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:
Overall:
Very Positive (453 reviews) - 83% of the 453 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 21, 2013

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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
    • Storage: 150 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Supports all DirectX-compatible sound cards
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Very Positive (453 reviews)
Recently Posted
ϟϟ Anon102 ϟϟ
3.8 hrs
Posted: August 21
On April Fool's please price this game at 6 million dollars :^)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Dr. Backstab
1.1 hrs
Posted: August 8
Why should you play this game?
<Answers rabbinically>
Why SHOULDN'T you play this game?
What else would you play?
Can you possibly know the feelings and ruminations held within this game without having played it?
What're'ya, meshugga? Just play it already. (Oy, gevult)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Y|yukichigai
3.0 hrs
Posted: August 4
Before the Blackwell series, before Technobabylon, before Gemini Rue, a man named Dave Gilbert got together with a few artists and voice actors and made a short little entry for an adventure game competition, about a jaded Rabbi trying to unravel the reasons behind an unexpected inheritance. The entry was so well received that Mr. Gilbert formed a company called Wadjet Eye Games, expanded the contest entry to be longer, and released it as his new company's first game: The Shivah. While many other games would follow it, The Shivah shows where a lot of those later titles get their style and many of their mechanics, the ever-popular "notes and clues" system in particular.

Separate of all that though, The Shivah is a fine title in its own right. It's a bit short to be fair, with a first-time playthrough likely clocking in at around an hour or two, but it's a solidly constructed few hours, with great voicework and a decently compelling plot. There's also plenty of detail to the relatively small slice of virtual New York that the game inhabits. If you're the kind of adventure game player who wants to see all the descriptions and interact with all the things you can, there's a good amount to keep you occupied. If you're more interested in a short-but-well-done "whodunit" with a few branching paths and a fair bit of dialog to listen to, then you also will be happy.

About the only bad thing I can say about the game is that the price might seem a bit steep for something that is so relatively short, at least to people who aren't already fans of Wadjet Eye. If you are though, then this is a fantastic version of their very first title, and well worth a play.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
strikeferret
1.4 hrs
Posted: August 3
Meh. Solid game, Well done and polished. A spot or two with non-obvious solutiuons. Oh, I'll just hack his e-mail then? Not my go-to for law-abiding citizens, but okay Very short for $5, but if you can get it around $3 or less and want an hour and a half of pretty well-laid story, it's cheaper than a movie.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
nex2god
6.6 hrs
Posted: July 20
Nice game.
Though short.
Buy on sale.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
El Crabo
3.5 hrs
Posted: July 12
Shut up and take my shekels!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Shane
3.6 hrs
Posted: July 10
This is the worst Wadjet Eye game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Uncharted Fool
1.2 hrs
Posted: July 9
It only cost me about 19 Shekels!

Great game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
tarp
6.4 hrs
Posted: July 8
great little adventure game.

It's got a very interesting, sort of philisophical spin, on the ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ adventure game protagonist cliche. The Rabbi did what he did, not because he necessarily wanted to do it, but because he thought it was required of him by his religion and his job. And at least he's not a criminal.

The game mechanics of the ending are a little funky though.

And at the end of the game there are voiceover bloopers and some of them are really funny. I wish more adventure games would do that, I don't think I've seen it before.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
|TvM| Agoura_Steve
13.5 hrs
Posted: July 7
This game is extremely fun, but short. I learned some "Yiddish" words and was left wanting more after completing the game. Would be great if they ever made a part 2.
I even bought this on my apple iPhone and played the iOS version as well.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 21
On April Fool's please price this game at 6 million dollars :^)
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 4
Before the Blackwell series, before Technobabylon, before Gemini Rue, a man named Dave Gilbert got together with a few artists and voice actors and made a short little entry for an adventure game competition, about a jaded Rabbi trying to unravel the reasons behind an unexpected inheritance. The entry was so well received that Mr. Gilbert formed a company called Wadjet Eye Games, expanded the contest entry to be longer, and released it as his new company's first game: The Shivah. While many other games would follow it, The Shivah shows where a lot of those later titles get their style and many of their mechanics, the ever-popular "notes and clues" system in particular.

Separate of all that though, The Shivah is a fine title in its own right. It's a bit short to be fair, with a first-time playthrough likely clocking in at around an hour or two, but it's a solidly constructed few hours, with great voicework and a decently compelling plot. There's also plenty of detail to the relatively small slice of virtual New York that the game inhabits. If you're the kind of adventure game player who wants to see all the descriptions and interact with all the things you can, there's a good amount to keep you occupied. If you're more interested in a short-but-well-done "whodunit" with a few branching paths and a fair bit of dialog to listen to, then you also will be happy.

