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Thread: Shadwen - Stealth game from Frozenbyte

  1. #1
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland

    Shadwen - Stealth game from Frozenbyte

    I came across this today.
    A third-person stealth game about an assassin who is being followed by a little girl, and who is therefore unsure if she wants to kill anyone while being watched by an innocent girl.
    Sounds like a kind of odd concept (how is the girl so stealthy anyway?), but I did love Frozenbyte's Trine series, and more stealth games with fully-nonviolent options can't be a bad thing.

    The graphics look rather primitive (or, more precisely, like they weren't designed to be seen this close up), but I guess it is only an early trailer from a small studio.
    Last edited by Nameless Voice; 23rd Feb 2016 at 10:26.

  2. #2
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Ooooh, how come I haven't heard about this before now? It does look a bit rough, but Frozenbyte knows their stuff. Looking forward to it.

  3. #3
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: I think I've been here
    That looks really cool.

  4. #4
    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    There's apparently a Demo on GOG right now (and probably other places):

  5. #5
    Registered: Feb 2007
    Location: Sevastapol Station
    Frozenbyte did Shadowgrounds right? I remember enjoying those in co-op quite a bit.

  6. #6
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Yes, they did.
    I never got around to playing them, though.

  7. #7
    Registered: Feb 2007
    Location: Sevastapol Station
    They were basically Alien Breed.

  8. #8
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Just played the demo, on Steam. A bit wonky, but fun. To anyone who's played Trine as Zoya the controls and movement will feel very familiar. I always said each of the Trine characters has solid enough gameplay that they could support their own spin-off game, and this is kinda that. The game I was most reminded of while playing this isn't Trine tho, but Ronin. The combination of realtime gameplay with a lot of pausing and planning made it feel very similar.

  9. #9
    ...and it's out:

    First I've seen of it, myself, but that certainly looks nifty.

    I enjoyed the Shadowgrounds games and Trine, so count me interested.

  10. #10
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    So, I played this through to completion recently.

    Overall, the game looks very nice and has some interesting concepts, but somehow feels rather lacking.

    The challenge of the game isn't really sneaking around yourself, which is usually very easy (because of your grappling hook and guards rarely looking up) - instead, you need to get Lily (the small girl) to the end of each level, so the main gameplay is to distract the guards to clear a path for her. Each level is littered with lots of large shrubs and haystacks which she can hide in, so the goal becomes to clear a path between each hiding place, one at a time, to let her progress through the level.
    Each level is also filled with various wooden things (crates, barrels, wagons, cranes, etc.), which you can move around or knock over with your grappling hook (or by pushing them in person), and the noise and movement causes guards to investigate.

    The time in the game only flows when you are either moving, or holding down one of the crouch, run or "advance time" keys, which is kind of interesting but tended to make my hand hurt from holding crouch for all of my play sessions. I didn't really use it much other than occasionally for turning the camera for my next grappling hook shot while in mid-air. As I said, an interesting concept, but I'm not sure it did that much for the game.

    You are also able to freely rewind time as you see fit. This means that you can just rewind as much as you need if you ever got seen - though being seen is pretty much instant death anyway, since all the guards have crossbows and are very quick to shoot them. Again, that means that the actual sneaking isn't that much of a challenge - it's all about getting Lily to the end of the level.

    Still, I found the gameplay rather repetitive since all you do in each area is basically grapple objects around until the guards look away from the path long enough for Lily to cross. They will never actually attack Lily, or even appear to see her, though she will immediately rush back to her previous hiding place if she gets spotted. The fact that the guards completely ignore her makes it seem more like a self-imposed challenge on her part rather than her actually having any reason to sneak about.

    You can choose to either sneak through the entire game (as I did), or alternatively you can murder everyone instead. You're meant to get different endings based on whether you let Lily realise you are a killer or not, plus what you choose to do on the last level, giving four endings total. I only played through to one of them.

    You can also find "loot" and craft the parts you find into various gadgets, but I almost never used any of them. Most were lethal, so I didn't want to use them, and the ones that weren't were mostly just not needed to progress.

    The city that you are sneaking through is nicely designed, it looks great and has a lot of nice vertical areas (lots of beams, rafters and ledges that you can climb onto to overlook an area)

    There are a lot of guards having conversations, supplying some of the backstory and fleshing out the setting, though the story is fairly thin on the ground, and I must admit that I finished the whole game without even really knowing why Shadwen was doing this.
    I actually only figured things out after finishing the game, by reading about it in the Wikipedia article. I'm not even sure where you're meant to have learned it from.
    Minor spoilers: A lot of the guards talk about the king having burned down the forest to drive out the "dark spirits" that were living there. Turns out, Shadwen lives there. The king hired her to kill the previous king, which she did, but he never paid her, and burned her forest down instead, hoping to kill her. Now she wants revenge... and payment.

  11. #11
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Thanks for the reminder NV. Shadwen was 75% off on Steam a few days after your post, so I didn't hesitate to grab it for a fiver.

    I pretty much agree with everything that you said about the game. Shadwen looks rather nice, has some fresh ideas, and feels somehow unique... but there's something missing. Perhaps there could be some more options for distracting the guards, as the game does get quite repetitive very soon indeed. The story could have been a bit more interesting too. I really wish that there had been more secrets to find and more places to explore as well.

    But don't get wrong, Shadwen is still a pretty fun little game though! I don't get to play games that much these days, but during the last 2-3 weeks I played Shadwen to completion twice and saw all the four different endings. My first play through was a stealthy and non-lethal one, and compared to my mass-murdering psychopath approach on my second play through, the stealthy approach was definitely more fun. Of course you don't have to choose between the two extremes (unless you care about Steam achievements), so if you don't mind killing guards every now and then, that's probably the most fun way to play the game. The "kill everyone" style actually felt really fun at first, but I soon discovered that it's really easy. The gadgets (mines, arrow traps, noisemaker thingys) that you can craft seemed fun but I didn't use them much. It was still nice to experiment with them though. Attaching an explosive onto a wagon and pushing the wagon down a hill towards an unsuspecting group of guards was my favourite moment in the game.

    So if you're looking for a decent stealth action game, then you might want to give Shadwen a go.

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