Russell Stone is a Jewish Rabbi at a poor synagogue in New York City. He is a devout man with a problem. Membership is way down and he lacks the funds to keep his synagogue open. Things are looking very bleak, and he has grown progressively more cynical and bitter with the passage of time.
User reviews: Very Positive (339 reviews)
Release Date: Nov 21, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"... it will be an enjoyable and thought provoking experience anchored by a strong and memorable main character."
Read the full review here.

Reviews

“The Shivah fits a compelling moral conscience over a tight decision tree, and compared to [other titles], its rewards are subtler and more satisfying.”
B – Onion AV Club

“It's in games like this that gaming really starts to measure up to conventional literature for emotional and intellectual integrity.”
PC Gamer

“The Shivah's interesting clues system, well-written dialog, logical puzzles and fascinating commentary make it easy to recommend.”
4/5 – Adventure Gamers

About This Game

Russell Stone is a Jewish Rabbi at a poor synagogue in New York City. He is a devout man with a problem. Membership is way down and he lacks the funds to keep his synagogue open. Things are looking very bleak, and he has grown progressively more cynical and bitter with the passage of time.

Just as he is on the verge of packing it all in, he receives some interesting news. A former member of his congregation has died and left the Rabbi a significant amount of money. A blessing? Or the start of something far more sinister? Can Rabbi Stone just accept the money and move on? His conscience says no. Step into his shoes as he travels all over Manhattan in his attempt to uncover the truth.

Features rabbinical conversation methods, a unique method of fighting, an original score, and three different endings!

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Win 2000 or higher
    • Processor: Pentium or higher
    • Memory: 64 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 256-colour: 266 Mhz or above
    • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Supports all DirectX-compatible sound cards
Helpful customer reviews
191 of 235 people (81%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 3, 2014
Oy vey, goyim, only a complete momzer would not buy this. Look, it is only $4.99, what a wonderfull deal! Now be a good mensch and get it.
On a serious note, it is a pretty good game, just way too short.
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41 of 48 people (85%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 24, 2014
tl;dr: Don't get it if you have a problem with short, old, adventure games. For everyone else that's even considering it, don't hesitate.

The Shivah is a short noir detective adventure starring a rabbi. It's a traditional point & click, intelligent, well-written, with an understated sense of humor. Its storytelling actually does a surprising amount of justice to the themes of faith and morality. The puzzles (sleuthing mostly, no item combinations or enviromental puzzles) are all logical and solvable, so resist the occasional headscratching and stick with them, you shouldn't really need a walkthrough. I have a special soft spot for its voice acting, I personally find it absolutely brilliant (don't miss the voiceacting bloopers!). The remastered edition completely redid the game's graphics, and if you like the WadjetEye style, you will appreciate them, even though they're nothing to phone home about. They also added new music, which I really enjoyed in how perfectly it sets the mood. Despite how short it is, The Shivah feels like a complete experience, in the same way a good short story does, so it won't leave you unsatisfied. If you are intrerested in replaying it for the achievements and the alternate endings, I'd suggest playing it with the commentary on (Kibbitz Mode), it is short and non intrusive to the playthrough and offers a bit of background story.

This game was the starting off point for WadjetEye Games (Gemini Rue, Blackwell series, Resonance, etc) and as far as I am concerned it by now belongs to the cannon for lovers of adventure games, as an interesting example for understanding the evolution of the genre and as one of the few games that touches religious topics in a mature way. I have been replaying it once in a while since it first came out and despite its small flaws, it is a lovable little gem and as much of a treat to play today as it ever was.
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29 of 38 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 15, 2014
This game was short enough to keep me interested in the plot, the ending was pretty interesting not only story-wise but also mechanic-wise. Graphics are fine, music is fitting, interface is intuitive. The only thing I can complain about is voiceover - Joe DeMarco had static noise in almost all his lines. Aside from that The Shivah is a nice adventure - don't hesitate to spend your shekels on it.
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19 of 23 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 1
Only a meshuggah would pass up a deal like this. Don't be a goy, buy it you momzer!
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16 of 19 people (84%) found this review helpful
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 10
A very nice little point and click game which focuses on Jews, or mainly, the Rabbis. It has a simple yet good story with some memorable characters and on the way it provides some basic knowledge about the Jews to the goyims. Its just $5 and it's worth it.
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29 of 48 people (60%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 30, 2014
gripping tale of a jewish man killing 2 goyim in an effort to find the killer of his friend.

