Towaga: Among Shadows is one of the latest arcade shooters to make the move from mobile gaming to Steam, blending some intense gameplay with a thoughtful upgrade system between rounds. There is a story buried in the mix but it is mostly forgettable despite having to watch a cutscene before even reaching the main menu. You’ll return to this menu between chapters where you can upgrade your weapons and magic or maybe check out a new game mode or see where you stand on the leaderboards.
Towaga mixes two style of traditional shooting,; the first where your character must defend a stationary position against wave after wave of attacking enemies using a combination of weapons and rechargeable magic attacks, and then once ascended you lose your magic in favor of mobility, whereupon the game turns into a typical twin-stick shooter where you navigate a panning screen avoiding contact with enemies and their projectiles while unleashing your own customizable brand of fury.
While the gameplay is rather simplistic it does engage the gamer through customization and upgrades so you can stay competitive in the later levels. The game defaults to “Challenging” for its difficulty and I recommend you stick with that as Normal is way too easy. The game is fairly brutal on your right analog stick so make sure your controller is in good condition. For added fun and challenge you can even bring a second player into the game either locally or through Steam’s Remote Play Together.
Towaga: Among Shadows might lack substance when it comes to gameplay but it looks nothing short of spectacular when it comes to art, animation, and overall presentation. I was instantly reminded of Don Bluth and the older Disney animations with the rich color pallets and the smooth hand drawn movement of some unforgettable character designs. The flashy effects for your weapon and the bombastic magical attacks are epic and never get old and the beautiful painted backgrounds look like background scenery from classic animated movies. I would love to see this art style used for a game with more depth than a simple shooter.
With 70+ levels and four game modes you’ll have plenty of opportunities to marvel at the stunning landscapes and delightful beasties as you power up to fight Metnal the Voidmonger and his Legion of Darkness. Progression through the story will unlock various artifacts that will slowly reveal the mysterious past of the Az’Kalar. The multiplayer, stats and leaderboards add to that competitive urge to keep you playing long after the story is over, and best of all, the game has fairly modest system requirements so it plays and looks amazing on a wide variety of systems.
There’s not much more to be said. Towaga: Among Shadows is simple and intuitive when it comes to gameplay yet deceptively challenging when it comes to upgrades and finding that perfect balance of weapons and magic to battle your way through progressively challenging levels. You should have no trouble finding $15 worth of fun with this gorgeous and addicting shooter.