Thrust into the role of "The Seed of Prophecy," players travel deep into the living castle, in hopes of defeating the evil that dwells within – the dreaded Warlock Lord.
User reviews: Very Positive (133 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 21, 2014

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"Leans a little more toward the fantasy than the horror you might remember from your childhood. Still a good nostalgia trip with nice and creepy art."

Recent updates View all (5)

October 15


Available in late October, a new Shadowgate update showcases a haunting Halloween-themed addition entitled the ‘Dread Pumpkin Quest’ that will have players as well as a litany of improvements ranging from an alternate command system, additional achievements, overhauls to the tutorial system, and new Casual and Ironman game modes.

Also with this new Shadowgate update, players will enjoy improved save and load features, object visibility options, a retro graphics add-on, destroyable objects, and much more that will help adventurers navigate the treacherous dangers of the living fortress Shadowgate.

The full list of upcoming updates for Shadowgate includes:

• Alternate Command System: We will offer players two command systems and turn current system into the Retro system. The new system will be a wheel system where (on easier modes) only commands that can be used will be available (highlighted). Other modes would have all commands on the wheel. Several verbs will be combined together as well. All keybinds and locking will still work in this mode.
• Brand New Halloween Themed Quest: The ‘Dread Pumpkin Quest’ sends players on a mysterious and festive quest to find and free a great spirit. Special items include an ancient mask, carving knives, candles, wizard hat, cloak, and lots of new rooms and puzzles.
• Tutorials Overhaul: With the inclusion of the command wheel, there need two tutorials. Various things are being added to tutorials that we have seen players struggle with.
• Adjust size of UI Elements: The UI elements could be reduced to offer more visability of the scene. On top of that, we will move the load/save to the options gear.
• Additional Achievements: Gotta catch them all! (Catching all the elementals), Seven Angry Dwarven Miner (Mining all the gems in the catacombs), Signal the Castle (Lighting the fire pyre and examining it in Room22), Book Collector (Reading all the books in the game), Pyromaniac! (burning all things that disappear in the game).
• Casual Game Mode: The casual mode is just that - for casual players. The game is very forgiving and there are very few objects in the game that aren't required for puzzles. It is also much more difficult for players to die or lose the game.
• Ironman Mode: Each mode will have an checkbox available for Ironman mode. In this mode, players will not be able to save the game and must play in one sitting.
• Mouse Click Adjustments: Makes the mouse more sensitive to clicking on objects.
• Changes to Useable Object View: Adding a key bind that will glow all objects in the room.
• Quick Load Option: Added a key bind for quick loading a game.
• Changes to Save/Load: Add Save and Load separately to the options gear on right. This keeps players from accidentally saving over a load, etc.
• Adjustments to “USE” command: The USE command will work better on things like levers and such if you simply hit USE and then the object.
• Destroyable Objects: Key objects will not be destroyed in easier difficulty settings.
• Changes To Room Names: Room names being altered to make them more consistent and less ambiguous.
• Hints Being Tweaked: Hints are being tweaked on all levels to be even more helpful.
• Polish Of All Difficulty Levels: Add polish and more interactions to actions to reduce generic comments.
• Revising Keybind Location: With the inclusion of new settings features, the keybinds get their own screen.
• Retro Graphics Option: Retro graphics will be put into the game as a pixelated filter. This will be more of a fun lark that is easily turned on and off in the settings or via a keybind.
• Adjustments To Enemy-based Puzzles: Some examples include the Wraith will no longer return and goblins will have a lower firing percentage.
• New Difficulty Descriptions: Need to add a difficulty dialogue update for the new modes.
• Fixes To Window Text: Go thru the text and fix as many widows as possible.
• Easy Mode: Make it less deadly- similar to Casual
• Revision to Curse: There will be additional graphic/text info when the curse is affecting you so players know what is going on.
• Third Slider for Cutscenes: Add a third slider for handling audio in cut scenes.

4 comments Read more

August 21


Take heed, young adventurer, the living Castle Shadowgate is now re-opened!

