Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is a puzzle platformer developed by Monochrome Paris, set in a world somewhat in the style of Tim Burton, and based on mechanics of light and shadow and perspective between two characters.
This title is set in a city of London in Victorian times and follows the adventure of a young girl named Emma, who discovers that Thomas Kane, the son of a famous family of eccentric magicians, has disappeared without a trace. The adventurer Emma thus decides to investigate the Mansion of this family that leaves anyone perplexed by its complexity and strange and flashy style. On the way, a teddy bear falls from a speeding carriage, gets up, and starts running towards the mansion. In this fervent race into the unknown, Emma names the little bear Fenton’s, and they both enter Kane Mason, with the aim of finding little Thomas.
At this point, it would be normal to think that there would be some sort of maybe emotional development between the characters, but none of that. There is just a feeling of helping each other in the mazes of solving each puzzle. In certain key moments, there are small notes like cutscenes that help the player to get used to this peculiar title.
Both characters present themselves in different ways, or in other words, in different perspectives. Fenton has the ability to walk on walls and jump. However, there are platforms separated by a distance that are impossible to reach without Emma’s help. Emma carries a light that when encountering a solid object creates a shadow. This shadow serves as a support base for your furry companion to safely traverse places that were previously unreachable. On the other hand, Fenton cannot move if he is completely surrounded by shadows. The player can switch characters at any time, as long as both are on solid floor, so shadows do not count for this effect.
The main objective of each level is to find the next key piece that will be used to explore the mansion and consequently all its levels. As the player progresses there are new mechanics and new forms of enemies that unwrap themselves between spiders, gelatinous enemies with tentacles that pull Emma if she gets too close to them, time mechanics, where it is necessary to use both characters in the time limit to reach the new area of the level.
In total there are 5 distinct areas and each one has several levels, separating them appreciably for an hour in length. Of course, each player will face different difficulties and therefore the playing time will increase if you find yourself stuck in certain aspects. The truth is, I found myself stuck on some of these levels, but it was caused by a lack of attention. The levels are small but exploration is also important because it’s really “easy” to miss a door that allows you to reach the next segment. There are also well-hidden secrets, so I say again, exploration is really important if you’re one of those who like to collect everything the game has to offer.
Graphically well done this title mixes Steampunk environment with fantasy worlds like Alice in Wonderland with worlds created by Tim Burton and a hint of Sherlock Holmes since as previously mentioned, at the beginning of the game it is possible to have a glimpse of a Victorian city of London.
Although I found some glitches and consequently used one to complete a level, Tandem: A Tale of Shadows, while small, is a title that promises to give players’ brains something to do. A very fun fantasy world to explore.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game for PS5, provided by Hatinh Interactive]