Shadwen is a 3rd person stealth action game by the makers of Trine. The game features familiar stealth mechanics for fans of the genre, but adds some unique twists. I really enjoyed Shadwen, but it is not without its imperfections.
Shadwen is an assassin who is on her way to do what assassins do when she encounters a little girl who is being harassed by a guard. Naturally, Shadwen decides the best thing would be to bring this little girl along with her for her mission – because children make wonderful accomplices. Sarcasm aside, the concept of stealth and assassination while clearing a path for a little girl to follow is a really neat concept. To be fair, you do have the option the complete the entire game without taking a life – I may do a second run just to see if that makes it any more difficult.
The first and most obvious thing I noticed about the gameplay is that time literally stops when Shadwen does, resulting in a cool SUPERHOT-meets-Thief hybrid – and it is really fun.
Shadwen also has the ability to reverse time, meaning even if you manage to mess up while freezing time, you still have an out – even if you die. Sadly, the unlimited mulligans provided by the ability to reverse time remove any need to be careful or plan out your next move. Shadwen is far too forgiving, which is not a good thing for a stealth game. I would have liked to see some kind of limit on Shadwen’s time control- perhaps a hard limit to how many seconds can be consecutively frozen or reversed, or some kind of charge up or cooldown for her abilities. At the very least, they shouldn’t have given us the option to reverse time out of death.
Like I said, the concept of the game is really cool, but the execution is lacking. I spent a good deal of time making sure the little girl had a safe path forward – that is until I realized that the guards literally completely ignore her even if she is standing right in front of them. Not only that, but guards dont notice when their fellow guards go missing. Something that was advertised on the Steam page was the ability to make deaths look like accidents – but even if something falls on a guard, the nearest guard will yell “murder!” and you lose. I also had several instances of things that couldn’t possibly kill a guard killing them, like a lantern falling on his foot.
Shadwen has a lot of potential. I hope to see updates that address some of the things I mentioned here. With a little TLC on AI and less “get out of jail free” cards, Shadwen could be a great stealth title.
Review copy provided by publisher.
Gameplay - 6
Visuals - 7.5
Replay Value - 5
Conceptually really cool, but lacking execution.
Ben is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PCGR. He writes much of the content, manages the site, and does other editorial things that would bore you to tears.