9 Years of Shadows (Colorful Music and Flying Bear Ghost Metroidvania)


There are a few necessary features for any title claiming the “metroidvania” tag to succeed. Let me lay them all out, alphabetically: difficulty, mechanics, plot, and themes. They need to be challenging, yet not infuriating, feature multiple avenues of development, item unlocks, and non-linear play. a sick good plot, and overreaching themes that give the entire game its own “feel”. You’d be not surprised how many games of this type screw that up. As Europa in 9 Years of Shadows you have to navigate the expected giant castle place, which is apparently a construct of some child’s mind after his mother’s death. Cool concept, but there’s just something lacking.


9 Years of Shadows keeps the challenge fairly low, though there are moments when things leap to extremely difficult and annoying for no good reason. You’ll go from defeating a boss first go without a necessity to learn their tactics to getting railed every time you enter a new attack phase (the final phase of the final boss is a great example of this), but the variety of skills, connected to different suits of armor provide for quick adaptability of the player. The plot is pieced together through themes focusing on the utilization of bright color contrasts and musical elements. Bosses are the usual low-levels about your size and then the hulking beasts that provide, generally, effective challenge. But there’s no real play style to choose other than what is provide and your general grunts are often color-swaps completely uninspired; beings far too similar in style to catch the attention. Compare this element to games like Blasphemous (its sequel soon to drop), and you’ll understand what I mean. 9 Years of Shadows will manage to capture your attention, perhaps your heart, for at least a playthrough, and the utilization of anime-style cutscenes is rather great, but there’s always a sense of something missing, some unfinished element or incomplete idea.


9 Years of Shadows Official Steam

Written by Stanley, Devourer of Souls

9 Years of Shadows
Halberd Studios (developer), Freedom Games (publisher)
4 / 5