The unique cyberpunk-meets-fantasy world of Shadowrun has gained a huge cult following since its creation nearly 25 years ago. Now, creator Jordan Weisman returns to the world of Shadowrun, modernizing this classic game setting as a single player, turn-based tactical RPG.
User reviews:
Very Positive (29 reviews) - 86% of the 29 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (7,073 reviews) - 89% of the 7,073 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jul 25, 2013

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“Diehard GameFAN: 2013 Game of the Year/Best PC Game/Best Digital-Downloadable Game/Best Tactical RPG, Softpedia: Best RPG 2013, Hardcoregamer: Nominated Best Strategy Game 2013, Gamezebo: Best Games of 2013, Gamasutra: Top Games of the 2013”
Best of 2013 Awards

“Shadowrun Returns drops players headfirst into this richly realized fiction, combining classic role-playing storytelling with modern tactical battles . . . running the shadows has never been more fun.”
8.5/10 – Game Informer

“This is one of the most satisfying and complete tactical roleplaying experiences to come out of 2013 and realistically the last few years.”
4.5/5 – HardcoreGamer

About This Game

MAN MEETS MAGIC & MACHINE. The year is 2054. Magic has returned to the world, awakening powerful creatures of myth and legend. Technology merges with flesh and consciousness. Elves, trolls, orks and dwarves walk among us, while ruthless corporations bleed the world dry. You are a shadowrunner - a mercenary living on the fringes of society, in the shadows of massive corporate arcologies, surviving day-by-day on skill and instinct alone. When the powerful or the desperate need a job done, you get it done... by any means necessary.

In the urban sprawl of the Seattle metroplex, the search for a mysterious killer sets you on a trail that leads from the darkest slums to the city’s most powerful megacorps. You will need to tread carefully, enlist the aid of other runners, and master powerful forces of technology and magic in order to emerge from the shadows of Seattle unscathed.

The unique cyberpunk-meets-fantasy world of Shadowrun has gained a huge cult following since its creation nearly 25 years ago. Now, creator Jordan Weisman returns to the world of Shadowrun, modernizing this classic game setting as a single player, turn-based tactical RPG.

Key Features

  • Gripping Tactical Combat: When you’re running the shadows, every turn matters. Choose your actions wisely - move to better cover, charge into melee, or lob a fireball into a crowd of enemies. With the variety of weapons and spells at your disposal, every turn is filled with meaningful choices. A successful run requires commanding a team of runners with the right balance of combat, tech, and magical abilities.
  • Skill-Based Character Progression: Choose a starting character archetype and build from there! Street Samurai and Physical Adepts use advanced combat skills to dominate the battlefield, Shamans and Mages summon powerful allies and cast deadly spells, while Riggers and Deckers provide critical technological support, projecting their consciousness directly into drones and computer systems. Shadowrun Returns’ classless skill system allows you to grow your character in any direction you choose. Want to start summoning spirits as an ork Shaman and evolve into a cybered-up weapon specialist? Do it!
  • Engaging 2D/3D Art Style: Shadowrun Returns mixes dynamic 3D characters and lighting with a vibrant, hand-painted environment. Illustrated character portraits bring every conversation to life. Explore a world filled with detail, from the slums of the Redmond Barrens to the extravagant offices of powerful corporations.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS:Windows XP SP3/Vista/Windows 7
    • Processor: x86-compatible 1.4GHz or faster processor
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:DirectX compatible 3D graphics card with at least 256MB of addressable memory
    • DirectX®:9.0
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
    • OS: OSX 10.6
    • Processor: Intel-based Macs only (x86-compatible, 1.4GHz or better)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard disk space: 2 GB HD space
    • Processor: x86-compatible 1.4GHz or faster processor
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Modern 3D graphics card with at least 256MB of addressable memory
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
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Very Positive (29 reviews)
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
19 of 20 people (95%) found this review helpful
66.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 2
One of the first big Kickstarted franchise releases, Shadowrun Returns had a great deal to live up to. Not only did it carry the torch for the next generation of crowd-funded games, it was also the first title in several years for a much beloved franchise. A sequel of sorts to the very well-regarded SNES title, Shadowrun Returns revisits the grungy streets of Seattle 2054, an urban wasteland controlled by mega-corporations, into which magic has re-awakened, and a variety of meta-human races have re-emerged. You play as a Shadow Runner, a sort of special agent for hire who offers their skills out to anyone willing to pay the right price. In this case, you’re contacted by an old buddy who wants you to hunt down a murderer. His own in fact.

