Shadwen is a 3rd person stealth-action game where the only rule is to remain unseen. Stay hidden - or the ruthless guards will kill you on sight!
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (155 reviews) - 81% of the 155 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 17, 2016

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Recent updates View all (7)

May 17

Shadwen - Now Out on PC, OS X & Linux!



Check out the launch trailer:
https://youtu.be/3WNzuRL_FNo

Any thoughts on the game and/or trailer? :)

20 comments Read more

May 5

Shadwen Launches on May 17th!



Less than two weeks to go! :) The game will be available for Windows, OS X, Linux & PS4.

The launch price on Steam will be $14.55, and the regular price once the launch discount is over will be $16.99.



More info on our blog.

11 comments Read more

About This Game

Shadwen is a 3rd person stealth-action game where the only rule is to remain unseen. Stay hidden - or the ruthless guards will kill you on sight!

Shadwen, an assassin on a quest to kill the king, has a chance encounter with an orphaned girl, Lily. She follows Shadwen on her dangerous journey, but when the ruthless guards get too close, Shadwen must take action right in front of Lily's eyes.

Will Shadwen risk the girl's budding trust by resorting to violence, or try and find another way while keeping her real purpose concealed?

To kill or not to kill - that is the question.

FEATURES



  • MOVE FREELY - Sneak and explore around the dark and gritty medieval province and use the environment to your advantage - use your rope to grapple onto rooftops, silently drop from ceilings, or veil yourself in the shadows.

  • STAY HIDDEN - Pick your assassinations carefully. Avoid being seen, heard or getting caught indirectly. Suspicious sights and noises will alert the guards - use it to your benefit.

  • TIME IS AN ACCOMPLICE - Time stands still when you are not moving Shadwen, allowing you to stop at any point mid-motion. Rewind time to manipulate your past and present actions!

  • USE PHYSICS - Use physics and a freely attachable rope to drag and topple objects. Make deaths look accidental; let gravity do the grave work.

  • CREATE TRAPS AND HAZARDS - set up traps and hazards to lure guards towards their untimely demise; discover new ways to eliminate or distract your foes by crafting items into deadly surprises, including poison traps, spike devices, decoy toys and more.

  • TWO CHARACTERS - Embrace the darkness with Shadwen and her abilities to protect Lily and create a safe passage for her.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: (64 bit / 32 bit *) Windows 10 / 8 / 7 / Vista
    • Processor: Intel Core i3/i5/i7 1.8 GHz CPU dual-core. AMD 2.0 GHz dual-core.
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 260 / Radeon HD 4000 Series / Intel HD Graphics 4000
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Storage: 6 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: * Highest graphics detail levels are only available in 64 bit OS
    Recommended:
    • OS: (64 bit / 32 bit *) Windows 10 / 8 / 7 / Vista
    • Processor: Intel quad-core 2.0 GHz or dual-core 2.6 GHz
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 2GB / Radeon HD 6850 2GB
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Storage: 6 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: * Highest graphics detail levels are only available in 64 bit OS
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X version Mavericks 10.9, or later.
    • Processor: Intel Mac
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 4.1
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Keyboard, Mouse/Trackpad with Secondary click enabled. *NOTE: Please be advised that Shadwen does not run on older MacBooks. Requires at least Intel HD Graphics 4000 or better. All Macs produced since Late 2013 are able to run the game.
    Recommended:
    • OS: OS X version Mavericks 10.9, or later.
    • Processor: Intel Mac 2,7GHz or greater
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 4.1
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Keyboard, Mouse/Trackpad with Secondary click enabled. *NOTE: Please be advised that Shadwen does not run on older MacBooks. Requires at least Intel HD Graphics 4000 or better. All Macs produced since Late 2013 are able to run the game.
    Minimum:
    • OS: steamOS 2.0 (64bit)
    • Processor: Intel quad-core 2.0 GHz or dual-core 2.6 GH
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 4.1 Nvidia GTX 650 or greater
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Shadwen runs best with proprietary drivers and may not function correctly with open source drivers. Please note that Shadwen might not work correctly on all Linux distributions.
    Recommended:
    • OS: steamOS 2.0 (64bit)
    • Processor: Intel quad-core 2.6 GHz or dual-core 3.6 GH
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 4.1 Nvidia GTX 660 or greater
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Shadwen runs best with proprietary drivers and may not function correctly with open source drivers. Please note that Shadwen might not work correctly on all Linux distributions.
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Very Positive (155 reviews)
Recently Posted
EVERT
( 7.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 30
EVIL SPIRITS! DARK SPIRITS! 10/10! this game was really fun, can get abit repetitive but didnt mind me that much, it has replay value aswell wich is nice
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Questionable Saint
( 1.3 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
Certainly my cup o' tea besides a few minor annoyances. I love stealth games, and I love the cutscenes, it reminds me of the old thief games and it's gorgeous and enjoyable.

