Shadwen is an arcade game that aspires to be a stealth game, a puzzle game, and a tale about how the people in our life may alter our perspective of the world. The execution of these intriguing concepts is subpar.
We play the titular character, Shadwen, who must traverse the city in order to assassinate the monarch. On the journey, the assassin rescues a little girl who decides to join her. The storyline is the game’s initial challenge. When our assassin discovers that Lily has no parents, she decides to accompany her on a dangerous excursion around the city. The authors attempt to broaden the tale by enabling you to listen to a brief chat after each stage, but all interactions take place on a single, unchanging loading screen and are extremely uninteresting. The gameplay entails slipping through guard-infested stages. Simultaneously, we must direct the female across the environment, and she only travels between hiding locations while no one is watching. We can go around easily since we have a helpful rope with a hook and other devices. Taking care of her partner, on the other hand, becomes difficult.
Lily will frequently refuse to move until we find someone who is gazing in her direction, even if he is so far away that he should not notice her. Even if the guard simply looks back for a second and stares at the place she hasn’t yet reached, the small one occasionally turns back. In practice, we are continually obliged to kill or distract all adversaries. There would be nothing wrong with it if it weren’t for the fact that the entire process of dispersing adversaries was handled horribly. In most situations, we just need to locate a beam over our opponents’ heads and utilize a grappling hook to grasp one of the surrounding boxes or barrels. When they see a bouncing object, the guards frequently begin repeating the same lines of conversation and move to watch the container hanging on the rope mysteriously move. The entire method is completely safe for us since the adversaries simply do not notice the rope linked to the wood and swiftly return to the position. At times, it appears like simply killing them would be preferable. We shouldn’t, that’s the point. The authors determined that the unknowable kid would act as a moral compass. We gradually erode Lily’s innocence by removing the guards in front of her or allowing her to witness the bodies. However, it’s difficult to be concerned because both heroines’ performances are quite superficial, and the girl is frequently an impediment rather than an exciting addition. Although it is possible that FrozenByte wished to display another Ellie from The Last of Us, their version falls short of the Naughty Dog label.
Shadwen has a variety of different gadgets, in addition to the previously stated rope launcher, that allow you to confuse the guards or destroy the king’s defenders one by one. Various traps, mines, and bombs allow for pretty imaginative elimination and provide a lot of fun when we successfully draw multiple foes to one location and blow them up or drag a stack of boxes onto their heads. The fact that artificial intelligence is so terrible reduces the joy of a job well done. Two guards standing next to each other respond quite differently to the sight of a bouncing barrel: one goes out to explore the phenomena, while the other remains steady and declares loudly that he sees nothing. Hiding bodies from Lily’s view is also troublesome, since the girl has a habit of jumping out of hiding at the most inconvenient times, inflicting suffering after trauma on herself. Mistakes are expensive; adversaries might kill us instantaneously with a precise crossbow shot, so we aim for the target by trial and error. Instead of a checkpoint system, the authors enabled us to freely turn back time to get out of awkward circumstances. This was paired with a key mechanism in which time freezes when no keys are pressed. As a consequence, we have a game where we can defeat every inch of it many hundred times using different methods. However, this is not appealing in any way because we frequently have to stand immobile for several minutes and use the crouch button to learn the patrol patterns of the guards.
Shadwen’s graphics are adequate, yet we spend much of our time in gloomy environments where most of the details are obscured. The game engine is even worse, since it struggles to deal with the game’s critical physics.
The main issue with Frozenbyte’s production is not a lack of execution, but rather an abundance of ideas. The authors attempted to cram as many solutions as possible into the game, focusing on number rather than quality. It appears that without the thin emotional depth and superfluous time-stopping mechanisms, it would be more engaging. Adventure is more often than not frustrating than enjoyable.