"Lost in Shadow" gives us glimpses of a great idea, like shadows cast upon the wall of a cave, but doesn't live up to its ideal form. The game begins with a cross between Darth Vader and the Man in the Iron Mask severing a boy from his shadow, and tossing the shadow off the top of an enormous tower. The shadow picks itself up to ascend the tower and rejoin its body, but finds something peculiar: As a shadow, it can't walk on hard objects -- only their shadows. That's right, kids -- the action of "Lost in Shadow" takes place not in the foreground, but on the shadows the foreground casts on the background

It's a cool idea, but wait -- is it, really? In the raft of graphical-gimmick games coming out lately, there are those whose graphics go beyond style to play a key role in how the game is actually played -- think "Kirby's Epic Yarn." Then there are games like "Lost in Shadow," which play exactly like the games they would be without the smoke and mirrors. And the game that "Lost in Shadow" is is a run-of-the mill platform puzzler that has you run, jump and pull levers to open doors.

Every time you realize this, the game rekindles your interest by adding a new element, like the ability to change the light source so shadows are closer together or farther apart to meet your jumping-over-gap needs. Oddly enough, you change the light source by moving an on-screen slider rather than by using the Wii Remote as a flashlight, as plenty of other games have. Things like this make "Lost in Shadow" seem less like the Wii exclusive it is and more like a port of a PC game, or a low-end WiiWare game that has the price of a retail release.

'Lost in Shadow'
» System: Wii
» Price: $39.99
» Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

If "Lost in Shadow" has anything going for it, it's the tone. From the music to the bleak guidepost messages that are ostensibly about your character's predicament but seem more like meditations on the futility of existence, the game has a distinct "Ecco the Dolphin" vibe. If only it were as interesting to play.