The Evil Castle Returns – Shadowgate (Review) Mac

The Evil Castle Returns – Shadowgate (Review) Mac
Review Score:

Back in July, PixelPerfectGaming had the pleasure of interviewing developer Zojoi about their re-imagining of Icom Simulations’ point-and-click adventure, Shadowgate. Just a month after that interview, Shadowgate finally launched on Steam for both PC and Mac.

A considerable amount of time was spent playing Shadowgate for this review. The game is a well-polished retelling of a classic Macintosh game, as you play a fearless hero that traverses the cursed halls of a monster infested castle. Like the original game, puzzles of varying complexity abound, but there is one difference between this release and its classic counterpart – the puzzles change based on the chosen difficulty.

Newcomers to the PnC (point-and-click) genre will want to start the game using the Apprentice difficulty. This difficulty reduces the amount of items needed to complete puzzles, and the gameplay is more forgiving.

More experienced players will want to play Shadowgate on ether the Journeyman or Master difficulty. Journeyman’s puzzles are far more complex, while Master plays more like the classic version of the game. This also means that even standard obstacles from the easier difficulties will be more difficult to overcome.

Shadowgate’s gameplay is challenging regardless of the level of difficulty chosen. As you explore the castle for clues, you must rely on the streamlined ‘action’ button system that is located at the top of the screen. This system contains functions such as open, take, and use, among many others. When an object catches your attention, you can experiment by left-clicking the mouse on a desired command in the action menu and then the object in question. The result is shown in a description field that is located at the bottom of the screen.

The action menu also allows the joining of different items to solve puzzles. By clicking the ‘use’ command, you can combine specific items from your inventory that can be used later. For example — a slingshot is found early on during the game, but the rocks for it are found much later. But once both items are joined using the ‘use’ command, it becomes a useful item for a later event.

The classic rendition of Shadowgate used a uniquely designed window system that would display the graphics, text, action commands, and doorways in their own isolated windows. Zojoi’s re-imagining of the classic game combines everything into a single environment. Doorways can be clicked on to enter new rooms, and a back arrow is used to exit a current room. A mapping system has also been implemented to keep track of your progress (this feature did not exist in the original game),

Shadowgate’s puzzles are just as thought-provoking as they are perplexing. The game does contain a lot of backtracking to previous rooms early on, but this has been a staple of PnC adventures since their inception.

But more appropriately, developer Zojoi has somehow maintained the frightening atmosphere of the original game. The death sequences are especially terrifying. Experimenting usually leads to your demise, but it’s a necessary evil if you plan on completing any of the puzzles. Creatures that block your progression will lunge at you with ear-piercing growls, and unfortunate circumstances will have you leaping from your seat in shock. There hasn’t been a PnC game like this in a long time.

The high-res graphics maintain a gritty, almost surreal feeling thanks to speed painter Chris Cold. The castle’s rooms contain a large variety of animations that range from waterfalls to fiery pits, to name just a few. Even the creatures animate smoothly despite being limited to specific actions.

Shadowgate proves that a classic game can be re-imagined and be as good, if not better, than the original. Developer Zojoi has not only exceeded all expectations, but they did it while scaring the hell out of us in the process.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Mac (Also Available for PC/Steam)
Developer: Zojoi
Publisher: Reverb Triple XP

Mac System Requirements:

    • Minimum:
    ◦  OS: OSX 10.6+
    ◦  Processor: 2.4GHz Processor
    ◦  Memory: 1 GB RAM
    ◦  Graphics: 512MB Dedicated Video Memory
    ◦  Hard Drive: 2 GB available space

Price: $17.99 (10% off; Retail $19.99)

Review Score
Gorgeous hand painted graphics by speed painter Chris Cold.
Terrifying shrieks and demonic growls abound.
Thought-provoking puzzles that will leave you perplexed for hours.
Developer Zojoi exceeds all expectations with their re-imagining of Shadowgate.
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