The campaign that comes with Shadowrun is being touted as a sort of sample story to inspire modders to create their own stories, but honestly it’s of sufficient quality that it justifies a purchase on its own. Dropping enough hints and allusions to the greater Shadowrun fiction to get hardcore fans salivating, it tells a standalone tale full of double-crosses, femme fatales, duplicitous corporations and shady cults that immerses newcomers in the world without bombarding them with unnecessary exposition and world detail.

One of the great joys of the setting is the clash between familiar fantasy and cyberpunk tropes. Traditional fantasy races and concepts like mages and elves exist alongside mega-corporations and streetwise hackers, struggling to survive in the lawless urban wasteland. Over-familiarity with basic conventions is a common problem in fantasy, so it’s intriguing to visit a universe where that predictability has been largely removed. Although, unsurprisingly, elves remain pompous, haughty ♥♥♥♥♥ even in Shadowrun.

It’s a world that feels both vibrant and entropic, colourful and bleak, and it’s brought to life through a vibrant and consistent art style. Character art stays just on the right side of cartoonish, each portrait giving you a sense of the character while allowing your imagination, and the excellent dialogue, to fill in the rest. Hulking trolls and lithe, graceful elves scamper about on a lush selection of neon-lit cyberpunk cityscapes, while the rain pours down and shreds of newspaper and cigarette packets are scattered by the wind. The thumping background score completes the sense of immersion. It’s genuinely one of the most visually stylish games released in 2013.

While the visuals do their part to set the scene, it’s the writing and storytelling that really sell the setting. Characters are understandably painted in rather broad strokes, but they still feel believable and likeable, from your hard-bitten buddy Coyote to the streetwise Jake Armitage (think a ginger Han Solo with a penchant for sleeping in morgue trays) and the politically astute troll bouncer Mr. Kluwe. Even negotiations with background NPC’s feel real.

Thugs and gangsters speak in an unfamiliar street cant, peppering each sentence with baroque and occasionally impenetrable slang. Grab a rank or two in the charisma stat and you can select an ‘etiquette’, essentially giving your character a familiarity within one of the social strata that make up the Shadowrun world, from high-flying socialites to street-level hustlers. Your character’s possible dialogue responses are also really great, allowing for a range of deadpan cynicism and/or colourful insults.

The focus on one small cabal of runners is a great idea, as each character gets their moment in the spotlight, and the sense of a dysfunctional family of scoundrels is well developed over the course of the game. There’s even a surprisingly deft and touching final scene. While the main plot itself loses a little character in the final third, and there’s relatively few chances to dramatically affect the flow of the story, on the whole it’s an enjoyable adventure with a couple of nice twists and some dastardly villains to take down. Hopefully developers Harebrained Schemes will serve up some more adventures with this bunch of miscreants and rogues.

When you head out to crack some heads, Shadowrun Returns offers a deep and satisfying turn-based combat system. Everything revolves around ‘action points’, which govern exactly how many moves you can make in combat. Firing a single shot from your pistol might take up one point, while carefully zeroing in on an ork thug’s eyeball takes two – the former frees you up to move into cover, while the latter eats up your movement but increases the chance of a critical hit. Adding to the mix are various abilities from different skill trees.

While this is essentially a classless game, meaning you can build your character however you like, for new players it’s advisable to stick to one of the pre-arranged packages, which range from spell-slinging mages to riggers, who take the Robot Wars approach to combat by using controllable drones. You can branch out of your chosen package at any time if you fancy dipping into weapon skills or even grabbing some cyber-warfare skills. Jack into the matrix as a ‘decker’ and you’ll find you can circumvent some of the detective work you might otherwise be forced to do.

