Top Critic Average
This is definitely a game. What do I mean by that? Well, this isn’t a “cinematic experience” a lot of games are going for these days. This feels like a game when you play it, not like you’re playing through a movie with gameplay mechanics tossed in. There’s a lot to like here, from the gameplay to the ideas presented, they just all aren’t executed extremely well at the end of the day.
I had fun with the game for my Shadwen review. The graphics are great and other than a few instances when I had a hard time doing a couple of sections with either stealth or kills, I can definitely recommend this release. The time stop/rewind mechanic changes the way you’ll approach this stealth/action game. It is interesting to see Frozenbyte work on a new IP, and I can’t wait to see what the studio does next.
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 indeed sets the bar fairly high for stealth based games with its unique approach on real-time/turn-based gameplay. It lacks content and deserves more well thought out alternative gameplay moments, but overall we are talking about a fine game here which wears its heart on its sleeve. If you're looking for a stealth based adventure to keep you hooked for a few evenings entertainment then go grab Shadwen, you’ll (probably) not be disappointed.
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.
Strangely compelling in spite of its shortcomings, Shadwen is an unusual stealth game with a head full of ideas that never quite get the support they need to bear fruit. Worth a try.
Shadwen has a novel idea behind it, but doesn't quite live up to its promise. Dodgy AI and mechanics make this game a bit of a chore to play, especially once you figure out the optimal path that can be applied to each level.
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.
At the end of the day, Shadwen is merely a passable effort, which is quite surprising considering Frozenbyte are the minds behind the immensely enjoyable Trine games. Although the central gameplay conceit is interesting enough, it’s unfortunately never fully realised and the myriad of glitches and AI issues hamper what, with a little more polish, could have been an enjoyable stealth/action romp.
Shadwen is the kind of game that has the recipe to succeed. The use of time manipulation in a stealth game may make this a title that's intended for those just coming into the genre, but the approach is interesting enough to warrant a look. Bland level design and presentation along with a poor AI system for the guards makes the experience too rudimentary, and the lack of enemy variety can make things feel repetitive rather quickly. Ultimately, Shadwen has potential — but not in this incarnation.
The quality and your enjoyment of the game varies greatly during its running time, as Shadwen occasionally offers moments of gameplay brilliance while most of the time it just falls flat. If you do manage to endure it, you do get rewarded, but it is too high of a demand when playing the game feels more like a chore.
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.
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.
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.
Shadwen makes no bones about copying from other games. However, with the lack of compelling story-telling and gameplay, it fails to even accommodate interesting mechanics that other games handle better.
The game’s a bit of a mess, with baffling AI at times (especially from your partner, who loves getting herself in trouble), and the freeze time mechanic having the habit of failing in the heat of something significant going on.
Shadwen's first few levels will surely give some amount of fun to those who like this type of games, and the fact that the main character has to keep a little girl out of sight will, initially, feel like quite the exciting concept. Unfortunately, gameplay-wise this is quite a flawed product, with its main problem being the fact that it requires doing the exact same thing for more than 10, almost identical, levels.
Shadwen tries too hard to be more interesting by adding in more gimmicks, but because of how they didn’t really work well together to make a cohesive stealth experience, and are mired with how badly they were implemented, the game itself just ends up feeling like an incoherent mess. The game has potential, but it fails to live up to any of the features it tries to advertise. So many other games do it’s individual gimmicks better so you’re better off playing them since Shadwen does not do a very good job of combining said gimmicks together.
Shadwen boasts some cool mechanics and can even be entertaining at times, but it never truly feels like a cohesively good game as a whole. The repetitiveness of the levels, clunky physics and sub par story only hinder what could have been a great entry into the stealth genre.
Shadwen, unfortunately, has proved to be a messy bunch of ideas, unable to involve the player in its narrative context, which could be interesting, but has been developed too superficially. Same goes for the gameplay mechanics, made of concepts taken from other games and put together almost with no consistency.
Review in Italian | Read full review
In the end, Shadwen is a game that I so badly wanted to love but even with all its quirks and interesting mechanics, I couldn’t get past its bland levels, disappointing story and odd gameplay hiccups. A shame, really, as it could’ve been something special. Instead it’s nothing more than average, at best. The interesting gameplay mechanics found in Shadwen do little to hide the fact that the game is pretty boring and has a story that hardly amounts to anything.
A mediocre third-person stealth effort revolving around a singular gimmick that is both intriguing and also damning to its ambitions, Shadwen is nowhere near the lofty standard that we would expect from the house that Trine built.
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.
For some hardcore stealth fans, Shadwen’s gameplay might be the kick they need to enjoy the genre’s true constraints once again. But to anyone else, it’s losses weigh more than the high points. There’s substance, but no flavor, scope, but no size. To everyone else, the game will likely feel like a case of lost ambition.
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
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.
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.
Overall, I think Shadwen could be a good game, but for whatever reason I was unable to play it as the developer intended. Other reviewers don’t seem to have encountered the same issue as I had, so perhaps it’s just a one-off. Consider perusing other reviews before making a purchase decision, reader, as I am going to have to give Shadwen a low score. Ultimately, I found it to be unplayable.
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.