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RETRO Game Review - Linger In Shadows (PS Now/PS3)

There are so many games to choose from these days and different platforms that it can be overwhelming deciding where to start. And, sometimes you simply want to delve into an old favourite or a series you have heard great things about but never played. Nothing wrong with it, no judging here. In fact, I am definitely guilty of spending many hours playing the old timers as much as the shiny new stuff. So, in this particular section, I will take the time to play a game of the past which could range from the NES era all the way to the Xbox 360/PS3 generation and share my thoughts with a rating out of five.

Linger in Shadows is an unusual ‘demoscene’ interactive art project that was released digitally by Sony for the Playstation 3 that went wholly unnoticed at the time and playing it now has highlighted why its short unfulfilling premise didn’t land.

With the Playstation Now subscription service about to be abandoned and folded into the tiered Playstation Plus service, I felt it fitting to take a look through the games on offer before they potentially disappeared. In amongst the landmark Playstation 4 titles such as the Last of Us and Uncharted series’, some classic PS1 and PS2 games, I eventually found this bizarre curio – an indie game which relies on the gimmicky Sixaxis controls of the PS3 controller.

To be fair to developer Plastic, they do go out of their way to emphasise that this is not actually a game and is instead ‘interactive art’. So, it does feel a little strange to review this like any other game when in reality it’s a glorified tech demo. However, this was a purchasable product on release in 2008 over the Playstation Network so that is why it’s ultimately eligible for critique.

Linger In Shadows promotional image
You can rotate the dog on the right.

So, what is it?

The ‘game’ is made up a series of short digitally animated scenes that once shown can be reversed and scrubbed through to find ‘clues’ to progress. These essentially are menu indicators which prompt you to either press specific buttons or rotate the controller repeatedly at the right moment to then unlock the next scene. It’s not very intuitive at first as I spent more time than I care to admit on the initial opening credits scene trying to work out what I was to do. Eventually, after trying out different combinations I worked it out and the next five subsequent scenes were solved much quicker. And, that’s really the whole game – completed in around thirty-five minutes.

The cinematic scenes are admittedly varied and were likely impressive in 2008 however the overly brown colour palette and grainy visuals have aged less well 14 years later. The soundtrack from Wojciech Golczewski at least heightens the strange, obtuse vibe of the product. The developers hint in the description of the project that there are oblique references or hidden meanings to be unearthed but I found this to be too bland and uninteresting to look any further.

Verdict – With only Playstation Trophies to be found and no further unlockables, modes or rewards to earn, this ‘interactive art project’ has practically zero replayability after the initial half-hour playthrough. It’s a relic of the Sixaxis era and Plastic’s attempt to market it as ‘interactive art’ now comes off as pretentious – it’s simply a fairly dull tech demo with some obscure imagery masking as new wave digital art.

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