The jews were behind it the whole time
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13 of 19 people (68%) found this review helpful
6.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 3, 2014
Intelligent but very short mystery adventure game dealing with themes of justice and human faultiness.

I really don't want to give away anything from the plot because sadly this game is very short. It feels a bit like the developer started working on something greater but gave up and decided to wrap it up abruptly.

Gameplay follows standard point'n'click idioms; left click to walk and interact and right click for a description or protagonist's thoughts. There is also a clue system which allows you to ask characters about key topics and combine them to form new clues. Not quite as ingenious and practical as the long- and short-term memory system in Resonance, but it's a break from the more traditional object-oriented approach. The clues, dialogues and terminals are your main interfaces to solving puzzles in this game.

Regarding the story, suffice it to say that the main protagonist finds himself unexpectedly and rather uninvitingly dragged into an ambivalent situation that motivates him to set out to seek answers to ever-increasing questions and gradually gets more involved in the mystery.

Then, it's over.

But I liked the ending.

I just wish there was more story, environments and characters in this game. The premise is good, the writing and dialogue are generally good and managed to evoke my interest in both the characters and their interpersonal affairs and the unfolding plot, art is good, music was perhaps on the forgettable side but not bad by any means, and you get to make some choices that breathe a bit of extra life into the dynamics and work together with the philosophical contemplation present in the dialogue (or monologue). There is no voice acting and I don't miss it.

Besides scantiness of content, there is one more complaint I have: The god damn terminals. Accessing information through in-game terminals is a pet peeve of Wadjet Eye Games', and The Shivah takes it a step too far forcing you to do a lot of "office work" to follow up on clues. It wouldn't be so bad if the game was lengthier, but as it is I find it hard to justify the current office work to exploration ratio. That said, it still feels satisfying to pull off a fruitful day at the office.

I can't comment on the price as the question of whether it's reasonable is so relative. Let's just say if there was a sequel of same quality with twice the amount of content, at the same price, I would shell out my cash without a blink.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 1
A fun point and click game, although most of the puzzles are simply doing google searches, the story holds up and the multiple choices given are interesting enough for me to recommend this game.
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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 2
An enjoyable narrative experience following a failing rabbi and his equally failing synagogue, it's fairly a bleak look into a man with a troubled past and what feels like a fundamental loss of faith that he can regrow as he investigates the death of a former member of his congregation that has left him a significant amount of money through his estate.

The story itself is actually fairly dull and pretty predictable but the game itself is heavily dialogue laden - near all conversation and text is as if it were a rabbi talking, with some "puzzles" even solved by taking the rabbinical answer to whatever situation is posed. That's really the key to the game: the dialogue and the development of Rabbi Stone as a character, they are both brilliantly written and pick up the slack in the story.

Though, it is a point and click game with a few text and combat puzzles - usually based around remembering key facts around people and placing them into the in-game equivalent of Google at your computer terminal so paying attention is actually a must. The downside to this, is the fact you normally have to travel back to your office to find the information required to progress in the story.

I would recommend this game to people that enjoy art house, narrative driven, emotionally charged indie games. It's a very niche product, but I would absolutely recommend it to those already on the fence.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 2
Oy vey, how dare you murder two of god's chosen you meshugga momser piece of ♥♥♥♥!!!!
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 10
Why do bad things happen to good people?

Well, The Shivah tries to answer that question. Main character, Rabbi Russell Stone is torn between a Jewish law and his strong emotions that push him into sorrow. His path to solve the mysterious death is full of doubts. Doubts that concern all of us.
If you are not afraid to ask yourself the tough questions - play The Shivah, you'll love it.
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: April 9
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 19, 2014
Short but yet interesting story, nice soundtrack, beautiful quotes and philoshopical questions, twisting plot and end. Its a nice game with easy and logical clues.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 9, 2014
TL,DR: The Shivah has a lot of potential in regard to its unique themes and characters, but the end result feels weak and rushed. It's not a bad game and it's worth playing if only for the fact that it has a lot of plot elements you don't see in other games. However, the previously mentioned issue combined with unengaging gameplay make it hard to recommend.

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I like Wadjet Eye games. I"ve played through the entire Blackwell series. I enjoy adventure games, story heavy games, all that kind of stuff. So, I was excited for The Shivah. It's gotten a lot of acclaim and it was the first Wadjet Eye game I had heard of.

