Oct 5, 2013A let down. It was a promising concept, I even voted for this game in Steam Greenlight. If you've seen the gameplay trailers, you've seen most of the game. It took me a really long time to play (I rarely ran), that is 2h 20min, so it's not a 50min game for me. Still, there's not much gameplay and it's more of an "experience" like Journey, To the Moon (both are a lot better than Shelter)A let down. It was a promising concept, I even voted for this game in Steam Greenlight. If you've seen the gameplay trailers, you've seen most of the game. It took me a really long time to play (I rarely ran), that is 2h 20min, so it's not a 50min game for me. Still, there's not much gameplay and it's more of an "experience" like Journey, To the Moon (both are a lot better than Shelter) and Dear Esther (this one's actually worse well, subjectively speaking). This game is definitely not worth its price, buy it for a few bucks and treat as a single evening entertainment (just like a movie).… Expand
Nov 13, 2015This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This was certainly a very unique experience. It was a harrowing tale about the reality of life and nature; it can be sudden and unforgiving. In this instance you are a momma badger. You need to look after your cubs and keep them safe from all the dangers of nature. You need to hunt and collect food for them, and keep them safe from predators. Gameplay wise, it was actually pretty fun and entertaining (especially when you name all of your cubs XD) I really enjoyed hunting the foxes and it was very amusing and satisfying when you would catch one. It really required you to pay attention to your surroundings and always be on the lookout. You could look away for one second and then just like that you hear a noise and a cub is missing. It had a very unique art style and the music was good too. It did have its problems though, in that there was little to do at times and some of the actions were just repetition after a while. Also some of the times when you couldn't sprint seemed painfully slow. It also seemed a little short. However I really liked that it showed you the harsh reality of what life is and for that, it gets a 7.5/10… Expand
Oct 9, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Shelter is a fresh concept, one worth exploring, that offers the idea of trying to keep an animal family alive in a world that really does seem to want to kill them. Nature is a harsh thing and Shelter does have moments where it feels like a triumph of skill and audacity to simply keep your pups alive when it they seem predestined to die. The art style is beautiful, but that's a given if you've seen even a screenshot of this game and the atmosphere can be intense when it calls for it.
That being said, this game does a lot in a short time only to then stops abruptly; I can understand the artistic reasoning for it, it just seems like the game never came to some kind of conclusion. There was surviving through one bad situation after another only to get unlucky; nature is harsh and it does seem appropriate that something out of nowhere proves to be your doom but the fact it is unavoidable takes control out of your hands to simply end the game.
The linear nature does detract somewhat from the tension as everything is scripted to happen and can be exploited in future play-throughs (until the unavoidable death); a more open-ended game might have done wonders for making the game a battle for the family's survival for as long as possible only for the player to finally be caught off guard or overwhelmed. Shelter is not a bad game, by any stretch, its just one that was so good it was a shame they didn't go further. Here's hoping they continue to innovate and can make a good game even better.… Expand
Jan 2, 2014Shelter has everything you could want from a simple atmospheric indie game. It’s the perfect length and it’s got the right cast of characters in a momma badger and her 5 badger pups in need of -you guessed it- shelter. But the bad camera, the odd physics, the simple, repetitive, and slightly broken design and the confusing map breaks the immersion and detracts from the overall experience.Shelter has everything you could want from a simple atmospheric indie game. It’s the perfect length and it’s got the right cast of characters in a momma badger and her 5 badger pups in need of -you guessed it- shelter. But the bad camera, the odd physics, the simple, repetitive, and slightly broken design and the confusing map breaks the immersion and detracts from the overall experience.
There's something to be said for games that stretch the definition of what a game is and can be. There's something to be said for games that take a risk of providing the player with a simple atmospheric interactive experience that’s only about as long as the average movie.
Shelter is one of those art-house games that takes a risk and almost but not quite delivers on it.
The premise behind Shelter is simple: You are a badger. You have 5 badger babies (cubs? pups?) and your job is to move them from the safety of the den you’re in and then safely get them somewhere else that’s safe.
The key word there of course is “safe”. And the world you are in is anything but. The little badgers need food regularly and while there’s plenty of apple trees, root vegetables and little huntable critters along the way, it’s not always clear which little badger has a full tummy and which one going to turn gray and die of starvation. And should you figure out a system where everyone gets their fair share of meat and vegetables, the other thing on the menu of course is badger pup and there plenty of hungry hawks and foxes who would love a few baby badger hors d’oeuvres on the hoof.
But the problem with Shelter is that isn’t very well made. The movement and controls are all quite rough. The path you’re supposed to take is anything but clear and it’s quite easy to get lost and turned around which I guess is sort of the point. It still doesn’t make for a very rewarding experience when you’ve got 5 badger brats whining to be fed, a hawk circling overhead and you’re not even sure they’re all even following you. Again, might be the point, still not rewarding.
And then the interactive experience breaks immersion when you get reminded that you not, in fact, a safety conscious momma badger by the overused simplistic textures and the polygonal flora you keep seeing the wrong side of.