Each play-style has a few unique tricks for you to discover in the heat of battle. Mages can find lay-lines of magical power, that if stood on increase the efficiency of their spells. Shamans can instead spot hidden elemental spirits that can be summoned into a fight. In one of Shadowrun‘s best combat features, controlling a spirit becomes a dangerous game of risk and reward. You can invest your summon with up to four action points, making them extremely dangerous in a fight.

Charging them up too much, however, increases the likelihood that they can break free, leaving you with one incredibly ♥♥♥♥♥♥ off fire elemental to deal with in addition to the other twelve ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s. Riggers can use their robot buddies to flank enemies through conveniently placed vents, allowing you to both scout ahead and get the drop on guards. My only qualm is that sound effects don’t quite carry the punch of the rest of the audio design. Some more weighty gunshots and spell effects would be welcome.

Since Shadowrun is all about disparate operatives coming together for well-paid but dangerous missions, it makes sense that before each mission you can select your team. Contacts in your base of operations provide a list of agents covering each class, as well as some more unique multiclass characters. You pay a certain amount to each runner to get them in your squad, with some of the more devastating operatives only available to those with sufficient cash. It’s a nice touch that encourages careful selection,as each runner possesses their own load-out which may or may not mesh with your needs. However, the lack of customisation seems like a missed opportunity, as Shadowrun seems tailor-made for the same kind of attachment you had to your X-Com: Enemy Unknown commandos.

Bugs seem largely non-existent, apart from the occasional grammatical mistake buried deep in the text. Despite these relatively minor imperfections, however, Harebrained Schemes have done a bang-up job with Shadowrun Returns. Interfaces are clean, slick and, despite inventory management being slightly awkward due to the need to keep cycling unused items back and forth to your stash, generally intuitive.

Shadowrun Returns exceeded my every expectation. It is by far the best title in the franchise since the 16-bit era. Shadowrun fans and RPG enthusiasts who loved the late-'90s isometric games should definitely check it out.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
16.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 22
Shadowrun returns is the first step in a series that just keeps on getting better and it is already pretty good.

The unique setting paves the way for a plot that isnt chewed out and interesting to follow. It all feels very cyberpunky and having played the actual pen and paper I am fully satisfied with the translation of systems to a videogame. The characters in game are all unique but dont get explored a whole lot. Unlike later parts you dont really have a crew of people to run with that you get to know better throughout time, just some reccuring allies.

Gameplaywise you spend the largest part of the game with turn based combat akin to the XCOM series. Another thing they have in common is a hyperunrealistic amount of 90% hit chance misses. If I hadnt done it all on normal difficulty that would have probably led to quite a few frustrated reloads. You have a very decently large amount of fighting styles to choose from, unlike in later parts you cant put a low priority on fighting and talk your way through things though.

The soundtrack is the best in the series so far, though probably not worth buying a 10 dollar DLC for. Give it a listen on its own on youtube or something though, it is pretty cool.

The graphics are far drom top notch but you never zoom in closer than birds eye view so they still get the job done.

All in all if you like the pen and paper or like cyberpunk with fantasy or simply a turn based combat gamer with decent story I would reccomend it even at full price. Dont expect to get more than 16 hours at the most out of it without modding though.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 24
Shadowrun Returns is a game that I recommend because:
- it is a method to banish boredom
- it has a good price
- it is RPG
- it is indie
- it has strategy
- it is atmospheric
- it has trading cards

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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
9.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 14
A decent game albeit a bit on the short side I suppose. The game is very linear (there's only one optional side quest) but the story isn't bad.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
9.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 17
I bought this when it was on sale for $2.99, and would definitely recommend it at that price.

I knew very little about the Shadowrun setting going into this game, and seeing fantasy and sci-fi blended together so seamlessly is one of the main reasons that I enjoyed it.

