Game Review: Shelter [PC]
Back in August I wrote a small preview post on a little game called Shelter. It has since been released on the Steam store so I managed to get my hands on it once again with the final release build. For those that are unsure of what Shelter is, it is a survival adventure game that puts you into the body of a Badger and her cubs. You need to make your way through the world protecting and feeding your children to get them to a safe shelter where they can grow up in peace. There are many dangers along the way and you find yourself being more attached to the cubs than you would have thought.
Zones are very linear, there’s not much room to explore the world, but that doesn’t detract from the emotional commitment you make to protecting your young. It took me approximately an hour and a half to complete the game, so it’s not an epic adventure that will make you spend hours of your life taking your time meticulously planning everything. Yet, it fits the game very well. It’s a story of how the badgers live their lives, surviving the obstacles that nature throws at them and overcoming them. To me there’s not a whole lot of replayability value unless you want to make sure you can complete the game with all of the cubs intact. Shelter isn’t a difficult game that will make you sit there for hours on end pondering how to best get past an obstacle, but you will most likely end up losing a couple of cubs on the first playthrough unless you like restarting levels.
The soundtrack for the game is nice and relaxing for the majority, to add some immersion the music changes as you delve deeper into the world. It’s not something that really stands out in the sense that you always notice it, but the music sits nicely in the background and makes a nice accompaniment on your journey throughout the game.
Throughout the game you are met with various deadly obstacles which you have to work your way around to ensure your children live to see another day. Ranging from predatory birds to wolves and even to forest fires and raging rivers, you have to stay alert to make your way safely across the beautiful, but deadly world. The scenery and surroundings in the game are wonderfully made, with the world being made up of a hand painted tile that gives the game a very papercraft-esque look to it.
Since you are trying to keep your babies alive you are equipped with some semblance of self-defence for the most part. Your attack is a bite which you also use to pick up vegetables and chase down gophers and frogs to feed to your young. The main dangers vary area to area but one thing that is consistent is the constant need to eat. As you venture through the fields and worry about your babies being eaten by whatever is stalking you, you still need to fill up their little bellies. Over time, the cubs will start turning a shade of grey if they haven’t eaten in a while and that’s a call to you to feed them. The hungrier and smaller the badger, the slower they run so it’s in your best interest to keep them full up of the tasty morsels that you can get your teeth into.
Might and Delight charm once again with Shelter. Though the game isn’t long, it’s worth the price if you’re looking to spend an evening on something small and artsy. While the game tries to build the need of survival and tension, once you get past the beginning area and dangers, the tension dwindles a little bit as most other risks are easily countered and anticipated. For a game of this length, I would have expected a more touching ending. I found that once I had completed the game, I didn’t feel a massive sense of accomplishment from my motherly duties of getting my cublings to freedom.
Shelter is currently on the Steam Marketplace for $9.99/€8.99/£6.99.