followed closely by Emma, ​​who in front of such a show cannot remain indifferent: like Alice following the White Rabbit, therefore, our young protagonist throws herself behind a bizarre soft toy (by the way, it's called Fenton) but it will not be a den that opens up another world before her eyes, but the gates of the mysterious villa. Once crossed, the first obstacle to cross will be the labyrinthine gardens that lead to the entrance. His journey into an astonishing and disturbing world has just begun.

Playing from two different perspectives

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows, Emma in the gardens of Thomas Kane's villa Tandem: A Tale of Shadows puts us both in the shoes of Emma and in those of the Fenton bear, who act on different levels and incorporate the two genres of the game: she is entrusted with the puzzle part, with a view from above that allows us to have more awareness of the surroundings; instead, our rag friend has to manage the platform component, moving along the shadows to help Emma reach the next level.

Theirs is a constant collaboration that gives meaning to the name of the game (Tandem) and reminds us of the experience lived with Shady Part of Me, although it is still early to make comparisons between the two: Emma creates the paths for Fenton by manipulating lights and shadows, at the beginning with the help of a lantern that will not stay lit for long. After switching off, we just have to rely on the ingenuity and the light sources scattered in the surrounding environment to allow the teddy bear to continue, in turn unlocking paths that will allow Emma to advance a little more towards her goal. .

The controls are simple: Emma runs and grabs objects to move them, while Fenton, as far as we have seen, can only jump but it is not excluded that later on he will be able to do something more. At any time we can pass from one character to another, often during the same puzzle: sometimes the roles are clear and well defined, first it's up to one then the other and that's enough to finish a level, however in some cases it is There may be more steps. The game has an increasing difficulty that goes from very simple phases useful for learning to play, up to more complex levels, such as the seventh, in which a more reasoned management of the situation is required and there is even the presence of enemies. Giant spiders, in particular, that we cannot face directly but to which we must somehow block the view so as not to be identified and continue to act undisturbed. The levels turned out to be rather contained and not at all complex; however, we notice how much they become progressively more articulated and at the thought that we will have to face more than forty, more and more elaborate, we feel confident about the final result.

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows, non we still know what it is but the restlessness is all Tandem: A Tale of Shadows uses interesting mechanics to make the puzzles we will have to face really challenging and fun to solve: yes, at first glance it all seems reduced to the usual pressing switches, moving blocks and so on, but the way we do it is what makes the game so much fun. We are faced with an experience built entirely on perspectives and the play of light. Emma and Fenton each approach the levels in their own way and it is by doing this that we will be able to arrive at the solution. Looking at the world with different eyes. If Fenton, for the moment, seems immune to dangers other than sharp thorns ready to skewer him in the event of a wrong jump (deaths that remind us of the rawness of Limbo), Emma is not doing as well: in addition to the aforementioned enemies eight-legged, he must watch out for traps and take a more cautious approach as appropriate.

Overall, this first test amused and entertained us. Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is a game that is slowly discovered, but it promises to do it without missing a beat, pushing us step by step towards increasingly stimulating challenges for our wits. We cannot yet express ourselves on the story, but the sensations it leaves us are those of a "Burtonian" tale, extravagant, adorable to look at, disturbing and unnerving at the same time. The style is reminiscent of animated films and we are curious to see how it will evolve, if it will include dialogues or if it will all happen through the same narrator of the introductory film; or again, if there will be a narrator. It could all take place in silence broken only by the soundtrack and ambient noises, which would be quite interesting. We will know more in October, when the game will be available in its full form. In the meantime, there is still the demo waiting for you.

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is a curious game, which unfolds very slowly and yet already in its first seven levels it gives an idea of ​​what it could become in the future. The levels are articulated more and more, while the collaboration between Emma and Fenton is becoming more and more felt: the fact that the two characters embody not only different perspectives, but also the genres of which the experience is composed, with the most voted girl to puzzles and the teddy bear to platforming, it's an idea that found us in favor right away. In this way, mutual dependence is made even more evident, as well as a new look at the world to find solutions that might otherwise escape us. The simplicity of the actions, combined with a progressive complexity of the levels, makes Tandem: A Tale of Shadows fun and satisfying. If the quality of the level design is destined to increase, we may face a small, unexpected gem of the puzzle platformer.


Mechanics of the well-managed perspective Despite the slow start, the potential you see it all Graphics and atmospheres recall the works of Tim Burton DOUBTS We do not know if the quality will really hold up for the more than forty levels Have you noticed any errors?

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