-Now if you're playing on a laptop like me, this game has framerate drops worse than Skyrim does with my 90 mods installed. That's on my system, which isn't a bad setup just a laptop that gets a little overheated when I click on file explorer.
-Lily takes care of herself but she can act a little wonky at times, running backwards and sometimes leaving hiding spots for no real reason. Fortunately the guards can't see her no matter what so no big deal.
-The time freeze was a neat idea, I love it for when you get spotted, makes things whole lot easier with less loading screens just rewinding time. However, I don't need my game to be frozen 24/7 except when I'm holding down Q or actively moving my character. Actually it's downright annoying. One hour into this game if you aren't just constantly keeping your finger held down on the Q button than I'm impressed. I think it would have worked worlds better if it froze/slowed down time when you held Q, so basically the opposite of what it is now. Yes it's a puzzle hybrid, but thinking on one's feet is important in stealth games.

-Overall the game is gorgeous. Characters actually look Dark Ages, there's tons of neat dialogue adding stuff to the background (if you're holding down Q to hear it, because the dialogue freezes too when time stands still)
-It is a very interesting take on a stealth game with the mixing of puzzles (mostly mixed through adding Lily who you have to escort through the levels.)
-There's an intriguing story told in a fun way going on
-You can be a sociopath murderer or keep everyone alive, and hence basically causing you to want to play the whole game twice, that's always nice.

I like the game, I really do.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Shamankingvc2005
( 0.9 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
it was glitchy as it was bad game
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Nanyan
( 17.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 27
An interesting stealth game, probably not a must-have, but worth it's price.
Did 2 playthroughs for all achivements within 17h.

The core feature, stopping time when the player doesn't do anything and the posibility to rewind time from the end of a level back to the beginning, is it's biggest flaw for it makes things way to easy.
There are 3 difficulty levels:
- easy
- easy with highlighted guards
- easy with highlighted guards and sight cones

There are two styles to play the game:
- start havoc and wait for the sidekick AI to find a path past all guards
- lure singe enemies away from their groups and kill them all one by one.

The game offers craftable traps that come in 4 sorts, each with 2 tiers. Sadly there isn't much use for them. Frankly, the only time I used one was to blow up 2 armored guards in a "kill everyone"-achievement run.

Neither the AI of guards nor of the sidekick Lilly is worth mentioning.

PhysX tends to do some strange things, like killing every guard that dares to step onto one of the loot boxes.


What I hope for in a sequal:
- actual medium and hard difficulty
- guards beeing able to see the grappling hook rope
- neutral NPCs
- less havoc
- use cases for traps and decoys
Helpful? Yes No Funny
MASTERPIMP
( 3.8 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
I just bought this last week and now it's on sale, still worth it though.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
comrad5055
( 4.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
This games unique mechanic is very fun. The game does feel a little short, but it does offer some replay value by choosing different ways to play.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
FlyingPinkPony
( 7.3 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
Overall: Would recommend. A solid stealth game with a number of unique elements.

