Generally favorable reviews - based on 54 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 54
  2. Negative: 0 out of 54
  1. Jul 25, 2013
    This is one of the most satisfying and complete tactical roleplaying experiences to come out of 2013 and realistically the last few years.
  2. Jul 25, 2013
    The fact that this game costs less than a night at the movies (Steam price is $19.99, though you can pick it up for 10% off for a very short span after you read this) and delivers a storyline you’ll want to play more than once, as well as the promise of infinite expansion, it’s very easy to recommend.
  3. Jul 29, 2013
    What we have here isn't just a great game, but the potential for even greater ones.
  4. Jul 29, 2013
    Turn-based tactical combat, skills, spells and upgrades, thick and well-written dialogues, great cyberpunk atmosphere, good longevity and a powerful level and campaign editor.
  5. Jul 26, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns stumbles a bit in its effort to re-create on the PC the isometric RPG world gamers fell in love with on classic consoles, but it redeems itself by providing players with a seemingly infinite toolbox to craft their own adventures.
  6. Jul 25, 2013
    Even if you never played the tabletop game or the original Shadowrun console games, Harebrained Schemes has crafted a potent argument for joining in on the fun. Here’s hoping this reawakening is just the beginning of a new lease on life for the Sixth World.
  7. Pelit (Finland)
    Oct 5, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is a bit more simplistic than I had hoped for, but at the same time it is not bad at all. [Sept 2013]
  8. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Sep 9, 2013
    A well-made and entertaining comeback of the old brand-name brings the atmospheric campaign, but mainly its potential longevity thanks to the user-generated content. [Issue#233]
  9. Hyper Magazine
    Sep 4, 2013
    If this is the quality we can expect of Kickstarter games, then bring on Project Eternity and Doublefine Adventure. [Oct 2013, p.57]
  10. CD-Action
    Aug 28, 2013
    Every writer in the game industry should learn from Harebrained Schemes. It’s been a really long time since I was following a game’s story with such pleasure. [CD-Action 10/2013, p.50]
  11. Aug 28, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is a neat return. Maybe you'll miss a sophisticated combat system or long narrative story, but the game makes it up to you with its crime story and its great atmosphere. If you are positive for isometric RPGs, it would be a pity to miss this one.
  12. PC PowerPlay
    Aug 27, 2013
    An entertaining 12 hour romp with some seriously powerful modding tools that promise many more campaigns to come. [Sept 2013, p.82]
  13. Aug 7, 2013
    Even if Shadowrun Returns can't be compared with the giants of the RPG genre, it has enough character to shine and to show us the storytelling potential of the powerful editor.
  14. Aug 7, 2013
    Those that love or have fond memories of Shadowrun will get the most out of Shadowrun Returns, but anyone that enjoys RPGs, XCOM and cyberpunk settings could also find something to love.
  15. Aug 6, 2013
    Nice 2D graphics, intense battles, a right degree of ‘hardcoreness’, almost no show-stopping bugs, well-written story and dialogues – that is quite an achievement for an indie studio.
  16. Aug 5, 2013
    I hadn’t touched a strategy game with any serious intent until Firaxis turned my world upside down with XCOM. Though Shadowrun Returns assumes too much about the player’s prior knowledge about the universe and too often skimps over introducing key gameplay systems, getting over the hump is worth discovering the deeply gratifying strategy game within.
  17. Aug 5, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns aims to bring back the classic RPG feeling — much like BioWare’s Dragon Age did when it was released — and succeeds wholeheartedly. It’s not too deep, has a short main campaign, and has design flaws from being built around a tablet, but it’s still the best RPG in ages.
  18. Aug 2, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns shows how good a Kickstarter project can be. A very solid project for RPG fans, with an excellent setting and a fantastic editor. Is it enough?
  19. GameTrailers
    Aug 1, 2013
    More than enough material to keep the shadows running long into the future.
  20. Aug 1, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns succeeds because, beyond its cyberpunk leanings, it's also a mash-up of many concepts born in that halcyon decade. It's very much of its time, but for many of us, its time was pretty great.
  21. Jul 30, 2013
    Even if you’re discounting any additional future content (and the developers are already hinting at follow-up campaigns post-release), this is a game that deserves your attention right now. A.M.F, chummer, see you in the sprawl.
  22. Jul 30, 2013
    The focused narrative and fighting mechanics work hand in hand to make for a real alternative to more expensive (and expansive) monster-rpgs, without being any less deep or engrossing for it.
  23. Jul 29, 2013
    The result isn't quite a masterpiece, but the game is smart, fun, and best of all, explicitly built with the intention of spurring more creativity in the future.
  24. Jul 29, 2013
    While there are a few flaws in Shadowrun Returns, most notably linearity, the lack of a save function and a slightly under-utilized world, the excellent and consistently fun writing and XCOM-inspired combat make it a worthwhile experience.
  25. Jul 25, 2013
    One the one hand what’s already here is enjoyable and compelling, for the comparatively short amount of time it’ll take you to play through it, but the promise of more makes me feel like Shadowrun Returns is only going to grow in value as time goes on. If the players really latch onto the capabilities of the editor, it’s going to be an incredible rich offering, and one that could theoretically never stop giving.
  26. Jul 24, 2013
    Judged purely as a standalone game, it's an unambiguous success.
  27. 76
    Although its design weaknesses keep it from becoming an instant classic, the game as it is provides a great starting platform for future player-made content and official expansions.
  28. Aug 20, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is an old-style RPG based on a robust and well calculated gameplay, that will entertain all the fans of the genre and a large group of nostalgic. At the same time, this project is also very limited and linear.
  29. Jul 31, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is precisely what it promised to be on Kickstarter: a game that harkens back to the olden days, with HD resolution. Especially older gamers will find nostalgia and fun in this world, expanded by the level editor. For the younger audience the old fashioned imperfections might be too disruptive, but every RPG fan who loves Blade Runner should give Shadowrun Returns a shot.
  30. Jul 29, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is a compelling tactical RPG that delivers a fantastic storyline, but it's less ambitious than we expected. Thankfully, the game has a complete editor for the community.
