Tandem: A Tales of Shadows is an original puzzle platformer game featuring around 45 levels where players will have to alternate between two characters: Emma (top-down view) and Fenton (side view). Players will have to solve puzzles by using Emma and Fenton’s unique abilities and perspectives. Together they’ll face a variety of obstacles and enemies such as bosses that stand in their way.
The unique thing about our game is a feature of two controllable protagonists. We thought that controlling two characters, each with their own personality and characteristics, is a fun, creative exercise for the player. It’s satisfying, especially as players enter later stages. We designed the game with Sherlock Holmes and Watson in mind. They rely on each other to solve investigations.
We were fascinated by the late 19th century, which was one of the most creative and innovative periods in history. We thought the Victorian period was appropriate for our game, but we didn’t want to include steampunk elements. Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is not a historical game, but we tried to faithfully recreate every detail. We also fully assume the casual side of the game which often provokes the wonder of childhood but with a strong Burtonian influence! As its name implies, the game’s art direction plays a lot with the chiaroscuro (the importance of lights and shadows), so we also drew inspiration from the golden age of Dutch paintings.
The strategy between the two characters is in two dimensions.
The player controls Emma in a top-down view — and thanks to her lantern, it lights the scene and forecasts shadows. When it comes to Fenton, the player controls him on a side-scroller view and has the power to walk on the shadows projected by his friend’s Emma lantern.
In the first universe, the shadows on which Fenton can walk are mainly generated by scene assets and simple objects that Emma can move. As the player discovers the different universes, new shadow mechanics will be proposed. Emma operates a system of transparent pipes with valves and branches in order to cast shadows.
Emma attracts enemies with a bait to eat each other and grow up to cast shadows large enough to allow Fenton to walk.
Controlling two characters who each have their own personality and characteristics is very enjoyable and creative for the player. The further you advance in the game, the more pronounced the collaborative aspect between the two characters becomes and contributes to the progressive enrichment of the experience. It is also a reference to Sherlock Holmes and Watson: one needs the other to solve their cases.
We hope you enjoy discovering our work on Tandem: A Tale of Shadows which will be available this fall on October 21 on PlayStation 4.