Pros: Interesting blend of mechanics. It's a fusion of a stealth game and an escort quest, but a well done one and the mechanics work together well. You play a sneaky assassin with a grappling hook breezing through the levels to murder a king but you must escort a little girl around/through the guards. The core patterns work well, the basic jumping, sneaking, and stabbing is fun. There is also a rewind mechanic where you can undo any actions that don't go the way you want.

The achievements can push you to go a kill everyone, or spare everyone run but there isn't any other gameplay hooks pushing you towards a direction you are free to do what works for you.

Cons: Controls are a little clunky and there are gameplay bugs, but the rewind mechanic forgives the vast majority of issues since you're allowed to freely rewind time if the character misjumps.

Gameplay can get a little repetitive as there are only two enemy types and new mechanics are rarely introduced but the core gameplay is solid enough to carry it along. Crafting is also a little weak, I think I used it once over the course of the game.

Overall though it's a solid pickup and well worth the price point. It won't keep you for more than 5-6 hours but it's a highly enjoyable 5-6 hours.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
The Minted Lady
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
Such a pity. I really wanted to like this game, but it was giving me a headache after a half hour. Time stops when you stop, which seems like a great mechanic, until you find yourself stopping often to reposition the camera. Then it's just a nuisance. The controls also seem to be fixed, at least for the controller. I was having a hard time positioning my fingers to keep time moving while trying to rotate the camera and move. Then there was this odd issue where my characters kept crouching even though I hadn't pressed the crouch button. I like a good stealth game but the time mechanic is not for me.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
IIEarlGreyII
( 8.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
A good game that is held back by how frustrating it is.

The character of Shadwen is amazing to play, once you get used to her weird mechanics. She has an amazing grapple ability which is really exciting, and her assassination animations are fun to watch. It's very satisfying to silently swing through the air and land on a guard's head. What is really hard to get used to at first is how time stops unless Shadwen is moving. This is really great for landing that perfect jump or making sure you are landing on the right guard, however it is a completely UNNECESSARY ability considering you can also rewind whenever you want. Didn't stick the landing? Just go back two seconds and readjust. Instead you get this awkward start/stop stutter effect throughout the game that sort of hinders it. True, by the end when you get used to it it can be really amazing, but honestly it would have been more fun at the start if it didn't exist. Or even if you could just toggle it.

However what really, absolutely, and completely holds this game back is LILY. This tiny HELLSPAWN. I am trying so hard to protect her innocence and keeping violence out of her life, but she just decides to run after me constantly so she is always within sight of my murderings. The system to control Lily might as well be non-existent. You can sometimes tell her to go somewhere, it doesn't always work, and the second she gets there she turns around and runs back at you full speed. So if I am trying to hide three bodies I have to keep spamming the T key to try and get her to stay on the other side of the room, which is very hard to do while moving a body. I usually had some success by running to the end of the level and then back tracking, taking guards out as I went, so that Lily would be trapped at the beginning. But even then she somehow finds a way to slip through half the time and you have to spend five times longer getting through the area rather than if you were alone.

Overall I am still recommending this game, because it has amazing visual style, mixed in with some really great assassination mechanics. If they had made the time stopping toggle, and if they had Lily move only when you called her, then this would have been a real gem. As it is it's only so-so, but worth it for the chance to be Shadwen.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Agent Lucy Red Hen
( 8.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
It's ultimately worth a buy, worth a play.

+++PROS+++
I like stealth games, and this one's spin on stealth was enjoyable and to be learned from. You play as an assassin, but the main challenge is clearing a path for a little girl; getting yourself through would be easy.

The game cuts out waste. Doors and switches trigger automatically, and you can rewind time by the frame to correct mistakes; no deaths or respawns. Time does not move unless you move. This does, however, make it more like a puzzle game.

