Top Critic Average
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 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.
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'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.
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 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 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.
With other great indie titles out there, gamers are not missing out on anything with this one.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shadwen begins with promise, but has neither the depth nor the variety needed to fulfill it.
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 is not a bad game, but it is completely in the middle of the road for me.
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 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