“This is the ultimate version of Shadowgate that we’ve been envisioning for nearly 30 years! The game features tons of new puzzles to solve, a hugely expanded Castle Shadowgate, and gorgeous hand-painted graphics. There are plenty of nods to the original version, like the NES-inspired orchestral tracks and pixelated transitions, so fans of the MacVenture and NES versions will instantly recognize this as the ultimate successor to the classic. This is a huge moment for the team!” - Karl Roelofs, Design Director with Zojoi.

Come talk to us on the forums, tell your friends and above all enjoy your journey through Castle Shadowgate! We hope this is just one of many games that will be brought back to life!

6 comments Read more


“If you want something a little different, a bit classic, and potentially ridiculously entertaining, then perhaps you should start getting hyped for Shadowgate.”

“This isn’t a simple remake, but a full-on re-imagining of the original adventure.”

“It looks to preserve everything that made the original game so beloved.”

What does the Special Edition include?

NES Ringtones Available!

About This Game

Shadowgate is one of the most well-known and beloved point-and-click adventure titles in gaming history. As one of the original titles in the popular MacVenture series that went on to be celebrated on the NES, GBC and Nintendo 64, Shadowgate quickly endeared players with its fantastic atmospheric soundtrack, perilous locations to progress through, countless puzzles to solve, and more ways to gruesomely die than gamers previously thought possible. Thrust into the role of "The Seed of Prophecy," players travel deep into the living castle, in hopes of defeating the evil that dwells within – the dreaded Warlock Lord.

Now, nearly 30 years after the original version haunted Mac and NES gamers, the original development team behind that timeless classic is back with a full re-imagining of the original Shadowgate. Much more than a port, the team at Zojoi has painstakingly redesigned the game from the ground up, adding in tons of new mind-bending puzzles, lots of new rooms with stunning hand-painted 2D graphical detail, and more objects to interact with and help you along your quest.

Decide how YOU want to play this new, re-imagined Shadowgate! Want the quintessential experience? Employ the Classic command system or turn on the retro soundtrack, text box, and room transitions. Want a more cinematic experience? Switch to Immersive mode by auto-hiding the UI and using customizable hotkeys to explore the castle. Or mix and match the options to satisfy your play style. In Shadowgate, there are plenty of new features and fun throwbacks to the original version to satisfy veteran adventurers and newcomers alike!

Key Features

  • First Person Adventuring: Utilize your inventory, mapping system and intuitive on-screen commands to complete your quest.
  • Rooms: Tons of beautifully illustrated rooms featuring both new and familiar locations, offering a new gameplay experience.
  • Puzzles: Lots of new and updated puzzles that seamlessly expand on the original game.
  • Difficulty Levels: Three different difficulty levels that actually change the gameplay experience and puzzle structure.
  • Customized UI: Play the way you want! Use classic on-screen commands or jump into Immersive mode and auto-hide the UI elements. Create key binds, lock commands and keys, and more.
  • Retro Mode: Play the game like it’s 1989! Listen to Hiroyuki Masuno’s original NES chip tunes, move between rooms with pixelated transitions, and enjoy the text in retro format.
  • Storytelling: Shadowgate features dramatic cut-scenes and all the same great storytelling you expect from the original creators.
  • Cinematic Score: A digitally-orchestrated, dynamic soundtrack that changes with gameplay by composer Rich Douglas.
  • Soundscapes: A complete atmospheric and puzzle-based sound design featuring hundreds of sound effects.
  • Achievements: 50 in-game and Steam-based achievements to find and unlock.
  • Animations: Environmental and object-specific animations and particles bring each location to life.
  • Help: Need a hint? An in-game help system is just a click away.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 2.4GHz Processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512MB Dedicated Video Memory
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
    • OS: OSX 10.6+
    • Processor: 2.4GHz Processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512MB Dedicated Video Memory
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
45.6 hrs on record
If you like puzzles and thinking and potentially being insanely frustrated (in a good way) by the puzzle this is a great game.
Let's say you don't like that last part that's okay because they are difficulties, and hints (in all difficulties) to help you!
The original was on amiga, Apple2, and NES, but it's not a port, if you played the originals it's a blessing and a curse. (cause your memory works against you in some puzzles but gives you some idea of what to do in others. there are also a lot more puzzles and updates (Think DLC level content) happening all the time) in October a whole new quest is being added included as an update, it's worth the investment to be sure!

