Co operative puzzle games are rare, but the concept of working together with a friend to solve puzzles is a true delight, and a welcome break from the cooperative experiences that largely involve killing things. Just look at Portal 2. New developer Sarepta Studio have recognized this, and are ready to put out their first game, Shadow Puppeteer, a quaint little puzzler built specifically with two-player gameplay in mind.
The premise of Shadow Puppeteer, like many indie puzzlers, is simplistic, vague, and bears little semblance to the real world. An unnamed boy finds that his own shadow has gained sentience and separated from him, which is rather convenient, as a nefarious villain known as the Shadow Puppeteer is stealing the shadows of everyone in the village, which somehow renders the victims incapacitated. It’s up to the boy and his shadow to work together to undo the damage.
As mentioned earlier, Shadow Puppeteer revolves entirely around an old school-styled shared-screen two player cooperative experience, so much so that the developers haven’t even implemented a way to play the game in a single player fashion (UPDATE: The developers have since then notified us that they have completed single player integration, adding that it will be significantly more challenging than playing with a friend).
Both the boy and his shadow have different abilities, with one able to interact with the physical world and the other able to interact with shadows and light. There will also be gravity-shifting elements and the use of special ‘shadow tools’ to manipulate the game world. The kinds of puzzles you can expect as a result of this setup are quite mind bending.
This is looking to be a strong first effort from Norwegian developer Sarepta Studio, who were formed in 2010 and are funded by the Nordic Game Program, Innovation Norway and Norweigan Film Institute. They’ve been working on Shadow Puppeteer for four years now, and having been Greenlit last May, the game is ready to be put out on Steam, Humble Store, and Glyph this September 29. A Wii U version is also planned, but details on that release are currently scant.
At any rate, Shadow Puppeteer looks to bring back the joys of two players sitting side by side, working together to solve puzzles in local-co op action, which seems to be an endangered species these days. You can keep up with its release on its Steam page.