Tandem is a game that takes place in the world of Shadow, where you play as two different characters. One with light powers and one with shadow powers. The game has an interesting story line with twists and turns, but it’s not what makes this game stand out. It’s the gameplay that does.

Out of line game review is a new game that was released on Steam. It’s a 2D platformer with some unique twists and turns. Read more in detail here: out of line game review.

Even though we didn’t have an official E3 event this year, we were still able to preview a few titles in June. Monochrome Paris’ Tandem: A Tale of Shadows was one of the games I got the opportunity to play back then. A game that uses platforming and perspective shifting to solve puzzles, all set against a Tim Burton-inspired “gothic fairytale” backdrop. Despite a few flaws, I enjoyed the sample for what it was, and I’m looking forward to the full release. Let’s see whether the wait was worthwhile now that the game is finally out.

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From the perspective of a bird’s eye view.

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows’ entire gameplay loop, as I previously said in my review, was one of my favorites. This is a puzzle game with two distinct types of gameplay. One of these has you playing as a young girl from the top down, tinkering with push blocks, keys, and shadow-based puzzles. You may switch to the viewpoint of the teddy bear at any time, who moves in a side-scrolling manner. Platforms are built in his mode using the top-down level’s viewpoint (for example, barriers become platforms) and shadows, which materialize into solid ground while doodling with the bear’s perspective. You’ll need to work together to get the bear to a crystal and toss it to the young girl, completing the level.

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From the perspective of a bear.

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows’ greatest feature is this. It plays differently than any other game I’ve ever played, and the levels are, for the most part, well-designed. With that stated, there are occasional annoyances in the form of unexpected difficulty spikes, which typically occur when the game adds a fresh new barrier or opponent without telling you anything about them. Sometimes, such as with enormous spiders with visibility cones, these new arrivals are apparent and simple. The same cannot be true for certain situations when, due to the game’s odd camera angles, you are unable to see that there is a required hole on a wall that you must pass through. In fact, the whole visual presentation detracts from the overall pleasure aspect of the game.

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows has a fantastic visual style, as I already said in June. Unfortunately, just because the game has a beautiful visual style doesn’t imply it looks well. Its appearance is very shabby. I’m not sure where the low-budget issues stop and the “Switch is an underpowered as hell system” issues begin, or if the two issues are just dated.

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All I’m saying is that the human character shouldn’t resemble a plastic doll any more than the majority of plastic dolls in video games.

Let’s start with the graphics. The game’s visuals aren’t very remarkable, despite its Burton-like style. It suffers from simple assets, with everything, particularly the main protagonist, appearing cheap and plasticky. That’s what I’m trying to say: she shouldn’t appear like a plastic doll from a horror movie or video game. To top it off, the framerate is a little… erratic. It never reaches intolerable levels, but it’s also never completely steady. In docked mode, it looked especially shabby. This is the “I’m not sure whether it’s a Tandem or Switch hardware fault” issue I stated before. I recall the game running well enough on my PC a few years ago, even if I had to reduce some of its settings to make it run ideally, so I’m leaning toward the latter.

The sound section is a bit of a mishmash. On the one side, there’s the music, which is fantastic, as I said in my E3 preview. The music, like the game’s visual style, attempts to sound like something Danny Elfman might have written for the soundtracks to The Nightmare Before Christmas or Frankenweenie. On the other side, there’s the voice acting, which is horrendous. It sounds unprofessional, and unfortunately, some of the voice performers failed to double-check how some of the English words were spoken. During my whole game, the most off-putting thing I observed was hearing the main protagonist pronounce “crow” with the same sound as “cow.”

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When seen in this light, the game does not seem to be all that terrible. That’s because the sluggish frame pace doesn’t detract from the overall picture.

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is a decent puzzle game with a few unique elements at its heart. It’s just a little rough around the edges. Its short stages and advancement structure make it ideal for a handheld like the Switch, but you’ll have to put up with some choppy graphics and a stuttering framerate to appreciate it. Otherwise, you may try it on other platforms, where I’m sure some of the performance problems won’t exist. 

 

It has a great sense of design, but the lighting effects and fps aren’t up to par. It also has a lot of graphical flaws and doesn’t run or look well on the Switch.

Tandem’s primary feature is the perspective-based puzzle-solving gameplay loop. However, be warned that the game has certain framerate problems that directly affect its input responsiveness.

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows has a decent Danny Elfman-style music, but it’s plagued by sound effect problems and some bad voice acting.

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is a quirky puzzle-platformer that is very entertaining in smaller doses, despite some inconsistent difficulty spikes. Its gameplay loop is ideally suited for the Switch, but its performance on that platform is somewhat lacking.

Final Score: 7.0

Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

On Switch, the game was reviewed.

The publisher sent me a copy of Tandem: A Tale of Shadows.

As an example:

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The faerie afterlight is a game that was released by the developer, Tandem. It is a dark tale of shadows and secrets.

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