  31. Jul 26, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is a fun game. It is solid and with enormous potential. What is being shown now is just a small part of what may be achieved and everyone knows that when the community has the necessary tools, they end up doing great things. Harebrained Schemes has managed where to draw the line between the possible and the ambitious, but seems to have behaved too conservatively and it shows with the lack of content. If those responsible and users know how to profit what has been created, we will have a game that will be worth much more. But all of this is about to happen.
  32. Aug 2, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns’ bang-to-buck ratio is largely going to depend on the quality of content that springs up from the devs and the community after release, but as it stands today, it’s a mostly average RPG running in a visually underwhelming engine.
  33. Aug 8, 2013
    The game features good writing, interesting characters and a charming retro style. It's fine for a couple of hours, but don't expect a lot of depth or variety: For a roleplaying game, Shadowrun Returns is exceptionally linear. Most levels consist of confined rooms or streets with no exploration elements to speak of. Character interaction is limited and most quests don't offer any freedom of choice. We have high hopes for the future though: The game ships with a powerful editor and the passionate community is already at work.
  34. Jul 25, 2013
    The bite-sized scope and limited choices available make me more interested to see what Shadowrun Returns will be a year from now, after the community has used the included mod tools to build on it, than in what it is today.
  35. Jul 30, 2013
    Vivid descriptions of the setting and the people you are talking to help to liven up the game, but never enough to make you forget that there is no voice acting. It also lacks the depth you would expect from something set in so rich a universe and, as it stands, Shadowrun Returns does not surpass a classification that goes beyond “a fun little RPG”.
  36. Sep 10, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns will probably please most fans if perhaps not blow anyone out of the water. The campaign is well written and serves as a good introduction for new players. The variety in combat and character creation and dialogue options is great but suffers from a badly implemented autosave system. With lots of new campaigns on the horizon Shadowrun Returns is well worth keeping an eye on.
  37. Sep 2, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns suffers from a few design flaws and a rather short main campaign, but it’s still an entertaining RPG. The strategic combat is interesting, but too easy even on hard difficulty. The RPG system is rather shallow, and none of the games important decisions are yours to make, even though the story is solid enough. This’ll be a nostalgic trip for older gamers and a good introduction to an old fashioned RPG for the younger ones. Sadly Harebrained rely too much on the community for new content.
  38. Aug 27, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is a great role-playing game, which retrieves the features of the original representing them in a perfect title for fans.
  39. Aug 23, 2013
    Any person eager for the heyday of the pen & paper days of RPGs should find this a nice blast from the past.
  40. Aug 9, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is enjoyable while it lasts, thanks in large part to its great writing and enthralling murder mystery.
  41. Aug 5, 2013
    But it's entertaining and engaging throughout, and lovingly faithful to the source material. And that, chummer, is good enough for me.
  42. Jul 31, 2013
    An enjoyable role-playing game with the scent of a classic, if not the essence.
  43. Jul 30, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns meets lots of expectations outlined during the Kickstarter campaign. It's an atmospheric story based on the Shadowrun universe and its adaptations. The game looks like a good "analog" RPG session, with a clear goal and epilogue. Unfortunately the campaign is a simple, one-shot experience, and not a deep RPG system. Don't expect a complex, multi-threaded game with lots of important decisions to make - Shadowrun Returns is not like that, but a really good story makes up for it. And there's the editor that allows to create great things, but requires suitable and talented people.
  44. Jul 29, 2013
    It may not last long and it may have issues with its save feature, but the time spent adventuring in this futuristic vision of Seattle will be well worth any frustrations you may encounter.
  45. Jul 29, 2013
    Though hindered somewhat by game-design oversights and one hell of a game-breaking bug, Shadowrun Returns remains a satisfying strategy-RPG largely defined by its world and lore, but also as a platform for more and more standalone adventures.
  46. Jul 29, 2013
    That’s what Shadowrun Return provides, of course: it’s not just a single tale of murder and techno-conspiracy. It’s a ruleset and a tileset, and a promise of more to come.
  47. Jul 28, 2013
    There are some issues with game difficultly and length, but this is one of the most successful Kickstarters so far – and an excellent retro style role-player in its own right.
  48. Jul 25, 2013
    A nice first dice roll for Harebrained Schemes, but not a critical one. Shadowrun Returns boasts a solid-enough tactical gameplay, but doesn't use it fully enough on this first campaign. You won't feel threatened in combat, and the story is very linear - at least it's a good one. The atmosphere and the fantastic Shadowrun universe are its biggest strengths, so let's hope the community and Harebrained will enrich the game as much as it is worthy to be.
  49. Jul 25, 2013
    Despite the strange omissions and Shadowrun Returns' habitual blinking in the face of bigger gameplay ambitions, it's still an engaging return to a world and fiction that's sat dormant for far too long.
  50. Aug 5, 2013
    Thanks to some well-written dialogue, directing your party of four can be entertaining. However, turn-based battles sacrifice tactical depth for gadgets and gimmickry, while collision detection as well as AI behavior leave room for improvement.
  51. GameStar
    Jul 25, 2013
    As an RPG, however, Shadowrun Returns falls flat on his stomach.
  52. Sep 13, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is a faithful reinterpretation (and in a vague sense, sequel) to the SNES game from 20 years ago, maybe a bit too faithful. Though most aspects of the the wild and unruly Shadowrun world is included, the promise of this game lies more in the open embrace of the mod community than the included adventure.
  53. Jul 26, 2013
    A perfectly capable tactical RPG that's unfortunately light on both the tactics and the RPG. Not really bad in any way, but I suspect this won't really shine until the community get to grips with the editor.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 985 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Jul 25, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is nice. But nice isn't great. Which is a serious disappointment after all those enthusiastic videos from harebrained andShadowrun Returns is nice. But nice isn't great. Which is a serious disappointment after all those enthusiastic videos from harebrained and those positive previews all over the net.

