Shadwen is a stealth action game created by Frozenbyte where the player assumes the role as Shadwen who is an assassin on her quest to kill the king that has too much power. On her adventure, she will have to protect Lily who she saves and is scared that she will tell a guard on her. Shadwen will use her tools of destruction to kill guards and hide their bodies to move onto new areas. You can purchase this title on Steam right now for $16.99.
The story is about an assassin named Shadwen on a quest to kill the king because he has too much power. On her way there, however, she comes across a young orphan girl named Lily who looks like she is about to get taken in by a guard, Shadwen kills the guard and is now forced to take Lily because she thinks that she might tell a guard on her. This is as basic as the story will go because in terms of story development the only thing you will see that helps develop the story more is the loading screen. You heard me correctly, whenever you beat the level you will see a loading screen and will then hear Shadwen and Lily speak for about 20 seconds or so. This was severely disappointing in terms of character development but you're most likely not here to play the game for its story.
Shadwen is a stealth adventure game in which you’ll be sneaking around guards, transporting Lily around, and using your tools to either distract or kill the guards. Let’s talk about what it means to be in Shadwen’s shoes. She is a skilled assassin which means she knows how to hide bodies and kill in plain sight without other guards being alerted. Death is imminent in this game, each move is very crucial to your success. You also have a rope that you can use to your advantage to swing onto buildings or climb to higher places to scope out everything around you. You can also use it to pull objects close to you so that you can distract a guard. And this is what you’ll be doing for the entirety of the game – really relying upon that rope. You’re probably wondering, “Well what happens to Lily, does she follow you or do you have to watch her at all?” The question to that answer is no, Lily does absolutely nothing in this game except to just be there, I feel like this game could have totally been without her and it would have been a better game. She is useless and not threatening at all, she doesn’t make you be more cautious or anything. She’s really good at hiding and changing places on the fly, you can even command her to move if you so choose too. She can deliberately accidentally walk in front of a guard and nothing would happen.
As I mentioned earlier there are items in the game that Shadwen can use to her advantage to either distract or kill guards. There are three main items in the game which is a mine (which explodes if an enemy gets near it), a poison dart launcher (which can be placed on a wall strategically so when an enemy passes it kills them right away), and a distractor (which is a ball that rolls around and makes a noise to distract guards). Of course, there are other tools but they are just advanced variations of these three items so no need to go into detail about them. To build these tools you can find chests that are scattered around each level that contain materials to use these tools.
The most important part about Shadwen is that everything is in real time which means that when you stand still everything pauses until you move again. This forces the player to be able to actually look around and really strategize. If things turn out badly you also have the option to rewind time as much as you would like to see how things would turn out or to fix a mistake you made. What is Shadwen then? It’s a game based around escorting Lily around without the worry of her ever being caught. Each area has an increasing amount of guards to deal with. You can either choose to not kill them and just sneak by or kill them deliberately because why not you’re an assassin right? Each new area opens up with new ways in how to kill the guards, this is where the fun part comes in because here the title shines especially in the middle of the game where it gets a lot harder and the areas increase in size which forces the player to really think about what to do next.
The graphics in the game are pretty good for the most part until you start to go crazy and realize that the color purple is the main thing you will be seeing for the majority of the game. It's visually nice to look at but you will soon realize that there isn’t much variety in the environments. Nothing very detailed, just the same old buildings and fire pits to look at that you always saw before in previous levels. The game runs at a smooth fps rate and I had no problems in terms of bugs or glitches so that’s always appreciated.
This is probably Shadwen’s weakest point because although the game is fun to play through there is no memorable soundtrack to really make the game even more enjoyable. The only thing in terms of sound that can be commented on is when you hear a guard that thinks he might have seen you or heard something. The player always has to be vigilant when they hear a guard because the moment that happens you have to take action right away. I think what would have made this game a lot more beautiful or soothing would be if there was an original soundtrack that was placed here. Maybe something that would go along the themes of adventure or triumph! This just would have made the game better than it already is that’s all.
Shadwen is a fun stealth game that offers new ideas to the table such as adding the ability to rewind time and the fact that the game stands still when you do not move. The tools in the game make for some great entertainment when used correctly and makes the game less repetitive than it already is. Shadwen takes a step in the right direction in terms of the stealth genre to improve upon the formula. With a weak story and having absolutely no use to having Lily in the game to start with, it’s a fun ride and something to dive into on a sale.
+ Stealth is great
+ Fun tools
+ Rewind ability / Time stands still
– Lily is useless
– Can get repetitious
– Story is weak