Obligatory header to the review: I focus on four primary areas whenever I review a game: gameplay, story, graphics, and sound/audio/general things that go into your earholes. Gameplay and Story get a rating scale from 1 to 10, and the AV stuff gets a rating from 1 to 5. My philosophy on this is that there are some instances in which a game may not necessarily have that much in the way of gameplay (take Amnesia for example), but the story/atmosphere/whatever it may be is reason enough to pick it up. Also, take the cumulative score with a grain of salt; it's just a numerical feeling about the game as a whole. That's part of why I do these subscores. Also, keep in mind that I'm not going off of school grade based rankings. A 5/10 denotes what I feel to be an average game. Likewise, 7/10 is a game that I think is pretty cool, and something that gets a 2/10 is near-abomination level. Pinning scores to an even further obfuscated rating scale is kinda senseless, but for the sake of my backloggery, I'll repeat again that 1.0-2.7 is a one-star game, 3.0-4.7 is a two-star game, 5.0-6.7, 7.0-8.7, and 9.0-10 are three, four, and five stars, respectively.
Gameplay: Actually, let's not talk about the gameplay right off the bat. Let's be honest; the only reason why you're looking at this game is because of the title, so let's spend a paragraph talking about the title. Let's take it apart bit by bit. First is the usage of Hamlet. This story really has nothing at all to do with Hamlet, so that's already misleading. "Without MMORPG features" is a vague statement; Volgarr the Viking doesn't have MMORPG features, and you don't hear that game touting it in the title. As for shaders... what's so bad about shaders? They make things look good. You can't tell me that even a game like Minecraft looks better without shaders. Product placement is... well, okay, there isn't any in this game. Again, is that worth bragging about? The whole title screams of pandering to a crowd of jaded cynics. Again, this isn't really relevant to the gameplay, but it's something that I felt needed to be talked about before we go into the game itself.
Looking at the Steam store description for this game, a key feature is that the game is "in the best traditions of classic adventure games." That throws some red flags for me, as I've always felt that "old-school" point-and-click adventures were not a game design choice to aspire to; rather, an unfortunate consequence of the system limitations of the time. The key features continue to describe this game as containing 25 levels (five puzzles per Act; five acts, so that's not a lie), boss battles (yes, they're there) and logic puzzles.
Logic puzzles, eh? Where's Waldo is a logic puzzle? No, I'm not joking; there's a Where's Waldo level. There's also a level where if you don't memorize an exact path through a waypoint in the second or two it's displayed, it becomes a guessing game. There's also a simalcrum of Simon Says if you painted the buttons to the game beige and had to either memorize or write down the position's respective colors. There's also a fair few action sequences in the game, which are truly the low points of this game. In fact, there were a few instances in which I had the right solution to an area, but didn't do it fast enough the first time before the game wrenched control away from me, so I then assumed that solution was incorrect. It is worth noting that not all puzzles in this game are awful; there's a few pretty clever ones (a few personal favorites being 1-3, 2-1, and 3-2), but the ratio of clever puzzles to not-clever-puzzles/not-puzzles/action-sequences is too high to recommend this game for gameplay. 4/10.
Story: As mentioned earlier, this game says it's based off of Hamlet, and it is... in the same way that Super Mario Bros. is based off of Hamlet. The writing can be pretty funny at times and really try-hard at others, so it's a mixed bag. It is still enjoyable, however, so I feel alright with giving the writing a 6/10, even though there really isn't much to talk about here, as the game is roughly an hour long.
Graphics: The art style in this game really didn't do much for me, but that's more of a personal preference. As stated in the title, there are no shaders, although as stated as well, I don't find that to be a selling point. I can see that effort went into the art design, so some attention is worth drawing to it. An unfortunate drawback to the art style is that sometimes it is hard to see what to do in a room since the rooms can become very busy at times. Regarding optimization... well, if your computer can run steam, it should be able to run this. I'd run it in windowed mode, since it's locked at 1024x768, but that's your decision to make. 3/5.
Music: Boss 2's track is pretty rad. Nothing else is very memorable, though. Voice acting, whenever present, is Sim-ese. I know I've had things to say about the prior three areas, but there really isn't much to talk about here. 2/5.
Separate scores are 4/6/3/2; cumulative score of 5.0/10. I picked this game up in an IndieRoyale Bundle, so I don't feel like I've been janked, but I still feel like I'll never play this game again, hence why I erred on the thumbs down side of recommendation. Again, there are a few clever puzzles in the game, but there's just too many "not-puzzles" for me to recommend this to any fan of adventure games, or even a fan of puzzle games.