Escort missions are traditionally dreaded, but the girl's AI is written in a way that she will never cause you trouble and you will actually like her for how "smart" she is. She will never get caught and the game only ends by your own mistakes.

The story is simple, nothing too fancy, but the setting and world building works very well, even if conventionally told through NPC dialogue.

---CONS---
The gameplay can get repetitive. The levels are pretty open and you have freedom to choose how you want to do things. That said, things are so loose that you can bumble around blindly until the girl moves forward. I found myself often dangling crates in front of guards, making a racket, gathering all guards to me while they stupidly looked at my floating crate and wondered what was going on.

There is a crafting system, but I hardly used it. I just didn't need the items. So I just ran around the whole game with a grappling hook and never used the knife either.

The morality system is like many; a trite, binary kill or spare. Whether you want a bad ending or not, having this system makes players commit entirely to one route. It is also upsetting when you're an assassin and you never get to kill anyone. In this case, it was also easier to not kill anyone, not harder. Lastly, the endings upset me. Was I being punished with a less desirable ending for sparing everyone? Or is the characters' parting the happier ending because it's good for them? Am I supposed to believe the girl was better off alone?
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
16 of 17 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
18.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 7
I love stealth games. I love FrozenByte's games. I loved this game. I think that is strange considering it is a weird hybrid of stealth gameplay, puzzle mechanics and escort mission, but it works.

There's two ways to approach this in my opinion. Either you take it as a pure stealth challenge and try to make a path quietly by all guards like a real assassin or you carve a blood trail figuring out how to kill all guards without raising a huge alarm. In either case, it is essential a series of puzzles that must be approached using some intelligence. You've got a series of tools at your disposable to distract or kill guards.

Though there isn't much of a story, I appreciate the subtle story telling through guard dialogue and small conversations with Lilly. Far too many games are heavy handed with long ♥♥♥ CG cut scenes that you can't skip, none of that here.

I'd advise people to watch a youtube video of the gameplay, but if you do like real stealth games (i.e. Hitman, not Assasin's Murder-A-Million-Guards Creed) then this game is for you.

Edit: Further note, the story does change somewhat depending on how you deal with guards. I noticed inter level dialogue changed on my playthrough killing guards. That is a nice detail worth mentioning.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
30 of 48 people (63%) found this review helpful
52 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 11
*guard trips over a barrel*
"ALEERT SOMEONE IS HERE"

*Guard is stuck between boxes and breaks one*
"SOMEONE IS HERE"

*Lily stands in the middle of the guards*
"No one around. It was just my imagination"

*shadwen uses grappling hook and smashes into a guard*
"I think I heard a noise"

*guard is stabbed in plain sight*
"ITS THE EVIL SPIRITS"

*guard touches a falling box*
"ITS THE EVIL SPIRITS"
*guard dies*

10/10, Game of the Year -IGN
Would EVIL SPIRITS again
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
Unique game that use time freeze to your advantage same as Superhot but with colorful environment and stealth system.
The plot You play as assassin Shadwen. Your mission is to assassinate the King. You encounter orphaned girl Lily in your way and follow you with your quest without knowing the real purpose to her.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
8.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
It's ultimately worth a buy, worth a play.

+++PROS+++
I like stealth games, and this one's spin on stealth was enjoyable and to be learned from. You play as an assassin, but the main challenge is clearing a path for a little girl; getting yourself through would be easy.

The game cuts out waste. Doors and switches trigger automatically, and you can rewind time by the frame to correct mistakes; no deaths or respawns. Time does not move unless you move. This does, however, make it more like a puzzle game.

Escort missions are traditionally dreaded, but the girl's AI is written in a way that she will never cause you trouble and you will actually like her for how "smart" she is. She will never get caught and the game only ends by your own mistakes.

The story is simple, nothing too fancy, but the setting and world building works very well, even if conventionally told through NPC dialogue.

