From a first glance, Shadwen should be pretty great. Everything seems to look good and gives the impression that this game is totally finished. Then you make it past the first area and you quickly realize that Frozenbyte hasn't learned anything from their Trine 3 experience. Shadwen could be a promising game. There's a lot of potential with time manipulation, and if they could fix the AI this might even be worth a playthrough. But as it presently stands, I can't recommend this game.
Shadwen is a decent game at best and mediocre at worst. While not bad, it fails to build upon the mechanics it presents. What you do in the third chapter is largely the same as the final chapter: grappling to higher platforms, killing guards, and moving crates to help Lily move forward. Nothing new is presented, and what is already there is never combined in clever ways. About midway through a new enemy type is introduced, one that can only be killed by falling crates or air kills, but even that fails to introduce a significant change to the pace of gameplay. I really like its solution to failing midway through a level, but even that mechanic can’t save an otherwise okay game.
Honestly, Shadwen feels like it needed more time in development, both to work on its core ideas and bring them to fruition. The bland environments, the lack of an interesting plot, the technical issues, and the various gimmicks makes Shadwen a poor stealth and assassination game. At the very least, it tries to do something a little bit different, but simply doesn’t pull it off.
Shadwen is value-packed game that has a few hours of content in a more than reasonably priced package. The mechanics of rope swinging, grappling and zipping up, as well as chaining together the perfect kills while never being discovered or rarely touching the ground are entirely rewarding.
Shadwen makes a lot of smart decisions, and I’ll definitely miss its rewind system in other stealth games, but it never fully comes together as a whole. There’s just not enough enemy variety, and the 15-level campaign grows tiresome as the end nears. Throw in one of the most anticlimactic endings in recent memory, and a lot of the initial goodwill is used up. While far from perfect, there’s still enough ambition here for stealth fans to appreciate, but Shadwen isn’t Agent 47.
The few times the game opens up to let the player make use of their high level of mobility are incredibly memorable, and the world building makes it feel like we’re only scratching the surface of this world. That’s not enough to make me recommend it, of course, but they do make Shadwen’s shortcomings all the more painful.
Shadwen is a competent and somewhat enjoyable stealth game, but not exactly memorable. While the core experience and some of its mechanics, such as the time manipulation mechanics, are quite well done, the game suffers from a general lack of polish, an average last-gen presentation and a rather limited amount of content. When Shadwen works, however, it works well, so Frozenbyte definitely has a good starting point for a potential sequel.
Shadwen has a lot of dings and dents – a superfluous crafting and loot system, unreliable physics, poor AI, and a fairly one-note aesthetic, and a brief campaign – but it manages to entertain nonetheless with its devil-may-care approach to puzzle solving and a heroine who’s actually a rather horrible, stabby bastard.
Shadwen presents great concepts and ideas for a stealth game, and the few moments where it all works out are satisfying, but I just do not understand why Frozenbyte launched the game in this state. From the refinement of the gameplay to the story, everything feels half-assed and not like a finalized product. In the current state, I cannot recommend this game.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
I definitely enjoyed playing Shadwen as it took a genre of gaming I find mostly boring and made it strategic
Lots of interestingly odd ideas but although the basic stealth action more or less works the escort element and poor AI ruins a potentially promising premise.
The real essence of Shadwen‘s overall delivery — and as a result the enticement to keep playing — is how tactically-focused the stealth is.
After all is said and done, I enjoyed my time with Shadwen.
Coming from the developers of Trine I expected a little more quality from Shadwen, the uninteresting environments echo the bland characters and gameplay that evolves too slowly. A level editor and mod support will give it some longevity and you might find some enjoyment from making a purely non-violent run through the game. But even the extra items couldn’t spice it up enough for me to find Shadwen anything other than a passing curio.
If only there were a Lily following the developers around, Frozenbyte might’ve been guilt-tripped into giving Shadwen the polish it needed.
Shadwen is a unique approach to stealth games that is rewarding once you take the time to understand how it all works together.
Shadwen is a stealth-action game in which there's no action and the stealth is completely undermined by counter-productive design choices that defy logic or reason. The whole package suffers from a distinct lack of polish and is chock full of half-baked ideas and badly implemented mechanics. It's a Frankenstein's monster of a game stitched together from the dead bits of other, better games, but ultimately it possesses the heart and soul of none of them. There's no reason to recommend Shadwen to anybody other than prospective game developers looking for a lesson in what not to do.
There’s no option to dodge or avoid the enemy… You can, however, rewind time and try again – an amazing feature that should be in more stealth games