The biggest complaint that I have (and the reason I wouldn't recommend paying $14.99) is that the main campaign feels a little like several smaller games stitched together -- several mechanics (such as "decking") are not available in all levels, characters float in and out of your party, and the the story takes a very weird turn about halfway through.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
14.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 4
Great turn-based game.
Definitely gets harder if you want it to.
The story is captivating, couldn't stop till I finished it.
I personally didn't want to play it a second time around but there are a variety of classes you can play.
There are choices that alter the outcome of the storyline so I'm sure there are different aspects of the story.
Played both original and sequel, looking forward to Shadowrun: Hong Kong.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
14.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 4
if you're not sure to pick this game up try looking into the shadow run world and if you enjoy it this is for you, if the price is too much then just wait till a big sale =)
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1 of 4 people (25%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
12.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 10
Have played the first part (on SNES) a bunch of years ago. Was kinda nice for the time and now I was curious how the game may be developed over the years.

But it's nearly the same. Reading, pointklicking, reading, some meaningless skilltree decisions making, reading and more reading, reading, reading.
The 3D perspective, the rare findings and possebilities to do or the ever looping sounds doesn't help with the poor game experience.
Did not develop a connection with the characters nor the annoying story so I'm out here unfinished after 2/3...
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1 of 10 people (10%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
8.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 29
I really do not know where to start

Game is less than 20$

Game is worth less than 3$
No save system
Useless customization
Horrible character progression
Short story (actually a pro since this game sucks)
Half of the character traits had no purpose at all

The company had so much money from the kickstarter to make this game but produced a game that one man team could have done in half the time. Now I am not saying that they suck, I am just implying it.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
563 of 573 people (98%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
11.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 27, 2015
Now I've never played a Shadowrun game before, however I'm not exactly new to turn based/strategy RPG games, having played games in a similar vein like the Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor series and Fire Emblem. However, I'll be the first to admit I'm far from a veteran in the genre.

One of the key things I think Returns did right, is the tricky task of drawing me into the story immediately. It's pretty simple: your friend is dead, he's left you a "dead man's switch" - a recorded message promising a hefty reward if you can find the killer. OK. I'm in.

As for the ease of playing the game... as someone who's often daunted by complex RPG interfaces with endless choices, decisions, and items to equip, I thought Shadowrun's interface is a breeze. It clearly shows you your weapon slots, inventory slots, and which body parts you can equip on armor or modifications. As for playing the game itself, you can simply click on your HUD to switch between weapons or end turns, but there are hotkeys for the more practiced player, too.

You encounter many characters on your way to solve your friend's murder, and you get to pick and choose your own team of Shadowrunners to go on every mission with you. Each has their own specialty - summoning mechs, specializing in "decking" (hacking), melee combat, guns, magic, and so on, and I had a great time testing out all the different classes.

All of the characters have their own specialties, but the game is forgiving, and you could probably get by just using guns on everyone. I realized one of my runners had a healing ability 3/4 of the way through the game, and had been getting by just fine without knowing that. So if you're worried about difficulty or complexity, don't be.

Another positive for me is the game is heavily text based. There is a lot more discovery and reading than combat. You can also save anywhere except an NPC turn in combat, or in conversation. So I could get up to answer the door or grab some food without bothering to pause, or quit at a moment's notice if my friends asked me to play a multiplayer game.

I know I'm writing a review no one will ever read, for a two year old game, but it gets an easy recommendation from me, especially if you're a busy person who can only enjoy games in bits and pieces before you're on the go again.
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Recently Posted
0.7 hrs
Posted: October 22
A ok rpg i guess.. Many dialogues, plenty to do it seems.. Nice graphics but NO voice acting..

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33.4 hrs
Posted: October 20
Ok so this Game is Amazing, I got in a Bit late to the crowd but it really does do an excellent job at Immersing you into the dredgy universe of shadowrun... although the campaing is a bit short there is replaybility thanks to the UGC allowing you to have more and more hours of tactical fun on end. If you like games like XCOM and tactial squad games you should definitely pick this up.
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49.5 hrs
Posted: October 18
I got this because I loved the Old console games, this did not dissapoint.
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8.9 hrs
Posted: October 18
Product received for free
Animations suck, both for running and cover. Playing this game is jarring, especially if you play it right after xcom 2. As long as audio is concerned - all you get is background music, no talk. Stopped reading the dialogues half way through - just coudln't give a damn.
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9.7 hrs
Posted: October 15
It's ok but really short, just as I was getting in to it game over man.
Even at $15 I would only get it on special.
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15.0 hrs
Posted: October 13
After wanting to play Shadowrun for the longest time, tonight I finally finished it. The game was not that long with its 12 hours of game time, and to be honest, it was quite a disillusion. After finishing Baldur's Gate 1 for the first time two weeks ago, I was looking forward to another isometric RPG. Being a big Deus Ex fan, the cyberpunk theme of Shadowrun Returns was very alluring. Being unfamiliar with the Shadowrun franchise, the mix of cyberpunk and fantasy felt weird at first. But even in the end, I can't say that I like it better. I'll try to summarize my experience with this game in a pro/con list.

