White Shadows – Review
Follow Genre: puzzle-platformer
Developer: Monokel
Publisher: Thunderful Publishing, Mixtvision
Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series S/X
Tested on: PC

White Shadows – Review

Site Score
Good: Great visuals, Interesting dystopia narrative
Bad: Very short especially for this price
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Monokel is a brand new indie developer who has said they want to focus on interactive narratives. Their first game White Shadows is a cinematic puzzle-platformer that came out pretty recently, having a distinct style that makes it stand out from the many similar games on the market right now, while also impressing many with its storytelling. Obviously, we had to take a look as well to see what all the fuzz was about.


White Shadows opens almost immediately with a quote from Animal Farm, telling us exactly what kind of narrative this is: all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. Playing as a small Ravengirl, we are shown a world with a strict hierarchy of animals. Wolves run everything from the top of a city cast in artificial light, while the other animals suffer on the levels below, with at the very bottom the plague birds who are regarded as disease-ridden and bringers of darkness. Throughout the story, Ravengirl will have to undertake the dangerous journey to the top of this city if she wants to survive, uncovering all its horrific secrets along the way. Since this game is an interactive narrative, there are no distinct cutscenes, no dialogues, or even text. The story is much more implied than it is outright shown to us, but it’s done in a way that makes it easy for the player to connect the dots.


Visually, White Shadows is both stunning and poignant. Not only does the monochrome art style make the game stand out from its peers – as mentioned – it also plays perfectly into its own themes. Light and shadow are vitally important in the hierarchy of the city, and the way they change throughout the game creates its own form of visual storytelling. From the dark slums you start in, to the top of the towers with their bright light bulbs, the light will lead you on your way. There are a few slight animation glitches at times, but they’re easy to ignore when all the designs and environments are this well done.


There’s a lot that could be said for the choices that were made with White Shadows’ sound design, but we’ll just call them ‘interesting’. There isn’t a lot of music, most scenes are silent aside from the city’s industrial noises, which actually makes for a great atmosphere. When music does play, however, it’s often classical music everybody will recognize and which falls within free domain use. If you’ll dig that or not will depend on personal preference, but it can be jarring and detract from the game’s unique mood. Others might enjoy the spectacle of it, however.


White Shadows is a puzzle-platformer with some stealth sections, but overall, it contains a minimal amount of gameplay. We wouldn’t go as far as to call it a walking simulator, but it needs to be said that the gameplay that is present is overall quite easy and none of the puzzles are too hard to figure out. It still adds a fun amount of interactivity to what is otherwise an already great immersive storytelling experience.

Playing as the little Ravengirl, you travel through the city in a side-scrolling manner, meaning there’s always only one way to go. Puzzles are often solved by simply interacting with levers or dragging boxes around, though there’s a handful of more in-depth puzzles later on. Platforming on the other hand can be tricky, as the game often makes you time the jumps to avoid obstacles. Fall damage also seems a bit too sensitive in White Shadows sometimes, meaning even jumping from a ledge you’re supposed to walk off can get you killed. Thankfully, the game makes up for this by having ample checkpoints.

Lastly, there are the other animals, some of which do not take kindly to a plague bird walking around unchecked. Stealth sections work with a spotlight mechanic and require you to hide from sight by kneeling behind objects, sometimes as they’re moving. It’s tricky to get right, but fun once you master it and it definitely adds tension to the game, which works well within the setting.

The main drawback of White Shadows is its length. The game can be completed in about two or three hours, with many of the achievements being story-related and thus unmissable. Chapter selection becomes available after finishing the game once, so it’s easy to go back and get the few optional achievements you might have missed. And since the game is so narrative-driven, there’s really no reason to boot it up again after that. A lot of indie games work this way, but they usually don’t have the price tag White Shadows does.


Whenever we remember White Shadows is Monokel’s first game ever, it’s hard not to get excited. If this is what they produce as their debut, we can only dream of what this studio will deliver once it gets more experience and a more solid foundation. As it stands, the minor gripes we have with the game are easily forgotten in favor of enjoying its beautiful but dystopian world and interesting story choices.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
White Shadows - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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