If Tandem: A Tale of Shadows had seduced us during our preview, we still had some reservations about its ability to renew itself over time. We were therefore curious to see the final result of the small Parisian studio Monochrome (Singularity 5) composed of only 5 people and specialized in 3D creation. Published by Hatinh Interactive and supported by the Ile-de-France Region and the CNC, this adventure puzzle game is available at € 24.99 since October 21, 2021 on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch. In a victorian universe, it offers us a gameplay based on two characters evolving in different dimensions and based on play of shadows and light which reminds us of the very good Shady Part of Me from Twelve Tenth (cocorico). The whole question is now whether he manages to do as well as his compatriot.
It Tale Two
London, late 19th century. Thomas Kane, the son of a couple of famous illusionists, is missing. Scotland Yard has been tasked with solving this case, but the mystery remains unresolved. Emma, a 10 year old girl intrigued by all this, decides to take matters in hand and surrender at the Kane mansion to find out for herself what happened. But she will not be alone in pursuing this goal. Indeed, as she walks towards the Victorian mansion, a teddy beare is thrown out of the window of a horse-drawn carriage. But it’s not just any bear. Fenton, since that is his name, is Thomas’s and he is not only alive, but also in possession of powers allowing him to move horizontally on walls and use shadows as a support to move.
Close collaboration will be necessary between the two new friends.
And that’s good because doors and other mechanisms can only be unlocked in this dimension. His help will therefore be essential to Emma. Likewise, the shadows that it can create or drive away will help Fenton move forward. It is thus thanks to a close collaboration that the two new friends will first be able to cross the gardens of the Kane mansion then, after passing by the basements, to reach the kitchen before crossing the clock in the ballroom to rally winter gardens looking for young Thomas. It is therefore through 5 chapters that your adventure will unfold, each split into several fairly short episodes, especially the first ones which are used to introduce the mechanics of the game. As we suspected, the title is therefore rather brief and you should find the end of the story after about 7 hours.
It’s dark in this mansion
This does not mean that the universe in which Tandem plunges you is neglected, quite the contrary. With Emma top view and Fenton in horizontal with side scrolling, the app asks you to constantly alternate between the two protagonists in an efficient way, going fromvery colorful images for the young lady to a successful black and white world for the teddy bear. The atmosphere officially draws its inspiration from Tim burton, as it is a little obvious, but also at Jules Verne or Conan Doyle, references which are not the least. And indeed, there is that. German expressionism and the golden age of Dutch art have also been used and the result is there, with an artistic direction that leaves no one indifferent. Even if this is not the fair of pixels in terms of graphics, these are really lovely and the cutscenes serving as a link between the chapters do not denote either.
The app asks you to constantly alternate between the two protagonists.
A gallery of 18 artworks can also be fulfilled by discovering hidden areas In addition, collecting these allows you to learn more about the Kane family. And each chapter has its own dreamlike universe, including in terms of sound. If we had previously criticized a soundtrack and some fairly nondescript sound effects, it is not. Signed Guillaume Nicollet, the compositions alternate between music directly from childhood and those supporting the atmosphere filled with strangeness of the place. As for the storyteller’s dubbing, entirely in English with French subtitles, it is simply excellent. with a nice accent in line with the Victorian era of the title.
Gelly Part of Me
If Emma opens doors with keys after she gets her hands on them and activates mechanisms, it is especially with her lamp that she makes herself useful. She can indeed thanks to her erase some shadows blocking Fenton or on the contrary create others on which it can rely to reach a given point. Unfortunately, it will be deprived of its lantern on several occasions and will then have to use other light sources by moving various objects on the ground that it can pull or push, sometimes on rails limiting their positioning. The objective of each episode is to get Fenton to a crystal which he then sends to Emma to move on to the next table. For his part, he must clear Emma’s passage by pressing buttons or also activating mechanisms. He is able to jump and his part of the gameplay therefore looks a bit like a platform where platforms come and go at the whim of play of shadows and light. But beware of do not put Fenton in the shadows, then he would be stuck and you couldn’t call on him anymore. Likewise, he must be on a stable surface, and not a shadow, to be able to pass back to Emma. A concept more or less already crossed in Shady Part of Me but that works very well.
The objective of each episode is to get Fenton to a crystal.
It is therefore about find the solution to reach the coveted crystal. It is above all a puzzle game, let’s not forget, and it will sometimes be necessary to zap very quickly between each character by synchronizing the actions of each. Some enemies will be able to exterminate Emma, like spiders with their laser vision, but she is quite unable to reciprocate them. It should therefore rather cut off their field of vision, bypass them or, at a minimum, avoid them. Note that the latter are either stationary or follow a pre-established route that they repeat endlessly, which simplifies the task. Fenton doesn’t have to face anyone, but beware of falls on thorns or blades. Don’t worry, if you pass away it was not the right solution and you then reappear just before to try your luck again. And if we had noted that the developers were not lacking in imagination to create new situations for us, we wondered about their ability to do so until the end of the game. Well! good news, they haven’t run out of ideas. Each chapter indeed brings its own universe and the gameplay, even while always based on the same principle, continues to renew itself. with, each time, various interactive elements identifiable by a small sparkling point used.
It will sometimes be necessary to zap very quickly between each character by synchronizing the actions of each.
After garden spiders, it will thus be necessary to learn to play with basement piping to circulate a viscous liquid capable of creating fulcrums for Fenton like blocking barriers. In the kitchen, it’s Gelly cubes, typical of English pastry, that you can grab with your tongue to move them, make them grow on the outlets, make them devour each other or even have them cut up as needed. The clock ballroom, with her ghosts, will deprive Emma of her lantern and ask her to avoid tin soldiers by hiding in the shadows and staying safe from motion detectors. At last, in the winter gardens, comparable to the natural history museum with its skeletons, it will be necessary to manage lush vegetation containing strange animals. And each chapter has its end boss allowing you to retrieve a key to move on to the next one. We will also make a special ola for the kitchen one which offers a very nice sequence, even if it deviates from the gameplay specific to the game. Ah, and don’t forget to observe the scenery carefully so as not to miss any hidden room and recover all the secrets, these are sometimes well hidden.