About the only bad thing I can say about the game is that the price might seem a bit steep for something that is so relatively short, at least to people who aren't already fans of Wadjet Eye. If you are though, then this is a fantastic version of their very first title, and well worth a play.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
220 of 275 people (80%) found this review helpful
94 people found this review funny
Recommended
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.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
187 of 248 people (75%) found this review helpful
15 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 24, 2014
Oy Vey, Goyim! Why haven't you donated your shekels towards this game!? You bring shonda to your kind.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
46 of 54 people (85%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
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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50 of 63 people (79%) found this review helpful
22 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 3, 2015
Didn't pay any shekels to get this, a friend goy got it for me, and I must say Toda rabah to him.
This is a very nice game, although very short, but fun to get the achievements.
Would definitevely reccomend getting this game, wether if you're jewish or not.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
66 of 90 people (73%) found this review helpful
13 people found this review funny
Recommended
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 1, 2014
pretty excellent game for only 5 shekels
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
125 of 188 people (66%) found this review helpful
14 people found this review funny
Recommended
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 22, 2014
silly goyims
keep buying our game ironically
rabbi stone needs everyone's money
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
29 of 32 people (91%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 20, 2015
Dislikes:

--The slow, unskippable monologue you have to sit through every single time the game starts. Or if you die and need to load a save, you have to sit through it AGAIN before you can get to the load menu.

--Final confrontation feels a little too trial and error.

--UI/HUD elements feel a bit rough.

--Extreeemely short.

Likes:

--A rabbi having a crisis of faith is a character type I've never played before, and judaism more generally is a theme I've never played before, so I was very happy playing as a new type of protagonist in a new type of backdrop.

--Two cameos from Rosa Blackwell!!! And a cameo from Sam Durkin!!! Also, the apartment that the Lauders live in is Emil's apartment from Blackwell Epiphany! I LOVE IT!!!

--I like that the game has "moral choices", but that choices are not intended to be a question of whether you (i.e. Rabbi Stone) are good or evil (you're a good guy no matter what), but more a question of faith and principles. You're not just choosing between good/evil or goodcop/badcop. You're choosing between the human response and the faith response. Because you/Stone are depicted as having a crisis of faith and are therefore sitting on the fence in this regard, both choices make perfect sense and seem equally acceptable. It feels less like the game is judging your choice than it often does with the blunt good/evil type scenarios you usually get. And when I say "crisis of faith", it's not that Rabbi Stone is becoming an atheist or anything like that. It's not that kind of crisis of faith. He's just reached a point where he's unhappy with his life and starts to feel that his faith is not getting him anywhere, so he's having trouble putting his faith in god's will instead of his own. So your "moral choices" are a choice between giving a situation to god's will or giving a situation to your own will. I like that this gives the moral decisions a slightly different flavor than usual and it's something I wish would have been even more pronounced. (Although I am not religious myself, I still found this very interesting in character exploration terms.)

--In the final encounter, I was impressed with how many different outcomes that encounter could have depending on the choices you make in that scene and the choices you made in earlier scenes. I was also extremely shocked and saddened with one particular outcome of one particular choice.... daaaaang that was harsh. Fortunately I was able to avoid it on another attempt. Whew.

Final Thoughts:

While it didn't quite blow my mind the way that the Blackwell games did, it was an interesting new character and subject, and looking at moral choices through the lens of a crisis of faith was a kinda refreshing take on a tired old gaming trope.
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50 of 69 people (72%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 18, 2014
I really want to recommend this game, but honestly, I just can't.

The game's story is a pretty solid murder mystery, and reminds me heavily of the Ace Attorney investigations. You collect clues to progress, and can combine them in a sort of logic system.

But, throughout the entire game, you'll only actually recieve one inventory item, and collect 4 total clues.

The Shivah's length absolutely is it's own worse enemy. While there's no filler or downtime to chug through, the game can easily be completed in less than an hour if you know what you're doing.

The only real length to the game would be the trial and error combat sections. You fight two different people in the game, and both of them can only be beaten with an exact choice of words.

Over all, the game wasn't bad, just extremely short. You don't really have enough time with Rabbi Stone to really resonate with him, which is a shame, because the premise at the start seemed really interesting.
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