---CONS---
The gameplay can get repetitive. The levels are pretty open and you have freedom to choose how you want to do things. That said, things are so loose that you can bumble around blindly until the girl moves forward. I found myself often dangling crates in front of guards, making a racket, gathering all guards to me while they stupidly looked at my floating crate and wondered what was going on.

There is a crafting system, but I hardly used it. I just didn't need the items. So I just ran around the whole game with a grappling hook and never used the knife either.

The morality system is like many; a trite, binary kill or spare. Whether you want a bad ending or not, having this system makes players commit entirely to one route. It is also upsetting when you're an assassin and you never get to kill anyone. In this case, it was also easier to not kill anyone, not harder. Lastly, the endings upset me. Was I being punished with a less desirable ending for sparing everyone? Or is the characters' parting the happier ending because it's good for them? Am I supposed to believe the girl was better off alone?
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
Such a pity. I really wanted to like this game, but it was giving me a headache after a half hour. Time stops when you stop, which seems like a great mechanic, until you find yourself stopping often to reposition the camera. Then it's just a nuisance. The controls also seem to be fixed, at least for the controller. I was having a hard time positioning my fingers to keep time moving while trying to rotate the camera and move. Then there was this odd issue where my characters kept crouching even though I hadn't pressed the crouch button. I like a good stealth game but the time mechanic is not for me.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
17.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
An interesting stealth game, probably not a must-have, but worth it's price.
Did 2 playthroughs for all achivements within 17h.

The core feature, stopping time when the player doesn't do anything and the posibility to rewind time from the end of a level back to the beginning, is it's biggest flaw for it makes things way to easy.
There are 3 difficulty levels:
- easy
- easy with highlighted guards
- easy with highlighted guards and sight cones

There are two styles to play the game:
- start havoc and wait for the sidekick AI to find a path past all guards
- lure singe enemies away from their groups and kill them all one by one.

The game offers craftable traps that come in 4 sorts, each with 2 tiers. Sadly there isn't much use for them. Frankly, the only time I used one was to blow up 2 armored guards in a "kill everyone"-achievement run.

Neither the AI of guards nor of the sidekick Lilly is worth mentioning.

PhysX tends to do some strange things, like killing every guard that dares to step onto one of the loot boxes.


What I hope for in a sequal:
- actual medium and hard difficulty
- guards beeing able to see the grappling hook rope
- neutral NPCs
- less havoc
- use cases for traps and decoys
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
8.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
A good game that is held back by how frustrating it is.

The character of Shadwen is amazing to play, once you get used to her weird mechanics. She has an amazing grapple ability which is really exciting, and her assassination animations are fun to watch. It's very satisfying to silently swing through the air and land on a guard's head. What is really hard to get used to at first is how time stops unless Shadwen is moving. This is really great for landing that perfect jump or making sure you are landing on the right guard, however it is a completely UNNECESSARY ability considering you can also rewind whenever you want. Didn't stick the landing? Just go back two seconds and readjust. Instead you get this awkward start/stop stutter effect throughout the game that sort of hinders it. True, by the end when you get used to it it can be really amazing, but honestly it would have been more fun at the start if it didn't exist. Or even if you could just toggle it.

However what really, absolutely, and completely holds this game back is LILY. This tiny HELLSPAWN. I am trying so hard to protect her innocence and keeping violence out of her life, but she just decides to run after me constantly so she is always within sight of my murderings. The system to control Lily might as well be non-existent. You can sometimes tell her to go somewhere, it doesn't always work, and the second she gets there she turns around and runs back at you full speed. So if I am trying to hide three bodies I have to keep spamming the T key to try and get her to stay on the other side of the room, which is very hard to do while moving a body. I usually had some success by running to the end of the level and then back tracking, taking guards out as I went, so that Lily would be trapped at the beginning. But even then she somehow finds a way to slip through half the time and you have to spend five times longer getting through the area rather than if you were alone.