PS Hopefully your adventures won't end too soon that'd be sad.....
Posted: October 16
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.7 hrs on record
I've never played the original Shadowgate, but I did play the other "Macventures" (Deja Vu and Uninvited) on my Atari ST back in the day. The remake stays true to the style of the games that came before it while still updating it to the expectations of today's generation, both graphically and musically. And even the simplest difficulty level still makes you scratch your head enough to enjoy a good challenge but not overly so. And Zojoi catered to the old school fans by offering a "retro" experience where you can experience the game almost like it was originally through overlays on the game itself. Anyone who fondly remembers these classics should give this one a try.
Posted: October 21
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
16.0 hrs on record
This is a wonderful remastering of an amazing old-school game! To the non-nostalgic heart, it may be fairly crude, but for those who remember the NES version, this is a must have! Each difficulty includes a completely different set of puzzles. Game is shareable on steamshare. I'm 110 hours in so far between two steam accounts, and I still haven't figured out the last difficulty... I'm not very quick at these thigs but entertainment per price is high in returns.
Posted: September 26
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
13.3 hrs on record
Shadowgate is a prime example of how to modernize a game right. It has some flaws here and there, but the spirit of the original is alive and well, tough as it ever was, and will thrill puzzle-solving gamers who take the time to enjoy the rich atmosphere and object based puzzles. If you enjoyed the original game in any of it’s incarnations in the late 80s (or even the Gameboy Color version in the late 90s), you simply must get this one. If you enjoy object based puzzles this is easily one of the best games to offer them in recent years and you should also get your hands on it. However, if a game needs to be action based for you to enjoy it, stay the HELL away.

To read my full review, please go to
Posted: October 19
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
A very solid remake of a classic game.
Posted: October 19
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Its tough but I love it. Lots of nice features and does have some replaybility.
Posted: September 29
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Remakes are a delicate thing, as it is rare for a remake to match the original, especially if the original is considered a classic.

Now, I don't know if Shadowgate remake will be considered a classic in the future, but as far remakes go it is in the rare group of remakes, that manage to do things right. It takes the original 8-bit classic, enhances it, changes some things and comes out as a solid game of its own, which at the same time honors what Shadowgate originally was: dificult, mesmerizing, entharlling and above all, fun, despite it can be pretty unforgiving as far mistakes go.

And the game is pretty and has pretty great soundtrack as well, so it's well worth the price.
Posted: September 30
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.8 hrs on record
This game is a perfect retro feel modern update of an amazing adventure game. This is puzzle gaming at its best.
Posted: October 11
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 16
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5.3 hrs on record
This gem here was always a classic for me on the NES. I never owned it myself, but I had friends that had it. When they would ask me what game I want to play, I said Shadowgate. I just fell in love with whole idea of a game like this on the NES. I loved the adventure, the sounds, and some of the best music ever. You knew from your first few steps into the game that every corner could be potential death. So I must say this was so worth buying, I bought it when in beta and was blown away seeing "The Living Castle of the Dead" brought back to life in HD. I've waited for a long time to see if something like this would ever be made again. And if they made an Uninvited version (Maybe DLC?) I'd fall in love all over again, cause that is another beautiful gem I would die for in HD.
Posted: October 7
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1.6 hrs on record
I really hate to give this a NO because I am a fan of the IP, but alas, it can't be avoided. Here comes the breakdown:

Graphics: Not too bad at all, but any time there is an intense animation on my screen, I get a very noticable framerate drop in the animation itself. The good looking scenery is actually a little bit of a hindrance, because the environment doesn't offer a lot of context clues on items to be picked up or alternate rooms to go into. Everything blends together a little too well.

Sound: AMAZING. Orchestral arrangements of the classic music, decent sound effects.

