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The Magic Obelisk (Shadow Walker) (WiiWare) Review

Review for The Magic Obelisk (Shadow Walker) on WiiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Renowned for its work on the Lunar and Grandia range of role-playing games, Japanese developer Game Arts has built up a very strong reputation over the years, culminating in its appointment to the Super Smash Bros. Brawl project, alongside Sora and Nintendo on Wii. Now, though, after helping Ubisoft with fighter TMNT: Smash Up for Wii, the company has turned its hand to the puzzle genre, with its first WiiWare release The Magic Obelisk (known as Shadow Walker in Japan). Released for 1,000 Nintendo Points in Japan and 500 Points in the US, a European and Australian launch has yet to be confirmed. Game Arts recently gave Cubed3 the chance to review the US version, though, to see whether PAL gamers should be eagerly awaiting The Magic Obelisk.

The first thing you notice about The Magic Obelisk is just how visually attractive it is, with vibrant colours pouring forth from your TV screen, cute characters littering stages and lively environments throughout. Even the soundtrack is an absolute pleasure to listen to, setting up the perfect atmosphere even before the main action and puzzles kick in. Even before diving into the main part of the game, Game Arts’ first WiiWare release proves to be an absolute pleasure to watch and listen to, with much of the music being so peaceful and melodic that the temptation will be to close your eyes, leave it playing in the background and just relax for a few moments.

Once into the main game itself, players will find that they do not get the chance to actively control the protagonist, Tree Spirit Lukus, with them instead having to move a Light Spirit called Popo (who looks like a little blue butterfly) around the numerous levels to create shadows, subsequently guiding Lukus automatically across a stage towards the final goal. Whilst this may seem rather an odd gameplay style, the reasoning behind it is that poor Lukus cannot actually travel in direct sunlight, yet he wishes to use his gift of transforming into a tree to help the people of the world. Therefore, Popo’s ability to use special obelisks to protect Lukus comes in extremely handy and is the main focal point of proceedings.

Screenshot for The Magic Obelisk (Shadow Walker) on WiiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The beauty of The Magic Obelisk is in how Game Arts has masterfully mixed a wide range of variety into the various chapters on offer, meaning that the formula never grows old despite the basic premise remaining the same throughout. There are three coloured types of obelisk that Popo can shine his light against, each of which serves a different purpose. Blue ones create an icy shadow, red ones cast a heated pathway of shade, whilst the cover provided Popo and the yellow obelisks will let Lukus float along to the end of a route. Making best use of the elements is imperative to success during Lukus’ expedition, with the ice obelisk's shadows able to extinguish flames along a path (whilst making Lukus slide non-stop to the end of the path, something that needs to be kept in mind when potential hazards await at the other end), the fire ones melting away pesky frozen obstacles, and the wind-based obelisks lifting the little tree spirit into the air and helping him float across hurdles such as rivers.

Working through the thirty-plus stages is not always a case of going from A-to-B, however, since there are plenty of intricacies to each of the levels, such as having to work your way towards the shadow created by a large creature located in a particular place, needing to complete a designated mission (such as finding specified items), or even needing to avoid strange-looking ghosts that will purposely knock Lukus into the sunlight. There is also the difficulty factor, which ramps up pretty quickly later down the line, meaning even veterans will have a tough time keeping Lukus out of harm’s way. The Magic Obelisk is simply a joy to play through, with extravagant visuals, an interesting story that is wonderfully portrayed via a fairytale-book style theme, a stunning soundtrack (that can be downloaded in its entirety, for free, right here), and an engrossing collection of brain-teasing positional puzzles that are not merely delivered in a sterile fashion, but instead wrapped in a lovely package that comes complete with a intriguing cast of characters that are brimming with personality and warmth. With the US version at just 500 Points, this is superb value for money. Game Arts currently has no plans to release The Magic Obelisk in Europe / Australia, and the only way to convince them otherwise is to make your voices heard…so you know what to do!

Screenshot for The Magic Obelisk (Shadow Walker) on WiiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Clever implementation of a simple shadow creation mechanic, a very user-friendly interface and lots of variety per level make this a joy to play through.

Graphics

Bright, bold, and brimming with character throughout, The Magical Obelisk is one of the most attractive WiiWare releases so far.

Sound

Peaceful, serene and extremely easy on the ears. This is one of those soundtracks that could happily live in your CD collection, never mind just in the game itself.

Value

With over thirty stages to work through, increasing in difficulty at just the right rate, this is most certainly worth your 500 Points!

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

The Magic Obelisk is a truly wonderful puzzle experience that eases players in, challenges veterans further into the game, offers up an intriguing variety of characters throughout and wraps everything together in a gorgeous visually and aurally pleasing package. Game Arts definitely needs to bring this to PAL territories - but will only do so if enough vocal support is shown. Let your voices be heard!

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02.04.2010

10

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Also known as

Shadow Walker: Kage no Shounen to Hikari no Yousei

Developer

Game Arts

Publisher

Game Arts

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Remember folks, share your thoughts on this game and show your support to get this released in Europe! Get posting your comments! Smilie

( Edited 28.12.2012 11:14 by Guest )

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Smilie Yeah, that could work Smilie Anyone else willing to show such passionate support? Smilie

I know Game Arts is working on a new download game, but obviously WiiWare will get overlooked if this game doesn't do well enough...and hey, if it misses out on an EU/AU release then the a whole lot of potential gamers that can't get access to it!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Looks beautiful, visually and overall, it sounds really nice. I would definitely love to see this come over here, especially at 500 points.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Cheers Ross. I agree that keeping the 500 Points price would be a wise move. I'm hearing some worrying things from certain developers about them getting fed up of low WiiWare sales...so they're looking elsewhere. I hope something changes soon!

Here's a video of the game so people can take a look at what they're missing:

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Looks pretty good, definitely can the smash-bros style in there, looks like one to pick up if it ever comes over here!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Between this, LostWinds and Shin'en's Jett Rocket, there are some VERY attractive WiiWare games out there. It really goes to show what developers can do when they know what they're doing!!

This looks superb through a component cable on my 40" HDTV.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Elrinth (guest) 06.04.2010 16:14#7

where does one make one's voice heard?

AdamC3 (guest) 06.04.2010 18:02#8

Simply post here and I'll be conveying all messages to Game Arts. Thanks! Smilie

Feel free to spread the word...

I don't get why they shouldn't release this for PAL machines. It's not like it's a big investment making your game available via download in a few extra countries.

Unless they are stupid and will translate it in other languages besides English. I hated how I couldn't choose to play Nyxquest in English, or Lost Winds. Lost Winds even had quite a couple of really bad mistakes.
:/

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