Overall I am still recommending this game, because it has amazing visual style, mixed in with some really great assassination mechanics. If they had made the time stopping toggle, and if they had Lily move only when you called her, then this would have been a real gem. As it is it's only so-so, but worth it for the chance to be Shadwen.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
11.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 21
I was bitten by the Shadwen bug and I am smitten. This is one of the best games I've ever played! In terms of mechanics and style, it IS the best game I've ever played! I'm a stealth nut for one, so maybe that is a factor, but I really think this is a huge step in the right direction for the stealth genre and possibly many other "adventure" avenues.

Some people can't wrap their head around the time freeze function, and they give bad reviews, or they talk about the NPCs being dumb and scoff at the mediocrity. Like, does that really F'ing matter? It's a game! The true joy comes from how many ways you can do one thing. Maybe you got to already enjoy the cerebral part about it. Maybe some people don't have cerebrals, I don't know. Some people talk a lot of hate while at the same time commending it, so why? I'm here to say, This game f'ing rules!

I've played a lot of stealth and this one is by far the most original. Simple concept, simple rules at your disposal, yet so immensely engageing. Swinging from your grappling hook is an art, as well as how you get your orphan to the end. I wish you could do this kind of thing in say, Batman, or Assassin's Creed, or any other stealth game.

I know it's not perfect. I think that Shadwen is the first of it's kind and it has a lot that it could offer in future titles that could add some more depth and range. It's going to spawn some interesting games in the future I think. It's not perfect, but that goes for a lot of first titles that then become an epic series later on, and I love a good niche.

So for all you nay-sayers I say "STOP CRAPPING ON SHADWEN! IT'S SOMEBODY'S HERO AND WE WANT MORE!"

yeah... thanks for listening
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
I just bought this last week and now it's on sale, still worth it though.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
614 of 779 people (79%) found this review helpful
30 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
5.4 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: May 17
Product received for free
Escort Mission: The Game

Welcome to Shadwen, a third person stealth game from Frozenbyte, the folks who brought us Trine. You play as Shadwen, a ruthless killer turned babysitter for a girl called Lily. You come across Lily being questioned by a guard because she’s eating an apple and so you take out the guard to help Lily. Despite the fact that you’re on a mission to kill the King, you let Lily stick around and it seems that her main purpose in the game is to natter on about how awful killing is. You’ll have to make sure Lily can safely move through the game’s levels without being spotted.

Visually, Shadwen is a bit of a mixed bag. The graphics are great, even on medium it’s a good looking game and the overall look of the game helps get across the dark and uncivilized nature of the city you find yourself in. The animations are what let the game down in the visual department. The animations are really clunky and in some cases unnatural, the movement of the guards was particularly clunky and some of Shadwen’s animations fall into the unnatural category. I was also a bit disappointed by the lack of any movement for dead guards when you drag them around, they’re completely rigid and it just looks weird.

The actual gameplay in Shadwen is also hit and miss. Most levels are split up into three different sections and your goal for each of these sections is to help Lily reach the end of the level. There will be several different places for Lily to hide and she’ll move from hiding spot to hiding spot so long as there aren’t any enemies in the way. The way forward for Lily can either be achieved by simply killing the guards in her way or by distracting the guards away from Lily so that she can slip past. While killing the guards is obviously a lot easier I found that distracting them was actually a bit more enjoyable. Although having Lily as a companion does lead to some interesting challenges in dealing with guards, I didn’t feel like she was important to the game at all. Other than using her to open doors you have no interaction with Lily and her only purpose within the game is to give you a reason to kill or distract guards. I get that she’s necessary for that purpose but it would have been nice for her to have other stuff in the game to do. More on Lily later.

Killing being easier doesn’t mean it’s entirely safe. First off, if a guard spots a dead body they’ll move to investigate and once they get close they’ll enter an alert status and shout out, triggering nearby guards to enter alert status too. A guard in alert status (who hasn’t spotted you) will run towards the nearest alarm bell and if he reaches it it’s game over for Shadwen. It is possible to pick off one guard in alert status but you’re screwed if more have been alerted. The other way for a guard to enter alert status is if he actually spots you, there’s really not much you can do here as this (in my experience anyway) always leads to death by crossbow bolt. Thankfully you can rewind time!

