Shadow Corridor Review (Switch)


*Gets a glance at a Noh mask wearing spirit* I regret this immediately.


Released: October 26, 2021
Available on: Switch/Steam
Genre: Horror
Developer: Regista
Publisher: NIS America
Review key provided by developers

Just imagine yourself minding your own business as you suddenly have the urge to explore. Maybe it was because it was a hot summer day and a mysterious alley brought along a cool breeze, or maybe you were just close enough for the mirror to start tugging on you, but either way you didn’t know what you were in for. Though, I guess the ball that came out of nowhere should have been a clue. You soon come across a tunnel, with a few hidden gravestones at the entrance, and you decide to go through it and keep going. It happened to lead to a field of flowers and a shrine. And then you do the last mistake in the long list of mistakes: touch the mirror in the shrine. Sending you somewhere with maze like corridors and angry, cursed spirits wearing Noh Masks. Eventually, you do find out there are others that got locked here, but who knows if you’ll be the one to finally escape when seemingly everyone else that passed through got trapped. The story gets pretty crazy from here so be prepared.

When I said that this includes you going through maze-like corridors, it certainly wasn’t something to put a bit of flavor in it. You’ll be put in a maze of corridors, with rooms placed here and there for you to comb through, but you can’t exactly bank on your memory from your previous run or from someone else’s as they happen to be randomly generated. With only your trusty lighter to light your way, you must persevere. You walk pretty slowly, you are no fast walker, and while you can run it’s only for a short time as you do have a stamina meter (which actually may be accurate if you don’t run as much) and it makes a lot of noise. You do get to have a map if you’re on the easy difficulty, but I found it was still pretty confusing and disorienting to navigate. Having a minimap certainly helps, but not as much as it would seem. Your main goal, other than to survive, is to find around three magatamas that are lying around and make it to the exit.

Of course, it’s not at all going to be easy. There are Noh Mask wearing sprites that roam the corridor. Luckily, you don’t have to blindly walk around and hope for the best. Each ghost have their own sound effect which serves as a way so you know which one is around. Though, all of them do seem to cause your heartbeat to quicken (which you can feel the vibration as it beats) as well as having the lights flicker, which increases a bit as they get closer and will even cause your screen to turn red if they spot you. Though don’t worry as not all is lost. There are a lot of items you can pick up that will help you. To list some examples, you can actually pick up a flashlight (though spirits will detect it more easily), small stones that give off some light by themselves to mark an area, and a compass that seems to point to magatamas and the exit depending on which one is closest. You can even kind of fight against the spirits, which pretty much kills you in one hit, as you do have firecrackers to distract them with the noise, a camera to stun the spirit, and even a mirror to teleport away. There are even some passive items to pick up as well, including ones that gives you a second chance. Depending on your difficulty level, easy will let you respawn at the last checkpoint with no penalty, with normal requiring you to sacrifice a magatama to go to the last checkpoint which will force you to find another one. And considering the spirits sense when you pick one up… try to be careful. There are even some other hazards that will make you take a hit.

Shadow Corridor does switch it up on you though. You won’t just be doing the confusing maze corridors back to back as you do get levels where you just need to make it to the end and it isn’t as maze-like. That doesn’t mean these levels aren’t hard, they still require you to go up against the spirits and you still have to grab various items and figure out how to continue.

There are some collectibles you can find, and challenge yourself of finding them all. You can find various articles and papers around that you can read, kokeshi dolls, and golden magatama (with both hinting towards unlocking something once you collect them all). As well as other modes for you to check out like a challenge mode where you see how many magatama you can collect in a set time, a harder difficulty to dive into, and a defenders mode where you play as a spirit and go after the humans instead. A museum level will even unlock once you complete the game, letting you check out the spirits and characters close up without the danger and some developer commentary on them.

To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy this game as much as I thought. It looked interesting, and I’m always up for a horror game despite being someone that’s easily scared when I set the mood right, but I just couldn’t get myself to really like it. The walking seemed too slow for me which always tempts me to run. And I guess I didn’t really enjoy roaming the corridors with little direction (as you don’t really get told that you need to pick up the magatama and you can go a while before finding a one). This doesn’t mean I don’t see why there are and will be some that do enjoy this game, but this just wasn’t for me.

In terms of performance, Shadow Corridor does run pretty well. The only times it did freeze was when it loads up a spirit into the map that wasn’t there before.

Verdict

While Shadow Corridor does nail that atmosphere needed to bring players in and scare them, the variety of the spirits is there, and it will most certainly scare you (especially if you do some mood setting like playing it around midnight, with the lights off, and maybe with headphones if you think you’re brave enough), I didn’t really end up enjoying it. I guess I’m not the type of person that gels well with the maze-like, randomly generated, corridors where you don’t really know where to go or do and where you walk pretty slowly. But if you are someone that thinks they will enjoy it, this will certainly be worth picking up. Like I said, it does nail the horror element and there is actually a lot of content here, especially if you decide to do it in other difficulties, get everything, or try out the different modes.

RipWitch

♡ ♡ ♡ A witch that goes for anything that peaks her interest no matter the genre. Currently obsessed with the Persona series and trying to make a dent in my backlog. ♡ ♡ ♡

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