Shapes of Gray by Secret Tunnel Entertainment is, as the name implies, about various shapes that are different shades of gray but not as many as you are probably thinking. The one shape you will control is a small octagon like blob that can swing a sword. You will battle other shapes that start out as small and simple but as you progress you will encounter a mix of larger or faster shapes. Each level will take place inside of a small circular arena and will only last about ten seconds meaning you will have to act fast or suffer a game over.
From the moment you start Shapes of Gray the simple design and color choice will be very deceiving for how challenging this game really is. As I said earlier your blob like character is equipped with a sword. Swinging the sword works in a very similar way to when Link would swing his sword in some of the older Legend of Zelda games but you will probably get hit more as the range and timing is different. It took me a few minutes to adjust to how short the attack range was with sword as you will have to almost touch enemies before you can hit them.
Since you will get hit a lot I should mention you can only get hit three times before you are sent back to a checkpoint. Checkpoints are common in a lot of games but in Shapes of Gray you will be sent back enough to feel the need to rage quit. I played the game for about half an hour before putting it to the side for a few minutes but quickly returned and beat the game, or rather I thought I did. The first part of the game is challenging enough with enemies that quickly chase after you but once you unlock the other half of the game you are greeted with new enemy shapes complete with new abilities. A common enemy in the first half of the game constantly chases after you but in the second half that enemy is replaced with a similar shape that will also give chase but it will move away when you try to attack. While each half of the game is a fun and challenging it should be noted that both parts can be beaten rather quickly. If you unlocked arcade mode you can see achievements for beating each half of the game in under four minutes but that is without boss fights yet just as challenging as normal mode.
I did have one major problem with this game’s frame rate on the Wii U. When at least two large enemies and one of the small to medium shaped enemies appear on the screen at the same time there will be a noticeable drop in the frame rate. While this isn’t game breaking in anyway, there are a couple of levels where you have at least three to nine of the largest enemy types on the screen at one time and the game will feel like a slide show for a few seconds.
Although Shapes of Gray is short I managed to easily put about two or three hours into it. The use of simple shapes and a grey scale color palette really help this game stand out. I really enjoyed the challenge it presents although it could be enough to push people to rage quit. The entire game can easily be played on the Wii U Gamepad and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a game that is fun and challenging yet quick enough to help pass some time.