One of the biggest mechanics in Shadwen is that time only moves when you do and you can also rewind time whenever you want. The whole time only moves when you do mechanic works reasonably well in the game, mostly due to the fact that there’s a key which (when held) makes time continue even when you’re not moving. The problem I have with time moving when you do is that it makes the game considerably easier, even easier when you consider that there are no consequences for failure since you can rewind time. The combination of these two mechanics, while reasonably fun to play around with, make the game feel more like a puzzle game than a stealth game as you’re just trying to figure out the solution that gets Lily safely to the end of the level since if you get something wrong you can just re-do it right away. Maybe that appeals to you but if you’re expecting a traditional stealth game experience or a particularly challenging game you won’t find it here.

While we’re on the subject of difficulty, Shadwen features three difficulty levels: Easy (Line of Sights visible as well as “Helpful Highlights”), Normal (just “Helpful Highlights”) and Hard which features neither. The difficulty levels do not change how tough the enemies are in any way. Helpful highlights consists of enemies who are searching for something being highlighted in yellow, red for enemies in alert status and white for enemies who are speaking. None of these difficulty levels offer any real challenge due to the game’s time mechanics and the fact that the guards are pretty easy to deal with which contributes to the game being far too easy overall. I like to be challenged when I’m playing a stealth game and Shadwen just didn’t challenge me in any way.

Circling back to the levels themselves, the game has fifteen of them. The levels start out with reasonably short lengths but they gradually increase in length and difficulty as you progress through the game. An increase in difficulty essentially equates to how many enemies there are and how close together they are. Obviously, the more guards there are the more guards you’ll need to kill or distract and if they’re closer together it’s harder to create opportunities to pick off guards one by one though it doesn’t make distracting guards much more difficult. The level design in the game is fairly basic in the game and despite different settings the enemy layouts are often identical, for example you’ll find two enemies talking while another guard patrols nearby, there just isn’t enough variation in the levels. The level design also contributes to the game being far too easy because you never need to deal with more than two or three enemies at a time.

Being a stealth game, the quality of the AI is rather important. Unfortunately Shadwen’s AI is fairly weak. The AI will notice movement (if you’re far enough away they won’t realize you’re actually an enemy so they’ll come to investigate) and they will check out any sounds they hear but there are some serious flaws. The biggest issue is that (in my experience anyway) the guards don’t always see Lily and so you can actually instruct her to move to a new location and she’ll walk past the guards, pretty much makes escorting her pointless. The other problem with the AI is that they’re just too simple. Yes, they will detect you but if three guards go to investigate something and only one comes back, he doesn’t bat an eyelid and they seem to have absolutely no periphery vision as I was able to leave dead bodies or even walk beside enemies and they wouldn’t notice.

Just a couple of things to wrap up. Firstly, I didn’t find Shadwen, Lily or the overall story particularly interesting. The story just didn’t grab my attention and neither did the characters. However, I did enjoy the dialogue between guards, they did a good job at world building with the dialogue and while there were only three or four different voice actors the conversations were usually new instead of being repeated. The fifteen missions do offer a fair amount of content for the price but there’s not much in the way of replay value unless you want to go back and replay the levels for achievements (you’ll need at least two playthroughs to unlock them all). I would have liked to have seen a little more variation with the guards since there were only two different types and even then the only real variation was that one of the guards required an aerial attack to kill.

Verdict

Shadwen may be enjoyable for some but its weak AI and the fact that it’s far too easy really let it down. If you’re looking for a stealth game that’s not too challenging you might want to grab it, if not I’d suggest waiting for a sale.

Lone Ranger Reviews.

El K.
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