Controls: The UI is clunky beyond belief. SCUMM worked back in the day, but In the modern era, not so much. Not tweaking the interface (and actually making it worse at times with what changes were made) for the sake of nostalgia is a bad design choice. The inventory system is horrible. Click command. Open inventory. Click on item. Close inventory. Click on environment.

Gameplay: I remember the old NES version well enough to remember most of the puzzles, but when the devs added in their new content, everything falls apart. They provide little to no context as to what you need to do, and the in-game hint system is a joke. They also put in a "banshee curse" in the beginning section which will eventually kill you, and if you take too long getting through the game and can't complete it in time, you will have to start over from the very beginning. These two elements together ruin it for me.

A good adventure game should make you have an "Ah-HA!" moment when you get to the next section, not cause you to punch a hole through your monitor out of frustration when you hit the next barrier of progression.

Overall score: 5/10
Posted: October 23
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81 of 91 people (89%) found this review helpful
21.4 hrs on record
A classic reborn. If you loved the computer and NES origins of this game, you absolutely have to pick this up. The puzzles and music are classig enough to bring every bit of emotional response you want in nostalgia and so much updating and redesign that it feels current and new again.

Some classic puzzles are still there, some classic puzzles are not what you thought they would be, and tons of nods to classic scenarios that have been removed. The new puzzles are fresh, complex and satisfying to solve.

Being able to toggle retro music was a blast. Some of my favorite video game music was from this and Rich Douglas did a magnificent job translating those songs to current times. The sounds and music were perfectly done to match all the new visuals and puzzles.

If you have never played Shadowgate before, and you love point and click adventure titles, or puzzle solving adventures a la Myst, 11th Hour, 7th Guest, etc... you would have a blast with this. Can't wait to see them redo Uninvited and Deja Vu!
Posted: August 20
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74 of 87 people (85%) found this review helpful
29.6 hrs on record
I am a veteran of the original Shadowgate which I played many years ago as a young boy on the Amiga 500. I was content at the fact Zojoi were reimaging the game with new hand drawn rooms and music, but to my surprise, what the developers have actually done is taken Shadowgate to a whole new level.

If you thought you knew how to conquer Shadowgate, think again. It is still the same nostalgic Shadowgate you once knew, with the same thematic puzzles, though now with a modern twist and level of complexity requiring a greater level of thinking and problem solving. Zojoi have also expanded Castle Shadowgate to introduce new areas of the game that were not accessbile or included in the original. The Steam achievement are also nice touch. Curing the curse in under 200 turns was a challanging achievement.

If you are not a thinker or problem solver then this game may not be for you. If you do get stuck (and you will) take a break to think about the puzzles. If you are still stuck the forum is very active and helpful, often providing you clues to solve the puzzles without actually providing you the spoiler.

Words cannot describe the feelings I get playing this. No modern game has kept me this entertained. At the price Zojoi are offering this, it is a steal!

Re-experience the mystery of Castle Shadowgate!
Posted: June 30
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41 of 51 people (80%) found this review helpful
4.5 hrs on record
A remake of the original game from the Nes, Shadowgate is a click and point adventures that follows the original retro style redone with voice acting, animated graphics, and the complicated puzzles changed up to blow your mind in fustration but full of satisfactory when solved. Fans of the original Shadowgate will love the remake of this game and the feeling of retro nostalgia.

The game starts with an animated opening accompanied by a great soundtrack and voice narration that will give you the immersion and overhwelming feeling of epicness to your adventure to conquer the castle and stop an evil warlock.

Though not everything is voiced in the game except for major plotline cutscenes for the story. The game still does a great job with the text dialogue. The graphics will remind you of a really well done animated graphic novel if you've ever experienced any of those. The gameplay itself a click adventure puzzle game and might not be everyone's cup of tea.

