Shadwen begins with promise, but has neither the depth nor the variety needed to fulfill it.
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 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.
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.
A disappointing stealth title that could have been so much more, giving you little more than a few hours of enjoyment before everything begins to grate on you.
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 not a bad game, but it is completely in the middle of the road for me.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The real essence of Shadwen‘s overall delivery — and as a result the enticement to keep playing — is how tactically-focused the stealth is.