Game Review: Shelter aka ANXIETY THE GAME

Shelter
Developer: Might and Delight
Publisher: Might and Delight
Release Date: 28 August 2013
Genre: Survival
Platform: Steam on PC
RRP: $14.50 AUS

 

Experience the wild as a mother badger sheltering her cubs from harm. On their journey they get stalked by a bird of prey, encounter perils of the night, river rapids crossings, big forest fires and the looming threat of death by starvation. Food is to be found, but is there enough for everyone?

In Shelter, you take on the role of a mother badger raising her babies as they travel to a new safe location over various levels all themed to a particular threat. Protect them from harm, feed them, and watch them grow!

I played this on PC, and it involved using the mouse to act as a camera while the WASD keys moved the badger. It took a little while for me to get used to it: I’m a Nintendo girl at heart and love my Japanese-based controllers. However, the Steam version did occasionally stammer and freeze, which did result in one of my babies dying because I couldn’t find them in the dark. I was completely traumatised: not only did my baby die, but it was entirely not my fault but blamed on the game freezing at the most inappropriate time. I didn’t play the game again for another 2 months.

In this game, shockingly, your babies are SUPPOSED to die. It’s incredibly hard to keep all 5 alive, and it’s much, much easier to keep 4 alive. As it was, in my first attempt only 3 of my babies survived (the second one was grabbed by the eagle before we were in the eagle’s territory, which I didn’t know was a thing that could happen). I was incredibly attached to them and when they died, I had to take a long break from the game before I was mentally prepared to tackle it again.

The soundtrack is lovely and reflects the scenes you’re in: there’s an ominous drum beat that warns the hunting eagle is nearby, the crackling of fire, the whoosh of water as it rushes past. There is no voice acting in this game, but it doesn’t need it. The badgers, however, do make noises. The babies make the cutest little squeaks, they are so adorable.

I really liked the graphics presentation. It’s abstract, with the badgers little more than cute oblongs. While I thought the scenery was also really pretty and I liked the visual interpretation and colour palettes used to indicate different levels, I did sometimes find it a bit difficult to figure out where I was supposed to go based on visual cues, leading me to having to look at walkthroughs on Youtube to make sure I was going in the right direction and not just running around in circles.

This game pretends it’s relaxing but it’s really quite stressful. It’s the most anxious I’ve been playing a game. I wear a heart monitor due to nearly dying a couple of years ago and my heart rate definitely climbs as I play it. I think it’s because I’m a perfectionist and an animal lover so I take the potential loss of one of the babies very seriously. I wouldn’t say it’s a particularly difficult game, but it certainly is stressful rather than relaxing, and a good challenge to try to keep all 5 babies alive.

This studio also released several other games in the Shelter series and I will be playing them as well.

All video games are purchased by myself or gifted from a friend.

Nemo
Nemo

About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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