Upon playing the game and starting off your adventure you'll be greeted with 3 different difficulty mode to the game, each of which changes up the solution to the puzzles to the game and stop players from thinking they know the puzzles after playing the first time. Along with starting the adventure you'll be given a well detailed tutorial that explains how the mechanics, and how the game works. This isn't your usual point and click adventure but a retro gameplay style with the player having to use hotkeys and clicking on top for buttons to execute commands such as use, speak, or even to open doors and move forward etc. So an example is in order to get in through a door to the next area to progress you'll have to first open the door or you'll run headlfirst into it.

The game will feature puzzles that are pretty complex and feels VERY satisfying when you actually solve it. The game does give you hints hidden in well written riddles and text on spells, items, and scroll you find in order to progress. Upon being stuck however, players do have the ability to talk to your only sidekick skull partner Yorick who at times talk alot but does give you hints also in riddles but unless you paid attention to certain surrondings and the riddles, you'll be stuck at certain areas for quite a bit.
The way to solve certain situations sometimes is trial and error sometimes and be warned however that making a mistake at certain locations and it's death for you in many ways. There are creatures in this castle to stop you along the way such as krakens and dragons. Luckily the game does offer saving and quicksave to keep on playing. To add on to this the game has a mechanic that everything you do is considered a move except for looking. So each time you are using a move your torch is slowly diminishing. If you run out of torches you'll have no choice but to restart a previous save becuase leaving will make you fall in the dark and break your neck. Along with the torch there will be another element later in the game that will be more brutal on you forcing you to quicken your pace a bit.

The one thing about the game is when you do die you'll die in a gruesome way. Along with death flying along and giving you a speech about your misery sometimes in a humorous manner. So try not to die and do your best at the puzzles, Read, look, and tread carefully in this castle of doom.

+ Animated graphics
+ Well written dialogue
+ Voice over and cutscenes are nicely done
+ Immersive Music
+ Complex puzzle with 3 different difficulty and change up
+ includes retro voice, music, and audio from the nes version that you can switch to

- When you get stuck its pretty brutal don't give up
- The retrostyle interface might not be everyones thing
- The only downside is once you know the solutions then thats pretty much it for the game.
Posted: August 21
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27 of 29 people (93%) found this review helpful
37.4 hrs on record
Shadowgate is a re-imagining of the point-and-click adventure game released almost three decades ago, under the same name, on NES and Mac. Given these origins, your motivations for venturing into Castle Shadowgate are about what you would expect: you are a hero who must defeat an evil warlock. The graphics, music and the majority of puzzles have been reworked; new, voice-acted cutscenes and story elements have been peppered throughout; while the mysterious atmosphere and memorable locations of the original remain intact, along with the option to use the retro soundtrack.

While most of the information needed to reach puzzle solutions does lie somewhere within the game, it is not explicit in its detail: clues are often cryptic, making experimentation necessary—experimentation that results in death just as often as a satisfying solution. Shadowgate is a game in which the reaper is literally waiting around every corner for you to make your next mistake. The only difference is that, this time, it’s almost as if you’re collecting the various deaths since you’re rewarded with achievements for experiencing them and special cutscenes for discovering the hidden ones.

On Master difficulty, the puzzles are as challenging as the name implies but often in a manner just as obtuse as in the original Shadowgate; fortunately, the developers included two lesser difficulties that make the game more approachable and groom you for your playthrough of Master—if you’re still interested by then. An optional tutorial and a talking skull companion that gives hints upon request, the equivalent of the “hint” command from the original, also help to alleviate the difficulty.

Dependent upon how you like your point-and-clicks, Shadowgate is potentially flawed: Turns are limited because the torches that keep you alive are limited in both number and duration, complicated by the fact that you’re unavoidably afflicted with a curse very early on, which will kill you if not cured in time. This is fairly forgiving on lower difficulty settings but, on Master, it’s very easy to waste enough time searching for the cure that you damn yourself in the process and must either go back to an earlier save or restart the entire game. The facts that many items aren’t necessary to progress and anything that isn’t a simple inspection of your surroundings will consume a turn, combined with the experimentation-based puzzle solving, where items must frequently be combined with each other or the environment, could make this adventure an exercise in frustration for some.

