Shadow Archer (Wii U)

SHADOW_BOXShadow Archer is like something you’d play back on the NES or in an arcade from the 80’s.  You play as a dark elven archer who must shoot arrows at an onslaught of spiders and spirits who have invaded a night forest clearing.  You can tell the developers were trying to recreate a simple game from a simpler time in gaming.  It’s available to download on Wii U.

Controls are easy enough.  Use the D-pad to move in all directions, and press any button to fire arrows.  You’ll battle mostly spiders, but as your score increases, the spiders will change color and become harder, and later you’ll have to deal with spirits and your arrows go right through them!  You don’t want to fire your arrows willy-nilly either.  You have a limited supply and once you run out, that’s it.  Luckily defeated enemies will sometimes drop arrows to replenish your supply.  So as long as you’re careful, it’s pretty hard to run out of ammo.  If you get hit, you’ll lose a heart.  Be on the lookout for heart pickups from defeated enemies as well to refill your heart meter.  Other power-ups include special light arrows that can defeat multiple enemies with one shot, so make it count!  When you lose all your hearts, it’s Game Over.

The 8-bit music is both disappointing and refreshingly accurate at the same time.  The title screen music is just Fur Elise, a popular piano tune, and the in-game music is Moonlight Sonata, Third Movement.  While I am disappointed in the lack of creativity in the tunes, it’s also how a lot of music was done back then.  Many old games used classical music pieces as their score, as it wasn’t uncommon for a few people to work on a game, and they might’ve not all been composers.  Classical music was already written and was usually in the public domain, so that was a fallback for many a developer.  Games like Gyruss and even Mario Bros. used classical works as their soundtrack.

But the game has a few other disappointments as well.  The graphics look like they were either modified or lifted straight from The Legend of Zelda, the game doesn’t save your high score after you turn the Wii U off (I know old games wouldn’t either, but come on), and some extra modes would’ve been nice.  Like maybe a mode where you get unlimited arrows and can just go crazy, or a two-player simultaneous option.  If this really were a game from back when, I might’ve rented it once on the NES or plunked a couple of quarters into it in arcades, but that’s it.  It’s not a bad game, but it just doesn’t stand out enough.


Kid Factor:

Shadow Archer is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  When anything dies in the game, they just disappear, so violence is fairly minimal.  Reading skill isn’t needed, but younger gamers might get bored of the simplistic gameplay.

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