The road is long.
Two strangers sit side by side as night falls over. The car speeds down the open highway.
Without a soul around them, everything seems to slip away. On a journey to no one knows where, all they have is words and time. And that time is dwindling fast.
The shadows are chasing.
★ ☆ ✰ Rating: 7.5/10
Learn more about The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car: Itchio
To begin, I want to say that the art is really well done within the game. It does a great job in setting up the location with how the characters are dressed and the background art of the car. The lighting and changes from day to nighttime add a depth to the adventure they seem to be going on. This depth continues with the story and character interactions.
The story takes places as the titles suggest — in a car, as Shelby and Dustin drive down a long stretch of road in what seems like an attempt to get out of town. What is going on outside of the car is hinted at from time to time, which allows the player to figure it out on their own, though how they meet and any details in between them and the beginning are shady at best. During their time together, Shelby and Dustin talk about whatever comes to mind, though they do hit on sensitive subjects here and there, such as Shelby’s father and what Dustin has been doing prior to this. The depending on the perspective that the player chooses, it changes how they view the second person in the car and gives a bit more detail to what they are thinking while having these conversations. There are 6 stories for each character, also depending on the choices made, and while they might be a vague — they let the player’s imagination run wild with the consequences of the upcoming end with a “complete” stranger.
I want to say that the writing of the story does a great job in moving from light-hearted to serious moments. Dustin and Shelby can go from making fun of the his music taste to discussing how Shelby has to deal with her father after the apocalypse began. They take the time to reflect on what has happened to them and how they got into this situation, but they keep moving forward though they aren’t really sure where they will end up. It might get very heavy quickly, but it is endearing to see that they connect so quickly in certain subjects that they talk about. However, there is still something missing between them that doesn’t seem to allow them to be completely truthful with each other, which leads to the neutral and bad endings. There is a lot of vagueness when it comes to both their backgrounds (more so on Dustin’s side), how they meet, what exactly is going on, and how it might all end. It lets the player’s imagination run wild and lets them come up with their own stories of what is going on, which might either leave a player feeling unsatisfied or pull them more into the potential lore.
The theme of the story seems to be keep moving forward, as shown with Dustin and Shelby’s discussion towards the end of the game and their own survivalist instinct to keep moving forward, regardless of what they have lost along the way and not knowing what will be waiting from them at the end of the road.
This is might be a quick playthrough, but it has a lot of depth and things to think about in regards to one’s own humanity. So, consider checking it out!