If you enjoyed the original Shadowgate, this is a no-brainer. If you hated the original Shadowgate, this isn’t likely to change your mind, though the lesser difficulties will undoubtedly be less offensive. For those who haven’t played the game, nostalgia aside and despite its difficulty, it is a very memorable game that is full of mystery and your enjoyment will largely depend on how much trial and error you are willing to endure in an adventure game.
Posted: August 23
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32 of 38 people (84%) found this review helpful
26.4 hrs on record
All the nostalgia you'd expect -- All the new trials and challenge you wouldn't.

For the fence sitters of this reimagining of Shadowgate: To shrug this offering of the Shadowgate franchise as simply a remake does the efforts of the development team no justice.

For those who have played any of the previous versions of the game across its many iterations, you will indeed feel as though you have returned to the same castle, and the same aura of the game remains surprisingly intact and pervades each and every room.

But be warned, the familiarity is both friend and foe as you begin to traverse the new puzzles and challenges. Old riddles may not always be what they seem and familiarity can lend itself to misdirection. It will take a fresh perspective from the player to prepare for the fresh traps, trials, and tribulations of this new castle shaped the guise of the old.

I must admit I had a skeptical approach to the title myself before being part of its testing; but have been pleasantly surprised by the respect to the original and the careful balance of nostalgia vs new content paid by the development team.

If you enjoyed the previous generations of the Living Castle, Shadowgate, then you will most certainly find quite a lot to love about its newest incarnation. And if you are new to this genre of gameplay or this franchise, then Shadowgate is an apt place to start.

So if you're still interested: grab a torch, a weapon of choice, and pluck up a touch of courage and take on the new challenge of the newest Castle Shadowgate -- the Reaper is waiting to see just where your adventure may chance to end...and he can wait far longer than you can.
Posted: August 21
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25 of 32 people (78%) found this review helpful
10.1 hrs on record
Simply put: if you played this as a child back in the 80's, you owe it to yourself to purchase this remake. It's an excellent, and challenging, standalone point-and-click adventure game, perfectly seasoned with nostalgia to make you smile.
Posted: August 21
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20 of 26 people (77%) found this review helpful
47.8 hrs on record
Like other gamers, I am sometimes hesitant in seeing a remake of a wonderful classic especially one that stuck to me as a child. Ever since I played this game on a NES system a few decades ago, I recall all the frustration I had when going through some tedious puzzles, yet the joy when solving a problem made it more the worthwhile.

Those who have played the game will likely recall a skull ornament door at the very start of the game. Once inside, the warlock lord makes his first appearance (his eyes anyway) dismissing your quest to stop him and confidently remarks about your imminent death. Alas your journey and the puzzles start immediately. At times you attempt to methodically evaluate and make sense of a problem ahead. In other times, you may resort to trying random actions. Actions which may cause you to progress, cause your death – or even witty remarks to things you wouldn’t do in real life!

Its 2014, a remake of Shadowgate arrives. I really didn’t know what to anticipate until the game started. Unlike the previous game, this remake has three different modes with master being the most difficult. After choosing a difficulty mode, I was met with a familiar setting to the original classic. There was an air of nostalgia in the opening sequence, yet it was original and fresh - the design was fabulous. The background music was nicely adapted from the classic Shadowgate. A nice feature of the game is to switch the soundtracks to the original MIDI composition! A major difference at the start is you are met with a companion named Yorick, who not only guides you through your quest, but throws a few jokes and remarks to put you at ease in some frustrating situations. This was all before I entered the door - from here on I just knew this was going to be a master piece of a game. Boy was I right! The art work for the cut scenes later on were simply fantastic and suited well the nature of this point-and-click adventure game. The puzzles were similar to the classic though with more mind-boggling twist. They were that much better to solve. I couldn’t put the game down and even today, decades later, with the similarities from the previous game, the frustrations still arose. There are also a variety of side ‘missions’ for further achievements. With this in mind, this game is repayable, addicting and fun.

Zojoi takes the great problem solving of the original game to a whole new level.

A superb game 5/5
Posted: August 2
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21 of 31 people (68%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
I've been waiting for this remake my entire adult life. I spent many an evening with a group of friends doing speed runs of the NES version for shots, those were the times.

