Review: Shelter (Steam)

 

Shelter

Experience the wild as a mother badger sheltering her cubs from harm. On their journey, they will encounter predators, environmental hazards and the constant looming threat of death by starvation. Food is to be found, but is there enough for everyone?

 

This is one of those games where an in-depth review will destroy the whole thing for you. I will go over things in a simple manner without much explanation. This is a game you must experience yourself as everyone will re act differently. I will do a spoiler heavy opinion piece in another post to share my experience with the game.

 

Pros:

  • First thing you will notice and fall in the love with is the graphics. Beautiful hand drawn abstract drawings that bring the world to life. From the inhabitants to the flow of the streams. The graphics only make the experience sweeter.
  • The music is as wonderful as it is fitting. Composed by the talented Retro Family. From the smooth mellow sounds of nature to the terrifying sounds of impending doom. What they have done here is keep it simple but added a boatload of atmosphere and thought into its implementation. Simply charming to listen too.
  • Game play evolves around caring for your young cubs. You must find and hunt for food to feed them.
  • Perils will await you from environmental threats to other predators.
  • Hunting an animal feels and looks a lot like the mechanic used in Tokyo Jungle. Just minus the blood and savagery.
  • Controls are your usual WASD and mouse control. Once you are accustomed to them, It works really well.
  • The game just oozes atmosphere, from the day/night cycles to the hide and seek mechanic with the bushes and trees. The game will always have you on the edge of your seat, Always alert and ready to pounce, run or swim, Whatever it takes.
  • Night time sections offer a new type of alertness, As you try to keep your cubs safe by keeping them in your circle of light. Yep, that’s right Badgers emit a circle of light around them. If you didn’t know that then consider yourself schooled.
  • The game is split into areas which act as levels. You can save whenever you like from the menu and every time I used it I started at the beginning of the area.
  • Few graphic options, from resolution to full screen to the last one. The last one being graphic quality, Here you can select from fastest, Beautiful or the top one fantastic. Not a lot of insight into which one to choose for your setup. I recommend trying it on fantastic first then work your way down.
  • The game will give you the occasional little bubble pop up of help. It will show just a basic illustration of a new mechanic. Apart from that, the game gives you nothing. No story, no narration or even markers.
  • Despite no clear direction to take, The level design means you always know somehow where you’re going. The levels are big so you can afford to go off and have a little explore.
  • There is an alternate ending so how you play affects how it all ends.

Shelter

 

Cons:

  • With no help or direction at all at the very beginning, You can easily get annoyed and fed up. As its a new game in a relatively small genre, You just don’t know what the game expects of you. It is simple once it clicks but to be confronted with it straight away is a weird choice of execution.
  • The controls are awkward at first, As the WASD keys act more like a d-pad than a simple direction. The mouse is your camera and the wheel is for zooming in and out. Despite being in control of the camera, every now and then you will find it hard to see whats going on. A minor small gripe and mostly user error but still.
  • It is too short! I finished it on an average of 90 minutes to two hours. Yes, you can make the game last longer by going off exploring. I still wanted more.
  • If you have a fear of Badgers then this game is not for you.

Shelter

 

 

 

 

  • 9/10
    Graphics - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Accessibility - 7/10
  • 6/10
    Length - 6/10
  • 8/10
    Fun Factor - 8/10
7.6/10

Summary

In summary, This is one of the best games for provoking strong emotional ties. Looking after your cubs as you traverse areas unknown is nerve-wracking stuff. Even the most hardened gamer will fail to not be affected by the game. There is no shame in it and the game has been designed to provoke those exact feelings. I just cannot go into too much detail as it will just spoil the whole game and that would stop you going in and experiencing your own story. The whole no story or direction only helps enable you to make your own story to the game. Stop watching YouTube videos and get the game pre-ordered on Steam now and start counting down to the 29th of August. PS3 players got their emotional “hit” form Journey, This is the PC take on emotions. This is the “Journey” moment for PC gamers, You will love it.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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