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Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet – Shadow Hunters DLC Review

We enjoyed Insanely
Twisted Shadow Planet
here at Player
Affinity; its visual style, familiar-but-challenging gameplay and clever
puzzles made it worthy of being one of the games featured in Xbox’s Summer of
Arcade.  It’s primarily focused on
a single-player, but came with a simple co-op multiplayer mode called Lantern
that had players working to drag
a fragile “Lantern” away from an unstoppable wall of death.  The new DLC, Shadow Hunters tries to combine elements of both game types into
one experience.

While Shadow Hunters is a well-made product, it suffers from several
problems. The DLC was slated to release in September, but ended up arriving in
October, over two months after the main game was released.  This means that many Insanely
Twisted Shadow Planet
fans already had
their fill of the game by the time this DLC became available.  At present, the online multiplayer for Shadow
is a ghost town, and it is
extremely difficult to get an online game going.

Over two weeks after it hit
XBLA, there still isn’t a functional community available, and during my time
with it, I failed to ever fill out a full team of four players.  Shadow Hunters does have local multiplayer, so it can be used as a
party game when several ITSP fans are in the same room, but that’s poor
consolation for many gamers.

The difficulties in getting
a team together magnify the next problem; it’s quite difficult.  This
mode gives the players a large glowing bomb, and requires them to drag it into
the center of a maze-like asteroid filled with enemies.  You can’t shoot and carry the bomb at
the same time, so teamwork (Or a great deal of patience) is required.  The tiny spaceships begin with just the
Claw and basic gun, so it is very difficult to complete even a single level
alone, and even working as a duo is a frustratingly-difficult experience.


Another issue is price.  At 400 Microsoft Points (Five dollars)
it’s a big investment in something that most players are not even going to be
able to play properly.  This
creates a spiral in which the fewer people willing to make the investment means
the harder it becomes to get a full team, which in return reduces the value of
the DLC.

The designers shouldn’t be
blamed for these problems, they’ve done a good job in putting the exploration
aspects of their game into a co-op experience that genuinely requires the
players to work together.  It also
has story segments that use more of Michel Gagne’s impressive animation. 


Falling into the category of
“I wanted to like it”, Shadow Hunters is a game that can’t be recommended except for fans of the game who
happen to have friends, family, roommates or neighbors who are available to
play in a Local match.  This might
change if the price is reduced, or if a fan community develops over time.  You can see the DLC in action below, and read our review of Insanely Twisted Shadow  Planet.

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