Shadows of Adam is a classic style JRPG that is captivating, thoughtful, and entertaining. With spot-on artwork and animations, and just the right amount of quirkiness, it captures the magic that made this genre popular in the first place. If you’re a fan of games like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy III (or VI depending on who you ask), this light-hearted homage will certainly stir up nostalgic feelings, and remind you of why you fell in love with those games in the first place. While Shadows of Adam may not have the epic scale or depth of Chrono Trigger, it’s an extremely fun game with a great combat system, clever puzzles, fantastic music, and an enjoyable story. For fans of the genre, or those looking for a game that is easy to pick up and get sucked in to, I highly recommend Shadows of Adam.
Between the story, the combat, and the exploration, there’s enough going on in Shadows of Adam to almost always keep it interesting. The combat in the game is centered around an “AP” system. Whenever you use a basic attack, you gain AP, which can then be spent on executing special attacks or using magical spells. You’ll have to spend your AP wisely and at the right times if you want to be successful. This system of AP management makes for interesting fights, but also influences your strategy in between fights. If you’re outside of battle and want to use a healing spell, you may need to get into a fight so that you can gain the AP to do so (unless you have an item to restore AP). Or you might decide to intentionally prolong a fight by leaving a single enemy alive, to build up AP before the fight ends. I appreciate that you’re rewarded for thinking ahead and strategizing in this game, it’s refreshing.
There are no random encounters to be found in Shadows of Adam. Instead, you’ll see monsters planted in static locations. When you touch one of them, a battle will begin. Some may enjoy the old-school random encounter grind found in other games, but I like what they’ve done here. It eliminates some of the stress and helps with the pacing of the game too. That’s not to say that Shadows of Adam is easy-mode; it can be surprisingly challenging at times. There’s a wide variety of enemies and it’s critical to understand what their strengths and weaknesses are. And while it can be quite challenging, I’ve never felt like the game was unfair or frustrating. It gives you the tools to be successful, throws challenges at you that you may not be expecting, and changes things up often enough that it doesn’t become stale.
When running around the world, you’ll have more to do than just fight monsters. Often when you’re in some sort of dungeon or anywhere outside of a town, there are little puzzles thrown in that will have to be solved if you want to progress. There are also side quests, hidden items, the occasional secret passage, and lots of people to interact with.
I hope that it is clear that a score of 5/10 for replayability is not a criticism of the game, it’s merely a way of representing what type of game this is. Some of the best games I’ve ever played are titles that I wouldn’t play through a second time. Shadows of Adam is fairly linear, and there’s not a whole lot of reason to go back and play through it multiple times. If you wanted to try different combat strategies or try to find side quests that you may have missed or not finished, it could warrant a second play through. It’s also a fairly short game as far as RPG’s go, so you won’t be playing it for months on end.
From beginning to end, Shadows of Adam will draw you in with its friendly, approachable presentation and its satisfying gameplay. It’s difficult to explain why, but it’s almost like seeing an old friend. You get to reminisce about some of your old favorites, while enjoying an entirely fresh experience.
It’s clear that Something Classic Games put in the effort to break down each aspect of the game and get it right. For instance, the level and world design are fantastic. Dungeons don’t go on for too long, they’re complex enough to be interesting without feeling overwhelming, and they make sense. Cave systems are laid out in a more organic way, while things like towers or temples are more structured and organized. They’ve created a believable world, while doing an excellent job of controlling the pacing of the game.
Just as the level design does an excellent job of tying into the story, the music elevates the entire experience to another level. Like many other aspects of Shadows of Adam, it feels so perfect for this type of game, and yet has a new spin on it as well. It’s funny, tense, emotional, and very well done.
All of these things come together atop a foundation of solid combat, responsive and simple controls, and gameplay that leaves you repeatedly saying “Let me just get to the next part…”
As I touched on, the graphics, controls, music, and storytelling all fit together extremely well. The load times are almost nonexistent, and the fact that you can save at any time means you can quickly jump in and out of the game as you please. I did notice a few buggy instances where I killed all of the enemies in a battle, but the game thought that one of the monsters was still there. This wasn’t a big deal, as the invisible monsters didn’t try to do anything, and all I had to do was attack once more and the game would realize that all of them were already dead. This only happened a couple of times, and was quickly and easily fixed. Additionally, I haven’t been able to get the Steam overlay to properly open while playing Shadows of Adam. This may just be my experience, as I haven’t seen other people mention it on the Steam discussion boards. And finally, there were a few instances where music transitions felt a bit abrupt, or didn’t quite loop smoothly. Other than that, it’s a very smooth experience and I think they’ve done a great job at bringing the whole package together.
I’ll get right to the point: Shadows of Adam is fantastic. It’s a solid RPG of which Something Classic Games should be extremely proud. They’ve shown a great deal of respect to the genre, and brought to market something that many people are sure to enjoy. I will be eagerly awaiting their next release.