How it was…
Here it is – winter. A sky dotted with night stars. And here is the lynx, which moves carefully to its shelter and is waiting for its first offspring. Suddenly a wolf howl is heard. The lynx is more likely to run, that there is strength to cover. Her paws are drowning in wet snow …
Distraught and hungry wolves surround her. The leader of this pack bares his teeth, and his children follow the new victim, warming the cold air with their breath. A pregnant lynx quickly runs out of strength … Behind her comes the evil call of hungry wolves. With great difficulty, she climbs a rocky hill and it seems that her life is about to end … But suddenly, a pack of hungry wolves retreats and the pregnant lynx can finally catch her breath and rest. A little further a cave can be seen, perhaps she will be able to hide there, or perhaps this is her future home and just a home for future offspring.
This is how the game Shelter 2 begins. If anyone does not remember it, then this is an extreme indie game that was released back in 2013, where wild lynxes act as the main characters. They have no skills, no special abilities, and they are far from being heroes with machine guns that save the world from a global catastrophe or threat. Studio Might and Delight tries to show how lynxes live in the wild, what they do, how they take care of their offspring, how they go to water and hunt, how they survive in winter and hide under the hot summer sun and much more. In general, a wonderful and interesting story that shows what it is like in nature, but will this reality take root in the reality of the gaming industry?
Life that is not in full swing
After such a storyline passes, which was described at the very top, then you are given the opportunity to give names to your newborn kittens – this detail of the game will not affect anything, it only creates a pleasant atmosphere and an enhanced emotional connection between your virtual family.
At some point, the snows and cold weather go away, and they are replaced by blossoming nature and the warm sun. At the same moment, small kittens begin to meow, thereby giving a sign that they want to eat. Let’s jump ahead and tell you that the core of the game is finding food and getting it. A variety of animals can serve as food: hares, rabbits, mice and even deer! Unfortunately, the world of Shelter 2 cannot boast of a variety of animals. Based on this, the rather vast territories that the Might and Delight studio created began to be empty and boring.
And this is not the end, because I walk through colorful and varied forests, fields and lawns, gradually you begin to realize that Shelter 2 is very empty and in general there is really nothing to do. And the hope that just about, at this very moment, the whole essence of the game will be revealed – is thrown even before the final credits of the game come.
Hunting, which should be at the heart of the game, which should be the main element of all survival, in practice very quickly becomes boring. There is a lot of game (and not varied), and thanks to the bestial “thermal vision” the search for new food will not be difficult. Fishing is based on a simple running after some deer or hare.
The most amazing thing in Shelter 2 is that herbivores lose to carnivores not only in intelligence, but even in speed, so there is a kind of imbalance in the game, where the player, or rather the lynx, is at the top of the food chain.
The main problem is that the game has a monotony and a huge monotony, which also plays a role in the atmosphere and in general on any plot of the game. It is very difficult to show any emotion when you feel like yawning.
The dynamic change of time, weather and year is the same sore subject for the game. As it seemed – soon winter will come and then it will definitely be tight, but no – this part was just as poorly implemented. The fluffy family will not suffer in any way from rain, cold and heat. The only problem in the game is the wolves. And wolves appear in the game once a year, which also does not pose a particular danger. But even if you met these fierce animals, then it will not be difficult for you to escape from them. For the sake of experiment, we deliberately went to these hungry and cruel animals, but no special events happened. The pack did not attack anyone, only the leader of these wolves stole one cub.
After a year has passed, which is about one hour, the lynx kittens begin to grow up and are already able to catch their own food. They stop walking cowardly after their mother in single file, they begin to hunt and kill. At this stage of the game, the whole gameplay turns into a continuous boring passage. Thanks to the primitive mechanics of the game, you have to do the same thing every time, hundreds of times in a row. By the way, the game also has the ability to collect a variety of twigs, mushrooms and feathers, which serve as a kind of “collection”, but even this does not decorate the gameplay in any way. In the game, all that remains is to look at nature, which is made in expanded textures on the wrong side and wait for the moment when all this is over.
Aesthetically, Shelter 2 looks quite beautiful and mesmerizing, and even technically everything is in order. You don’t have to fiddle with the camera or controls – everything in the game is also in perfect order with that. The lynx will clearly obey your commands. Even the soundtrack in the game is quite good, which is usually unremarkable in indie games. But all this does not change the fact that the game is simply boring and monotonous to the pain of the soul: an empty world, few opportunities, no extreme situations. The game was supposed to show all the harshness of the life of a wild animal, but in the end it gave a reason to play some seven-year-old child at mom-lynx, where they need to chase hares and deer every time.