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PSP Fanboy hands-on: Fading Shadows

When Agetec announced they were going to release Fading Shadows in the US, they invited us to their NYC offices to try the game. We spent a good deal of time with the game -- over 10 levels -- and thoroughly enjoyed this excellent addition to the PSP library.

Yes, one of the game's leading charms is its story. To sum things up shortly, the player becomes a magical beam of light and must direct a girl who's transformed into a magical orb through a series of puzzles. It's strange, we know, but we wouldn't have it any other way. The nonsensical premise is what spurs a mellow, easy-to-understand puzzle adventure game, that's oozing with style.

The interplay between the light and the orb is well constructed. The orb is attracted to the light, and cannot move without it. At first, the light is used simply to get the orb from point A to point B. However, the game becomes more complex. The orb can transform into a variety of elements: wood, glass and metal. In its metal form, it can jump when a strong beam of light is placed on it. Wood can float across water, and glass can traverse its depths. However, players must be careful: overexposure to strong light will burn wood, and shatter glass.

Gallery: Fading Shadows

Learning which orb to use and how is crucial to progressing through each of the game's 50 levels. However, there are other puzzles as well, which take advantage of the light in new ways. For example, there may be mirrors, which can be used to deflect light to other areas. Players may need to burn certain obstacles, or focus the light in a way it won't attract the orb. We've seen puzzles, which involve taking advantage of the orb's weight (or lack thereof), and even a few puzzles where we had to navigate the orb carefully, Operation style.

For a puzzle game, this is an especially attractive title, with fantastic lighting effects that make the title come to life. The art may not be inspired, but it does a more than adequate job of conveying the mood of the story. The music is incredibly relaxed, and it will only take a level or two before your mind enters a trance-like state.

Fading Shadows won't win any awards for innovation, but it is an incredibly solid addition to the PSP library. There are a number of good puzzle games that have gone without gamer attention (Crush, Downstream Panic!) ... don't let Fading Shadows join that ever-growing list.

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