Uneven Publications returns gamers to its weird Loathing universe with Shadows Over Loathing. Following the success of West of Loathing, the developer this time takes gamers to its tackle an Eldritch-infested Nineteen Twenties America. Filled with humour, and with its trademark stick-figure graphics plus a justifiable share of fascinating puzzles and vignettes to discover, the sport as soon as once more gives a completely entertaining and decently condensed RPG expertise.
The sport begins with gamers embarking on a bus journey to Ocean Metropolis, coming on the request of their Uncle Murray. Murray owns an antiques retailer, although that is partly a entrance for his search of cursed relics. When gamers arrive, they study that Murray has gone on one other relic hunt, and is now lacking. Hoping to search out their lacking uncle, the participant embark on a hunt of their very own throughout Ocean Metropolis.
Though there’s a continued thread that runs by all the pieces, that is largely a setup for amusing and/or spooky hijinks to ensue. The general plot is essentially by-the-by; it’s a simple cycle of discovering the plot machine whereas its couple of antagonists attempt to construct up a considerably nebulous menace, with out actually getting sufficient characterisation to supply a lot curiosity in technique of motive. There are a number of methods the ultimate encounter can finish, primarily depending on what facet content material has been accomplished.
However, the plot does the job of getting gamers to the place the sport’s enjoyable actually lies: exploring all the weirdness Ocean Metropolis has to supply. Every of the sport’s chapters primarily takes gamers into its personal devoted map, although some puzzles would require gamers revisit previous areas or anticipate a future space to finish. Right here, they’ll discover all types of distinct puzzles and challenges each small, like discovering crystals in order that Crystal can open her retailer, and enormous, similar to fixing all of the mysteries behind the Sandwich witch trials. The writing all through is great, typically taking part in off or commenting on the setting’s strangeness and the varied impracticalities of issues that the online game medium permits itself to disregard. Although the precise finale finally ends up being a bit damp, the leisure worth the facet content material brings ensures the general expertise ends on a extremely passable observe.
Puzzle fixing is a vital aspect, and the sport has a wide selection. Its second chapter is especially noteworthy for its use of time-travel, and might be the sport’s strongest part due to it. A part of the puzzle fixing course of entails managing the character construct and stats. These stats are affected by a large combination of short-term buffs similar to potions, meals, and gear, and everlasting talent upgrades obtained by spending expertise factors in lieu of an outright stage system, so holding onto all kinds of things performs into gamers’ arms in the event that they wish to discover absolutely with out going backwards and forwards. Nevertheless, whereas it’s to the participant’s benefit to gather as a lot as potential, making an attempt to type by all of it within the UI could be a bit fiddly; the sport provides gamers the all choices wanted to do it, however it’s simple to get misplaced or press the fallacious button.
Shadows Over Loathing’s turn-based fight is similar to that of West of Loathing. Gamers are joined by a companion and a pet towards as much as 9 enemies, although mostly round three. On every flip, gamers can use an merchandise and spend Motion Factors to make use of discovered talents and spells, earlier than ending their flip with a daily motion that ends their flip. Fight will be difficult at occasions when gamers come throughout notably hard-hitting enemies, however there are greater than sufficient methods for gamers to beat it. Those that take note of their stats, gear, and abilities will be capable of create a robust character construct with out a lot hassle, however there may be all the time the choice to vary the issue mid-game. Defeat merely places gamers again the place they have been earlier than the struggle began, with some defeats even offering a helpful short-term impact.
The stick-figure artwork model works nicely alongside Shadows Over Loathing’s method to humour and the weird. There’s considerable consideration to element and on offering little touches, whereas the sleek animations do a superb job bringing it to life. Regardless of the straightforward black-and-white palette, the totally different places are distinct, however the sport definitely isn’t afraid to go foolish, notably with totally different footwear giving gamers weird methods of getting round. The music can be very catchy, with an excellent combination of jauntiness and eeriness becoming with the style and setting.
Shadows Over Loathing very a lot picks up the place West of Loathing left off. The 2 video games have a really comparable enchantment, specializing in enjoyable at the beginning however offering loads of depth of their puzzles and exploration to make sure gamers are nicely engaged all through. Exploring Ocean Metropolis presents loads of rewards for gamers, be it satisfaction from fixing a troublesome puzzle or problem, or just an excellent chuckle on the unusual goings on.
Disclosure: This assessment is predicated on a free copy of the sport supplied by the writer.
MUSIC & SOUND
Very humorous writing all through
Some fascinating, difficult puzzles
Tools UI is a bit awkward
Important plot finale fizzles out