What Do We Have Here?
One point I just have to mention right at the outset is that this experience is about seven minutes long, six minutes fifty seconds to be exact (that’s the length of this demo video you ‘play’ through). It’s a single, nonsensical demo from the ‘demoscene’ (see scene.org) that you basically float through, using your controller and primarily the Sixaxis tilt functions thereof, to perform certain actions at subtly cued points.
You can pause the playback of the demo by pressing X, and rewind and fast forward with L2 and R2 when it’s paused. There are a few points whereby you must do the proper action with your controller to advance to the next segment, and if you fail to do so the game will rewind you back a minute or so to give you another chance, so actual play through time the first time may be more on the order of fifteen minutes. I didn’t think the demo made any real sense, and I sure didn’t see any obvious enough signs as to what control action the experience was wanting. Fortunately, you can see what you’re supposed to do just by stepping through the video while it’s paused and taking note of the icons that appear in this paused interface. Even several of these, however, don’t make a lot of sense; it’s really frustrating when a program tries to explain a 3D motion with a 2D picture. Furthermore, if you ask me, using Sixaxis gestures for controls is still a very uncertain and always too random/flaky proposition, similar to most Wii controls in Wii games.
I think what could have helped my enjoyment of Linger In Shadows more than anything, besides more content, is just a tutorial. Sure it’s a different experience and I can appreciate that (or I’m trying to anyway), and I know there is the risk of spoilers or whatever, but some kind of tutorial or ‘how to play’ document in the “game” would have been appreciated. Unfortunately your options are as few as the experience is short. Besides playing through this seven minute demo, you can also select Watch from the main menu to just sit back and watch it be played through, which you might do once for the heck of it. Otherwise, the only reason to come back is to seek out some more Trophies, which involve using X to pause the video and triangle to loosen up the camera a little bit, so that you can tilt your controller and look around. Oddly enough, you’re basically looking for ‘greets,’ a term used in the demoscene to describe the demo creator’s way of saying ‘hello’ to other sceners. On my first play through, I managed to get 52% of the Trophies, five or six total, but it’s entirely possible to get all 100% the first time through if you take your time.
Visually, Linger In Shadows looks decent enough, but it’s not captivating or outstanding. It plays out a lot like weird dream and looks like something out of a benchmark utility, it is just a (tech/art) demo after all. I found the instrumental soundtrack to be more impressive than the graphics, but it all ends so quickly that you’ll be at the credits before you know it anyway. It’s a shame there aren’t more “demos” included or some kind of interesting variation to make the purchase a little more justifiable.