SHORT REVIEW: PC VERSION
Sleepwalker was a great little game. Do you remember it? You had to babysit a sleeping idiot child forever walking forward into traps. It was a novel idea at the time. Ok the idea itself was great, but I didn’t really like the actual game. Frustrated the hell outta me.
Hey? What’s this Shadwen game? Just where did that come from?
Hold on, what does it want? Why is it holding a knife? Oh f-
You are a charming Irish lass called Shadwen. She’s handy with a knife and all that stuff computer game protagonists are good at. She’s on a mission to run around stabbing some poor sod up. Let’s see where this goes.
Now remember those escort missions in other games, you know the ones. You babysit an Ai character to a goal and weep and scream at the screen. Now Imagine stealth that. The game is one long stealth escort mission. Oh fu-
You sneak past guards whilst babysitting a small girl, to enable you to open doors that can only be open by two people at the same time. Who makes these doors?
So how do we do this? We’ve a grappling hook, a magic sneak button, rewinding time and a Superhot style pausing of time whilst not moving.
The magic sneak button makes you walk slower and you must use it at all times. Walking at a normal pace is pretty much a redundant action. Fucking hell, how many guards does this place have? There aren’t enough houses in town to hold them all.
Yes, when you stop moving, the world pauses, giving you time to plan things out. Quite a handy thing in a sneaky sneaky game.
In the tutorial you build a cheeky grappling hook. It’s a handy device that attaches itself to any wooden platform, which is handy as the environmental artist went copy, paste wooden platform crazy. Nice one artist. It’s an odd sensation flying through the air like Tarzan, pausing mid-air (by not moving, remember), before continuing the movement. It’s a bit hard to recover the momentum in your mind. The grappling hook isn’t a satisfying instrument, as it never seems to carry out your intentions, as you limply dangle from a platform like a piñata.
Lastly rewinding time is a handy thing. As it does encourage outlandish stunts and apathy as nothing you do really matters. Jump in front of a guard, wiggle your bits and rewind. Becomes a bit trickier to do when correcting rope swings though.
Now all of these are pretty good ideas.
The main idea, the actual idea for the whole game is a bad idea. Fucking stealth escort mission! Oh fuc-
I’m not sure how you could have fixed it but I’m pretty sure you could have started with decent Ai.
The Ai is absolutely terrible.
To get through a level you cheat the nearby guards by bothering a box. Either with your grappling hook or the old fashioned act of pushing it with your own two hands. The computer guard scum goes to investigate, in whatever direction it feels like, as the child slips past. It’s a humorous interaction to watch the Ai attempt to negotiate past itself in chaotic fashion. Just what does it think its doing, the silly sod? It’s unfair to compare Shadwen to other stealth games, but even if your hugely generous and decide not to, Shadwen is hugely limited.
Of course the little girl doesn’t need to worry about being seen, much like the Last of Us, the game would be unworkable if the terrible Ai guards could see the terrible Ai little girl.
Of course you can kill the guards, but the game warns you the child will be scarred and will change her opinion of you. So although you can kill the guards, the game makes it clear that this is very naughty. Only deep onto the game did I realise I could slaughter these bastard guards, if the little girl doesn’t see me with a bloody knife in my hand, she wont be effected. Well… thanks, I guess. Just walk past these corpses me dear, no, no, their resting. Whistle.
Strangely by that point I had gotten rather good at box bothering and leaving corpses around didn’t seem to help.
Shadwen has a Thief like medieval aesthetic, which is pleasant enough. The game looks fine, its not a great looker, but it suits the tone of the thing. Fucking brown though innit’.
I haven’t spoken of the characters or world and that’s because I cant be fucked. Why should I be bothered when the writers couldn’t. If you’ve heard a couple of guards talking in game, you’ve heard it a thousand times before.
To be completely honest I didn’t mind the story. I’d rather concentrate on swinging around on a rope, dropping boxes on idiots head and stabbing up guards for fun.
Shall we recap before dashing off for lunch? Great ideas, good attempt. Escort stealth mission? Oh fuck off.
I do quite like Shadwen. It grows on you but it is pretty bloody broken. I wish it was better. A game that shoots for the stars but misses? At least it had a bloody go of it!
Game developers Frozenbyte display great ambition and have great ideas. I’m sure they’ll come back stronger and if this endeavour is any indication of future plans, I look forward to what they do next.
Wibble, Wibble score guide Wobble.