Unfortunately, it falls very flat, not working as a game or a narrative.

Let's start with the game aspect: there is not much here. The clue combining mechanic, which was used later in the Blackwell games, is used once in The Shivah. It makes you wonder why it was even in there. The puzzles are extremely repetitive. Almost all of them involve figuring out computer passwords. From a logic/story perspective, that makes sense. In the real world, that makes sense. You're doing detective work, you need information, checking someone's e-mail is a good idea. From a gameplay perspective, it works once and after that it gets tedious. It's not particularly challenging, either. There are two dialogue puzzles that use the exact same mechanic. The mechanic of these puzzles is something that is under-scored through the entire game, but I did not catch on to the gimmick. It's not a big deal in the first instance, but can be kind of frustrating in the second. It's not cheap, like I said, the key to these puzzles is all through out, but it's always used as a joke. That makes it hard to connect it to a more serious situation. It can also be figured out through trial and error, but, as with all adventure games, if you start getting frustrated or annoyed your logic and your observation can start to break down.

The Shivah is more about the story and character though, both of which have a lot of potential, but not much is done with either. The concept of a murder mystery involving the Jewish community is interesting and gave me flashes of the movie "Homicide." The plot is fairly boiler plate which wouldn't be a problem if everything else around it were stronger. In particular, the main antagonist is much too broad. His motivations don't seem to be much more than money and because he's evil. The biggest problem is with the main character, Rabbi Stone. Stone could have been an amazing character if Gilbert had done more with him, fleshed him out. Most of what we see of Stone shows him as little more than angry and down-on-his-luck. Then, at the end, when one of the big plot mysteries gets revealed a new layer of depth is shown that was barely alluded to. This reveal should have at least made me go, "Ah, I see, that makes sense." Instead, it felt ham-handed and almost a side-note for the character. Stone has the potential to be one of the most complex characters in video games and it's disappointing how little is done with him.

Also, for such a short game, there are a lot of logic problems/plot holes. Some of them are relatively small, kind of nitpicky things, but others really mess things up. The most central is why would Jack Lauder will money to Rabbi Stone? This can be theoried away and a little ambiguity isn't a bad thing. Much harder to hand wave away is the fact that nobody calls the police, ever.

The original form of the game was created in a month (at least that's what I understand from the commentary). It was later given a revamp for its graphics, music and voice acting. I wish Gilbert would have taken advantage of the fact that he was no longer under such tight time constraints and gone deeper with everything.

The Shivah is worth playing and $5 isn't an outrage for a game that has such a good foundation. Honestly, I'm happy to have paid it just to support Dave Gilbert and Wadjet Eye Games. However, I have enough issues with it that I can't recommend it.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 27
The story is great, and that makes me wish this were a better game. At first, the mechanics seemed promising – Instead of carrying a ridiculous number of objects, the character will mostly be collecting bits of information. That idea has a lot of potential. Sadly, the developer did not make very good use of it. Almost none of the important bits of information you find go into this "Clues" inventory, and the few interactions you can do with the ones that do could have just been handled by adding lines to a few dialogue menus.
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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 30, 2014
Although the Shivah is marked to have been released in 2013, this is actually a remake with new graphics and music, called the Kosher edition, of the 2006 original. In the first game made by Wadjet Eye Games, you're introduced to a rabbi in charge of a financially unstable synagogue. As a reflection of his growing cynical view of life, his sermons also share the same nature, which in turn drives members away. After ending his sermon early one night, with a drowsy member as his only audience, he is visited by a police investigator looking into the murder of a former member of the synagogue who happened to have listed the rabbi in his will with a large sum of money. Because this money would also solve the synagogue's debt, the rabbi is viewed as a suspect with a possible motive for murder. The rabbi, however, is unsure why the person would leave such a fortune even though the member had left on disagreeable terms. This adventure game follows the story of a rabbi looking for the truth behind the death of a former member of his congregation as well as the reason for being on the receiving end of generosity despite their unamiable past.

If you've played the Blackwell series by the same developers, then you'll know what kind of game you'll be getting into, an old school style game with solid puzzles and story. The Shivah is fairly short with a bit of replayability if you're looking to get all of the achievements, and while it finishes on a note that suggests that there could've been a continuation to the adventures of the rabbi, it does complete the story that it starts. This game is fairly cheap when on sale and is worth a play through.

