Trail of Shadows is the third in the fantastic point-click adventure series from Big Fish but however this time we're dealing with a prequel; as told through Franklin telling Iris (just before the events of the Painted Tower) a bed time story. So in turn we are dealing with a new story but with some very familiar concepts and some very familiar fa...oh can't give it away.
Storywise and gameplay wise, Trail of Shadows provides a new story and another child artist, with a special gift of bringing paintings to life, you have to rescue from dark forces (who could be/ suggesting is the raven wizard employed to the previous two game's evil king) however because it is a prequel it explains how the world/ concepts of the previous two titles are even possible. The flow of gameplay felt very smooth with the new fake-3D POV taking some getting used to. In addition, in sharp contrast with the other two in the series, you don't get to enter multiple painted worlds. Instead right at the beginning you have to escape a burning city by entering a single painting and this world is where the game exclusively takes place. Since you are in this painted world exclusively, doing things like painting a canvas will affect an object nearby or using a drawn objects on paper opens the way....sound familiar. In addition instead of trying to aid someone to deliver the final blow, you have to be the one that makes the final blow.
The player also has a pop- up storybook (like the pop-up books in Drawn 2) as a guide and interestingly "the story" in the book is actually the story played out now because pages only get added/revealed as you ventured deeper into the world. You must solve puzzles in book to reveal objects you need in the painted world or in a surreal twist you have to read the text of your own "story" to know how to progress.
Artistic wise, because you are exclusively wandering around a massive, multi-layered painted world (perhaps suggesting the artist you are trying to rescue is slightly more experienced then Iris in this field) all the scenes are still "hand painted" with rich colour and imagination, and to further invite the player into the world, the player is looking out from a pseudo-3D point of view. CGI effects is also used extensively in the final battle. The lands of this world include the boy's cottage (recalling the peace of the farmlands in the scarecrow's painting in Painted Tower), a garden of talking topiary animals, and inside the giant itself where the inspiration/feel is a combination of South-East Asian temples and the Greek underworld. One of the figures you meet here is Charon the Ferryman. If you have the collector's edition of the game...you get the calligrapher's (who you have met before in Drawn 2) cave as a bonus scene.
In conclusion, Trail of Shadows is a very good addition to the series despite its status as a prequel however because it is a prequel some story elements of the previous two gets explained more especially with the role of one particular character.
Here's the trailer...