    The story is good. Sometimes it feels like it's written by a pubescent nerd, but anyone familiar with Shadowrun shouldn't be surprised by that. It fits the universe and is very entertaining. (+5)

    The only problem is, that it doesn't feel like any choice you make matters. The story just goes on and on in the same direction, no matter how you behave. But that can be fixed by custom campaigns created by the community. (-1)

    The combat is good, too. Its nothing surprisingly great, but a well made turn based tactical combat system. Not too hard and not too easy, just generally well made. (+4)

    A serious issue are the technical shortcomings:

    * There's no save system except for autosaves on map changes. This can get really frustrating when real life calls and you have to quit before finishing a map. To me, this is a fail at game design. (-3)

    * The UI is clearly made for touch screens. Its just ugly. Everything feels kind of out of proportion and needs to be clicked. Very much not intuitive and no shortcuts whatsoever. Which leads to the next problem.. (-1)

    * No customizable keybindings. You can't even switch weapons with the mouse wheel. You have to click the up and down buttons on the screen. Same goes for spells, which cant be used by pressing a number but have to be clicked. This is really bad design and clearly shows harebrained's origin in mobile gaming. (-1)

    The background graphics are great. Much love was put into them and there's so much detail, it's always great to see such nice 2D graphics. (+1)
    But then there's the character models. It seems the background was much more important to harebrained than the characters. They seriously lack detail in any way and generally look quiet bad. Its nothing game breaking, but really sad to see. (-1)

    The bright beacon of hope for this game is the mighty editor. The community gets all the tools to create their own campaigns and addons which is a lot of fun to do and gives hope for custom content, that fixes some of the negative aspects of SRR. (+1)

    In conclusion, I don't regret backing the game, but I'm also not satisfied with it.
    The technical shortcomings need to be fixed asap to make this nice game for fans into a fun experience for everyone!

    4 of 10
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 25, 2013
    An amazing game living up to the Shadowrun name. If you weren't a fan of the series before you should be now. Beautiful artwork and greatAn amazing game living up to the Shadowrun name. If you weren't a fan of the series before you should be now. Beautiful artwork and great tactical strategy elements mixed with true Shadowrun RPG style. Also the ability to create your own complete runs adds INFINITE possibilities.

    This game has SERIOUS superior re-playability
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 25, 2013
    The game is good, but there are some major down points being glossed over by fan-children or sales representatives.

    1) No save anywhere
    The game is good, but there are some major down points being glossed over by fan-children or sales representatives.

    1) No save anywhere system. You can and will lose up to 30 mins. of progress because you did not hit the checkpoint. There is no save after a certain time either, its only on checkpoint, so if you have to do something, or are otherwise interrupted, you end up going back through a lot of dialogue and decisions you have already made, not just combat.
    2) Unlimited ammo. Got a sweet rocket launcher? Shoot it forever.
    3) Extremely linear; hopefully the user created campaigns are better.

    Still probably a good game for a Shadowrun fan; if youre not a fan, you might want to wait for a sale.
    Full Review »