You don’t have to be able to draw to make a game – just look at Shadows Over Loathing. Pfft… Asymmetric didn’t even bother, so why should you take a few minutes to read through this review if it’s so bad? Because it ain’t. Besides the painfully addictive Disney Speedstorm, this comedic adventure on the Switch is ruddy marvellous. And the artwork is actually really really good.
A prohibition-era setting doesn’t sound like the best, but as the game doesn’t take itself seriously with real-time brick rendering or boasting an FX chip that sounds out “Wise guy” every time you act, the pay-off works as it’s so refreshingly absurd, featuring a classic ‘head into the big city to fill the shoes of a family member’ arc, plus a plethora of sidequests chockful of glockenspiels.
But what makes Shadows Over Loathing the game you won’t be able to put down is the excellent writing. It breaks down the fourth wall and knocks on the fifth when it comes to irrelevance, but equally witty and coherent enough for this to be an absolute gem to experience. However, let’s loosely link up to The Great Depression and get the rubbish stuff out of the way.
Shadows Over Loathing Switch Review
It’s not ideal to mention the bad points early on, but the good points outweigh them. I just want to give you some transparency, friend. The combat is a bit… meh. As a turn-based battler, you switch between your party using melee and ranged attacks, flick between consumables, and rely upon an interchangeable familiar offering support or offensive prowess. It’s easy enough, and though there are difficulty settings, I found it to be a bit of a chore and less strategy, more formulaic.
And that’s the bad points.
Now, back to our show. I’d initially wanted to play Shadows Over Loathing when it came out on PC late last year, but I didn’t have the time to play. Having played this now, I regret it. The art style is amusing at first but quickly wears off, but should you play the game, you soon find the writing and artwork complement each other perfectly.
At the start of the game, you receive a letter from an uncle summoning you to the big city. You begin with a newspaper over your head and must promptly head to the toilets to remove it, thus customising your character’s face and giving them a name. Yay – customisation! But it doesn’t stop there, as, throughout the experience, you will unlock gear that will change your appearance, including the best selection of hats ever seen in a game.
Ocean City, Baby
Shadows Over Loathing doesn’t shy away from walls of text, which is presented in chunks at a time. I didn’t like the font choice at first, but considering the amount of reading you’ll be doing (it’s not a talkie), it works out as the best option. The noticeable benefit here, other than readability, is you’re more like to read all the text without accidentally skipping sections. Even better: there aren’t any silly sound effects when characters speak. I hate that.
Anyhoo, our hero heads to Ocean City to find their uncle is missing. Cue our main story, but the side quests here are so much fun, you’ll be doing those first, juggling random encounters each time you move around the map. As mentioned, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the battles, but each scene’s unique dialogue was worth the time and experience.
Shadows Over Loathing is a big game with heaps of opportunity. Like a CRPG, you can build your character stats – simple parameters, hilarious descriptions – which add to your muscle and mysticality, then focus on your familiar’s power too. Additionally, there are perks to be had, and it can be easy to get locked into a unique perk – mine being ‘haunted’. With these experiences, I tend to restart the game to make sure I chose the right one, but it was so good I never looked back.