If you've enjoyed playing this game, then be sure to check out the Blackwell series made by the same developers.
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 10
Great game to be played by Fellow Goyim, classic 2D point and click games, enjoyable music, cantor singing and Momzer yenta character.
Jews seek control are pretty common now, especially zionist, not spoiling much further, here my pro and cons:

+Voice actors match with character behavior on 2D states. (lil' cute)
+great storyline in simple gameplay.
+game itself pretty cheap on sales, not even $1.
+Moral and Etique of being Rabbi.

-Shonda for the Goyim.
-game has locked at below 600p and would not work on 1080p win8 64 bit display. (black screen, audio running)
-pretty short, but prettier enjoyable.
-Why Does the Rabbi Answer a Question with a Question?
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3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 22, 2014
The Shivah is a great little point-and-click game. It presents the user, who plays a rabbi with a dwindling congregation, with a murder mystery to solve.

Good things:
- The actual puzzles are fairly fun to solve, although some are ridiculously hard to work out. You may need a walkthrough guide, especially to get the acheivements!
- The voice acting is good (although I skipped through most of it to play through quickly)
- References to religion and deeper meanings (although I'll admit there weren't many and they weren't that deep. But there was a whole Torah in here compared to CoD or Pacman)
- Storyline. It was fun and engaging

Bad things:
- This game is ridiculously short. Without a walkthrough (or if you're a bit slow to grasp things) it will take no longer than 2 hours to finish, and probably much less. You will probably have to use a guide anyway, so there's really only an hour or so of playtime here.
- Alternative endings. Unlike, for example, The Stanley Parable, the alternative endings require extremely specific sets of actions to complete, making finding them pretty dull.
- Storyline. It was a very cliched plot. Although, to be honest, this is a tried and tested formula and it worked alright.
- Graphics. This is actually the nicest looking port of the game, but it does look like it was made in 1990. With that being said, the graphics aren't massively important to the gameplay anyway.

So I would recommend it, but preferably on sale. £4 is probably too much to pay for a couple of hours of gaming with little to no replay value. I got it in a Humble Bundle, so it was well worth my money!
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5 of 10 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2014
Nice game in quite an interesting setting. Totally recommended.

It's a short detective story, designed in style of the other developer's product, Gemini Rue.
You are free to travel between locations, you're a rabbi and you have no quest markers, no "mission journal", no flashy coloured lines in your dialogues. You have to find the solution _by yourself_. And this feeling, that you are actually conducting your own investigation, is great.

Well, there are some cons, including bad graphics. Although the stylization is nice, the game seems to be running in like a 640x480 and have no option to run in window mode.

ps. yes, there IS an option to always answer a question with a question. In case of two rabbies talking this may cause brain cancer... or something
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 22, 2014
I've played a couple of Wadjet Eye games before and they're all fine and dandy (especially the excellent Gemini Rue) but this one just isn't very good at all. It's effectively a detective game, but it lacks many of the gameplay elements you would associate with the point-n-click genre, and coupled with a very short duration (1 hour), it makes me question why it's even being sold on here rather than shared through, erm, shareware. Fair-play to the developer as it was his first-effort but it's not something worth buying when you could look into his much better, later games (The Blackwell games).

The meat and bones of the game is essentially a quest to find the truth behind a killing. This is tied to the earnstwhile protagonist Rabbi Stone, a man who has been left a good deal of money for reasons he can't quite understand. You move between half-a-dozen areas throughout NYC in order to find out clues about the murder, most of which come through talking to a handful of people and then making your way back to Ston'es apartment to search for further clues on the internet. Unfortunately, there's not much input needed on the part of the player aside from movement; only a few puzzles really make their mark and these just require guessing a few passwords. Sadly too, a lot of cliches enter into the equation denying the game originality outside of the unusual Jewish-themes. I mean once you realised that the main character is a dishevelled, grumpy louse with a past that is waying up on him you could well accept that it's the archetypal man of any number of noirish tales. Despite such grievances, I like that kind of character and Rabbi Stone's story is the best thing the game has going for it: a twisted-man shaken to the point of financial insecurity who puts it on himself to make amends for his loathsome past.

Overall, The Shivah serves as a great testiment to the developer's ability but, again, I just don't agree that it's a complete enough game to be sold as full-product. Even at its low selling-price, you'd be better-off finding another adventure title.
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