App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
If there's one thing vampires hate more than being portrayed as handsome, diamond-skinned, moody teenagers, it's sunlight. In Shadow Vamp, a portly little vampire has lost track of time on his nightly quest for blood, and players are tasked with getting him back to his crypt safely.
During gameplay the whole level can be rotated a full 360 degrees, allowing players to use the shadows cast by buildings to create a safe passage for their pale pal to follow. There are two joysticks on screen, one to control character movement and a rotational wheel to spin the entire level. These mechanics give gameplay a fresh and intuitive feel, keeping it both challenging and constantly evolving.
If he lingers in the sunlight, or comes into contact with any of the huge garlic bulbs for too long, our nocturnal little friend will burn up in a fit of smoke. Fortunately, there's bottles of sunblock dotted around certain levels for protection against those harmful UV rays (there's a reminder here, people). Interactive objects are also available to hide behind and maneuver, whether they are to protect from the sun or from the increasingly hazardous environments.
The lighting effects look beautiful, as do the quaint, archaic villages as they float and rotate above the ground below. I really can't emphasize how great Shadow Vamp looks in motion; it's just a beautifully detailed and polished little game. The ghoulish soundtrack keeps everything suitably spooky and suspenseful, too. When players have hoarded enough coins there are 5 extra characters available, each with their own quirks and benefits, and with 48 levels to get through there's more than enough content here to keep players entertained.
However, I did find that the game could be particularly unforgiving. In many cases I was caught by a slither of inescapable or seemingly absent sunlight often due to the sensitive controls, which made for some frustrated outbursts. When combined with how quickly health is depleted in direct sunlight, even a quick adjustment couldn't stop me losing a considerable amount of health and having to restart the level.
Regardless, Shadow Vamp is a unique puzzle game that will be enjoyed by many thanks to its terrific balance of difficulty, inventiveness, and quirkiness, which makes it a worthwhile addition to anyone's device in my opinion.