Had Shelter been tightened up, even a little, it could have been a solid 8.5. But the slightly broken nature of the game detracts too much from the experience, making it a 7 at best. Worth buying and playing at the right price, but be prepared to be slightly frustrated at the clunky design.… Expand
Sep 14, 2015This game is definitely original, it is also beautiful (although the trees have an annoying tendency to obstruct the camera). As others have noted, it is also short and replayability is low. However, the "story" remains with you after your playthrough (even though I didn't find it "emotional"), so it is still worth trying if you can get it on sale--I tried it for $3 through GOG.com andThis game is definitely original, it is also beautiful (although the trees have an annoying tendency to obstruct the camera). As others have noted, it is also short and replayability is low. However, the "story" remains with you after your playthrough (even though I didn't find it "emotional"), so it is still worth trying if you can get it on sale--I tried it for $3 through GOG.com and found it worthwhile at this price point.
BUG NOTE: the "night level" has a bug where you pick up a food item only to be unable to drop it or interact with anything else (thus making feeding the litter impossible). The only way to get by this bug is to close the level and reload it from the main menu, losing whatever progress you made in the level.… Expand
Aug 28, 2013This review contains spoilers. I must say I am yet to finish the game, I am on the third "level" (the one with the raging river), but got stuck and that presents an opportunity to molt from badger back into human form and try to write a few thoughts down.
I must say, the game introduced itself a bit harsh to me, because in the first few minutes I had no freaking idea what to do. I could quickly determine the controls move the camera with the mouse, standard WASD movement, "crouching" with Control, left-click calls for your kids, or grab the item in front of you but I was confined to a few meters of an underground den with five of my offspring. One of them did not move at all, was quite different color than the others, and could not do anything with him. I don't want to completely spoil the beginning, so I just say that this was not a bug, it's a feature, a steep uphill start of the learning curve. Because in the end I learned that the hungrier the little badgers are the more grayish they become. So, comparing the colors give you an advice which one to give the food to. Anyway, when the family is whole the game starts, indicated by the appearance of the creators' names, and you can leave the den. The following few minutes are pretty straightforward, with help from on-screen advices of your badger's abilities. You learn how to gather food, eventually you can try yourself at hunting (f***ing frogs...), and become a professional badger mom.
If you anticipate an open-world, sandbox survival game, you'll be disappointed, just as well if you'd like to see your badger get involved in jump-kick duels with other forest animals. Most of the time you will scour the area for food, mostly apples, carrots and some other thingies you pull out of the ground. Sometimes you get to hunt other animals, but be careful, you get one shot each time, so you better succeed. In fact I quite understand the frogs that once they reach the safety of water after being chased around they would not stick their noses out again, but still, f**k them. Luckily, in my experience, it is not a matter of utmost importance to be a good hunter; a vegetarian diet still provides enough nutrition for the kids to not die of hunger, and vegetables does not flee or hide.
But the time will come when _you_ better do that. A giant bird of prey patrols the sky at the end of the first level, and it is a deadly threat to the kids. But you must cross that field, you just have to. Do what your instinct tells you (or me), stay in high grass, and only move when the bird is moving away from your position (its shadow is a great help). Don't try to outrun it on long distances. When you reach the knocked over trunk at the other side of the field, you're safe. At least until the next level starts.
It is nighttime, and I must say the game becomes more a survival horror than the Resident Evil series recently. It's dark, with only one or two meters around you lit up, and strange noises can be heard. And sometimes _something_ gets close. A branch cracks just a few meters away, and your offspring start to flee, getting out of your "aura" quickly. You cannot call them back, so you must follow them if you want to see all of them again. That is where I lost the first little badger. I'm not saying I started to cry, but frankly, what I felt was far from happiness.
And that is where the game is the strongest. You may or may not like the style of the graphics, but somehow you get attached (at least I did) to those five little badgers whose survival depends entirely on you. They may spot the food, gather and hop excitedly around it, but they can't get it, they need your help. They would be easy prey for that bird, but with caution you can lead them to safety.
Other than that the only thing remaining to "review" is the music, but I think that is even more subjective than the graphics. Personally, I like it. I am sure they spent a great deal of time with it, too.
At last, let me tell you why I gave it an 8, instead of 10, which otherwise the game would deserve, in my opinion. First, I think it has no real replay value. There are no difficulty levels, and the levels are pre-made. I may start it over again some time after I finish it, but I think there will be no surprises left by that time. However, that still would only decrease the score to around 9.8, but, as I mentioned in the sentence, I managed to be stuck on the third level. Not adventure-like stuck, not knowing what to do or where to go, but bug-like stuck in the river after an (unsuccessful) frog-chase (really, f**k those guys). My badger just stood in the water, and did not react to the controls. The only option was to exit, and restart the level. Yep, no checkpoints, except at the start of the levels, but that alone wouldn't be a real issue. However, bugs exist, and this game looks bug-free otherwise.
Final words: I don't know how long the game is, but, I must say, I did spend far more than 9 euros on far worse games, so I am not complaining.… Collapse
PC PowerPlayOct 28, 2013If you found Proteus poignant and Gone Home felt like going home, Shelter will break your heart. [Nov 2013, p.88]