Thursday, October 31, 2013

PC Spotlight #40: Shelter

Title: Shelter
Developer: Might and Delight
Platforms: PC, Mac
Price: $9.99
We've been protectors, guardians, escorts in myriad games. But a mother, watching over and guiding here young? Shelter casts you as a mother badger leading her young cubs through the dangers of a artistically stylized forest.
You begin in the dank dirt and root of your burrow, five young cubs to lead. The controls are simple: WASD to move, shift to run, control to sneak, left mouse to interact. Beyond the safety of your burrow is a world where a hawk can snatch your precious young with its talons. You'll traverse narrow mountain paths, a rushing river, and more. Throughout your journey, you'll need to catch food for your cubs to eat, either by collecting vegetation or catching small animals such as frogs. The game isn't open world, rather a series of slightly open paths through a new scenario. You may have to guide your cubs through the dead of night or hide from the watchful gaze of a hawk, but the journey is always the same. However, you can finish the game with all your cubs, or even none; it's up to you to keep them safe
Shelter's strongest feature is its art style. The world just pops with color and movement and the angular art style even makes a raging forest fire a thing of beauty. The moments of seeing the forest extend to the horizon, or finding a waterfall, or witnessing the orange hues of newly risen sun are greatly enhanced thanks to the game's unique visuals. However, the unique premise and graphics can only carry the game so far. In my opinion, I felt the game had so much potential to explore the notion of leading and guiding your cubs in this dangerous world and yet the greatest extent of this is digging up food to nourish them or leading them to safety from that persistent hawk. The gameplay never attains any depth or evolves as you progress. I completed the game in under two hours and felt that Shelter could have achieved so much more in its portrayal of a mother's guidance and protection in a cruel and savage world.
Shelter is a visual treat, a world brought to life with its wonderful art style, but also a short experience that lacks depth. You can purchase Shelter from the developer's site or Steam.

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