  • The 2D backgrounds are from time to time quite beautiful
  • The user interface was quite ok, and looked sleek
  • The first half of the story was interesting
  • Interesting combination of combat going on in the matrix and in real life at the same time.
  • The game worked quite well on Linux (except for the remarks below)
  • The game was easy to play with keyboard and mouse, but also with the Steam Controller on my TV

  • The game did not handle "exotic" resolutions well. 3200x1800 on my linux laptop and 3440x1440 on my desktop were not manually selectable. Log files mentioned that the game detected the native resolution but a slightly different resolution was chosen. The drop down menu never showed the native resolutions in game. Full HD on my TV was easy.
  • When contacting the developer's support for the issue above, no support was given. I got an email confirming that they received my email, and that's the last thing that happened.
  • The loading screens took quite long for a "2D" game. I would expect it to be faster than games like Skyrim?
  • Classes seem very diverse, but they don't feel diverse.
  • Leveling is quite boring. Not a lot changes exect for some % to hit etcetera.
  • Fights are repetitive because there are not a lot of different tactics (necessary). The AI is not very bright.
  • During combat sequences the game goes turn-based, even when all enemies are killed you still keep walking turn based until you find new enemies in the same environment. Moving your whole team person by person is very tedious.
  • When going on missions you pay mercs to come with you. They are not very strong or optimal in their configuration, so they felt like dead weight compared to my maxed out SMG fighter.
  • Hacking/Matrix sequences are very repetitive. Both for the looks of the environment and the variation in enemies and variation in weapons. I just spammed my default attack and nothing else was needed.
  • The game is very linear. There are not a lot of side quests and you can't explore the world on your own. There is no open world to visit.
  • Because of the linear gameplay and uninteresting classes, replayability suffers a lot.
  • The story of the game started out great. It felt like a personal story compared to the "save the world" kind of stories from Skyrim and company. But from the middle of the game it felt like the writers had to keep making the story more elaborate to keep the gamers interested. They created some complex and unnecessary twists that ultimately made me just click faster through the conversation options because I became uninterested.
  • Those conversations were often very onesided. The choices you make in conversations almost never matter. Most answers are just different forms of the same answer, making conversations very uninteresting. There is no real impact on the game.
  • The writing of the game is obviously inspired by the Sprawl trilogy, and tiringly so. Every sentence tries to be drearier than the last one. I like film noir and cyberpunk, but this was way too cliché at times.
  • The world of Shadowrun combines cyberpunk and sci-fi with fantasy. Obviously a lot of people like this, but I'm not really fond of it. It gets worse when they try to mix even more classic (cliché?) game themes in the mix: violent crazy people in an asylum, undead ghouls, monsters and even spirits!! It just lacked some pirates and vampires...
  • The (hand drawn?) backgrounds were nice from time to time, but they are very empty. There is not a lot of animation or interactivity. The world feels dead.
  • The music is nice. I mean, the 3 or 4 tracks that are constantly repeated are nice the first time. They sound perfectly in line with the cyberpunk theme, but after having it on repeat for 12 hours, I just disabled the music altogether.
  • The game is quite short. I finished it in about 12 hours (thoroughly reading everything), and it seems like I'm slow compared to others. Some did it in 8 hours. Sadly, I was happy that it was over.

I was looking forward to play the complete Shadowrun series, but after being let down by the first installment, I just can't bring myself to buy the sequels. Even if they are better... Too bad really! I hope that the other famous tactical 2D Kickstarter games like Wasteland 2 and Pillars of Eternity can make up for this game.
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