I love this game for the title alone. I just love saying it out loud. Towaga: Among Shadows. I even do it in my best John Fashanu impression. It’s not big, it’s not clever and it has nothing to do with anything. I just like doing it.
What on earth is Towaga: Among Shadows though? It is described as an action adventure title, but I never really got that. It feels like something else and if I was to liken it to anything, it would be Kickbeat, a rhythm fighting game from Zen Studios that came out across most platforms back in 2013. Enemies would attack from various directions and you’d fight them off in time to the beat.
Well Towaga: Among Shadows is a bit like that, but with a twin-stick-lite mechanic instead of rhythm action. I am probably not doing a great job in explaining so here is a trailer to show it off a bit more.
As Chimù you must fight off the shadow creatures and save the world from Metnal who had also destroyed Chimù’s village. I mean… yeah, sure, why not? I don’t want to put the story down too much, as you have a relatively short game here, that does look lovely and has some awesome looking intro videos and segments. It’s just…yeah.
The game is split into two main segments. One where you stand atop a temple platform and use your light beam to attack the shadow creatures at they come at you from all directions. Using the right-stick to aim a full 360-degrees. Then there is the flying twin-stick section that is exactly as it sounds. It is all super simple stuff, but it makes the game all the better for it.
At no point playing Towaga: Among Shadows did I ever feel it was trying to be anything but an easy to play entertaining game. The biggest complaint I have about it is around controls and my own cack-handed skills.
Towaga: Among Shadows originally released on Apple Arcade and it does feel like a game that was made for mobile first and foremost, where using a touch screen is huge benefit. So it is an odd omission not having them on the Switch release, to make use of the touch screen on the system.
The Joycon are not good for twin-stick games. Now don’t get me wrong, they are a great thing overall, but you need better grips and sticks for those types of games. Playing in handheld with default Joycon actually feels horrid to play and very nearly had me putting the game down as a bad job.
However, docked, or mounted with a Pro Controller or the Hori Split Pad Pro and it is a completely different thing. It feel good to play with the correct hardware and is a ton of fun to boot. You feel much more in control thanks to holding controllers in the correct way.
The issue comes from not everyone having access to a Pro Controller or similar, many will only have a base unit with Joycon and that is that. Which makes the game a chore and will turn those people off what is a very fine game. Adding touch screen options would have made it much better.
It is a shame, as the game is challenging, well structured, has a decent upgrade path for later levels and a good amount of extra content. I ended up getting sucked in to the basic gameplay loop and when finished, actually wanted more.
If you have the right controller, then go ahead and pick up Towaga: Among Shadows, but it is on the flip side, very difficult to recommend without extra equipment.