White Shadows Review thumbnail

White Shadows Review

Monochrome monotony

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PS5 on

White Shadows is also available for Xbox Series X

White Shadows is rated Teen by the ESRB

There have been a few greyscale 2D platform puzzlers ever since LIMBO's release back in 2010 so let's see how White Shadows fares.

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White Shadows screenshot 1
I should do whatever The Founder says, right?

White Shadows struck me as an interesting game with its impressively detailed and atmospheric 3D visuals so I decided to give it a go. After completing it a mere couple of hours later, I must admit that I'm kind of disappointed in what it has to offer. On the positive side, my first impressions of its visuals were not wrong as this is one stunning adventure that's quite captivating and atmospheric with environments that feature many moving parts, beautiful camera movements, and sinister scenarios. In fact, it's such a well-done game graphically that I wish it was simply a better game because I'd hate to see such outstanding work go to waste. v1d30chumz 3-239-112-140

The story of White Shadows is minimal and full of metaphors about real-world issues such as discrimination. You play as a Ravengirl who's an anthropomorphic bird within an oppressive dystopian world. In this society, birds are considered lesser life forms for no reason other than the fact that they're being exploited. Along the journey, you'll witness many mildly disturbing situations although none of it is all that thought-provoking as this sort of subject matter has been dealt with much better in other video games such as in the Oddworld games and guess what? Those games are actually enjoyable which in turn, makes their messages hit their mark with more impact.

White Shadows screenshot 2
If I stick to the shadows, I should be safe

Another reason why White Shadows doesn't quite get its message across in an effective fashion is just how clumsily its story is told. Whereas many similar games will have their plot and lore dissected by fans for decades after they release, everything is portrayed in such a ham-fisted and obvious manner within White Shadows and it even goes so far as to display its messages on signs; not subtly, either.

I should discuss the gameplay because this is a video game, after all. Firstly, it's simple to pick-up-and-play with the controls only involving moving left and right while tapping a jump and action button. The latter handles everything from pushing buttons to lifting hatches and pulling blocks to moving levers. You'll often have to hold the action button in combination with a direction in order to complete a task, too. With that in mind, the vast majority of White Shadows' campaign simply has you going through the motions. Every now and then, you'll have to overcome a situation like not getting caught by spotlights or jumping between moving trains but it's all incredibly easy with the only substantial difficulty relying on memorizing what to do if you happen to fail due to not foreseeing what comes next.

After fiddling around with the odd scenario and proceeding forward without any challenge for a couple of hours, the end credits will roll and you'll likely wonder if you accidentally downloaded the demo. Meanwhile, the only replay incentives come in the form of trophies or achievements which are fairly easy to unlock with the trickiest ones forcing you to survive certain segments without perishing and that's easy once you know what to expect. Well, what else can I say? That's unfortunately about all there is to White Shadows.

White Shadows screenshot 3
There should be a sign that says "Get it?"

There's no denying that White Shadows' atmosphere and visuals are the stars of the show so I sincerely want to see the developers make a second game that hopefully offers a lot more substantial gameplay and perhaps a narrative that's open to some interpretation.

  • + Excellent atmosphere that's portrayed through detailed greyscale visuals
  • + Intuitive gameplay with simple controls and self-explanatory puzzles
  • - The lack of challenge, variety, and substance makes its gameplay boring
  • - Short campaign with little replay value
  • - Story is basically a ham-fisted allegory
5.0 out of 10
Gameplay video for White Shadows thumbnail
Watch A.J. play White Shadows
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