Shadow’s Call is like those little sample scoops of ice cream you get at Baskin-Robbins or Cold Stone Creamery. It’s just a taste of what you want, but in the case of Shadow’s Call, you have to pay for the privilege. Shadow’s Call is little more than a paid demo for what could someday be a great adventure story.
Shadow’s Call is an adventure game snippet that introduces an attractive and witty main character, Arielle Corvus. Arielle runs a used bookstore but also moonlights as a paranormal investigator. One night, she’s visited by a ghost under the influence of a “binding spell”.
Dressed to find a killer.
Once you free the ghost, you find that there’s a terrible evil approaching, and it’s related to the murder of a college student at nearby Bridgeport University. Right after you arrive at the college, and are turned away by the police at a blockade, the game ends abruptly with a teaser for the next episodes.
Shadow’s Call slams on the brakes of this murder mystery before you even get to the scene of the crime, and that’s a shame. For 20 minutes or so, you’ll be swept up in the beautiful environments, with interesting and well-drawn characters. Even the user interface is creative, with a ragdoll representing your ability to look at objects, use them, and walk around the world.
It’s a Raggedy Arielle doll!
This adventure game is so short that it only contains one, terrible puzzle. To free the ghost from her binding spell, you must first identify the electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) around your apartment and mark them with chalk. Nothing seemed to work when we moved around our EMF device using the touchscreen, but eventually chalk marks appeared at random. If there are more puzzles in future episodes, we hope they’re designed and executed a lot better.
The other adventure game elements don’t get any more attention. You’ll only engage in two conversations and walk through one complete environment before the end of the episode. The near-total lack of content in this episode is a deal-breaker.
Though it ends far too soon, there’s still hope for Shadow’s Call. We’re told the next episode will arrive as a free update in about two months, and we can’t wait to find out what happens next in the story. But we’d greatly prefer for this game, as it stands now, to be a free download instead of a paid demo.
There are some incredible, self-contained episodic adventures on the iPhone like Hector: Badge of Carnage and Scarlett and the Spark of Life. But we can’t recommend our readers pay even a dollar for what is essentially a demo at this point. Avoid it for now, and wait for the next big update.