I'm loving what I've played thus far. The art and music presentation are top notch. I was a little on the fence about the UI based on production stills during development but it's fluid and classic. The retro options are a nice touch to give us some nostalgia.

If you've mastered any of the previous versions do yourself a favor and jump right in on the hardest difficulty. Things may seem familiar, but you'll bare witness to the Reaper far more than you thought you would.
Posted: August 21
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
7.7 hrs on record
Gameplay: Shadowgate is not reinventing any wheels here - it plays exactly like its predecessor and exactly like any other point-and-click adventure game, a set of pre-defined commands used to interact with the world and solve hella puzzles. The game deftly avoids making you actually pixel-hunt, most interactable items fairly easy to spot.

The game is an adventure of the old-school, with red herrings everywhere and huge amount of items you can grab that you will never actually use. Nearly every puzzle has good, if sometimes somewhat obtuse hints, with very little ♥♥♥-pull adventure logic. The difficulty levels are also very serious, massively simplifying things on the easiest level as compared to the hardest. You /can/, on all difficulties, screw yourself into an unwinnable position - the game will allow you to destroy necessary items (though not casually) and it's extremely possible to just run out of time (though not very likely).

The biggest flaw in the gameplay is some UI related clumsiness, as using items on the environment can get very clunky very quickly when you're experimenting on a puzzle. Items can be bound to number keys for things you use a lot, but I don't think that ended up particularly useful near the end.

Story: Shadowgate has never, on its own, had a particularly deep mythology. The Shadowgate remake drops a lot more lore on you, completely resetting the world and freely changing some very major details. It does some interesting things once you get to the end.

I did personally find it to largely suffer from being written by 50-year old men whose greatest influences are clearly in the Lord of the Rings vein, naming conventions clearly suffering from a lack of... I want to say modern creativity. It's all a bit out of date.

Art: Here's where Shadowgate really shines - which is important, since the game is little more than a series of paintings you flail at with a mouse. Shadowgate is not a colorful place, with most scenes generally only having two or three different colors at any time, and Chris Cold does an excellent job making a dreary Shadowgate that seriously looks like it wants to kill you.

Jair in particular is excellently rendered - the classic portrayal of the game's protagonist was a standard square-jawed manly hero in full armor and a beautiful head of hair. New Shadowgate portrays Jair as a man dragged out of his life and sent on a journey without ever really being allowed to understand why - his hair is long and filthy, his cloak is tattered, and his shadowed face imparts the idea that Shadowgate is destroying him even as he triumphs over it.

Perhaps most importantly, the art is /clear./ Despite everything being dirty, dull, and cracked, mostly in greys and browns, nothing looks maddeningly ambiguous. An item on the ground is clearly an item on the ground, a doorway is clearly a doorway, and if you at any point get fooled it's because the game is actively trying to fool you.

Music: I have a clear bias here - New Shadowgate's score is an orchestral treatment of the original music, the old songs appearing as almost etherial strains inside some deeply atmospheric stuff. Compared to the original, this score is much darker, much more ominous, and much more effective (which shouldn't be too difficult, considering the original was on an 8-bit system). There is an appreciated option to set the music to the classic beeply bops.

Shadowgate: Yeah, it's Shadowgate. You can die on almost every screen, you watch your torches steadily dwindle down, and the Warlock Lord pops in from time to time just to talk ♥♥♥♥. Most sadistically, the game is explicitly /not/ the previous Shadowgate. Very few puzzles are solved the same way, and the game will often directly punish you for having the unmitigated gall to underestimate it in this fashion. Much like the original, the game (on Master difficulty) is not here to be your friend. It is here to laugh at you as you stare blankly at its legitimately hard puzzles and then brutally kill you for blinking.


All told, I give the game high marks. The UI's clunkiness just takes a little getting used to, and if you enjoy adventure games that kind of slap you around, you can't get much more slappy than this. If you're a fan of the original and you haven't picked this up yet, you should absolutely do so.
Posted: August 27
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