Shadows and Dust is an unique interactive experience that presents a deeply personal interaction with themes of suicide, mental illness and depression all based on representations of the author’s own nightmares. Without a warning, Shadows and Dust throws you straight into the world that is created via a combination of text based multiple choice scenes and interactive scenario. This allows an unique insight of what a small but simple nightmare scenario can manifest into.
The story unravels overtime with what seems like an interaction between a father and son and a haunting past or future that comes for them both, all based on what choices you decide. Gameplay is straightforward as everything is presented as a multiple-choice text, along with all interactive areas presented as an easy to navigate scenarios.
Created with the unity engine, level designs seem to be simple and don’t make full use of what the engine can fully achieve, but the graphics are not a huge focal point nor should it be. Since they aren’t of importance nor take away from the overall experience, the story shines with the interactive experience of a full combination of sights and sounds.
That is what really brings Shadows and Dust together. From a ringing of a phone to a knocking of a door, each one of those sounds adds to the story in a way that is essential to its storytelling.
Critically though, I do find it annoying that there is no starting menu nor a save option, thus making you sit and having complete it all in one sitting. Fine for hardcore gamers, not fine for someone working long days. Along with the lack of any options to adjust the brightness or sound, for example, the customization even functional wise is slacking.
Overall, Shadows and Dust is not a game but a story, an interactive story that may be overwhelming with its harsh themes for some but confusing to others. Understanding the experience for some is a steep curve that some may find off putting along with the content but who can deny its relevance in today’s society. Coming in at a chilling angle from the mind of the creator, that would haunt most people, it is a creative storytelling game, using this remarkable digital platform as it’s stage.
- Promotes mental health
- Creative storytelling
- Lack start menu or setting options
- Unable to save progress
- Confronting themes
- Under utilised unity engine