Yaran Malak, a clever spy and ferocious assassin, is sent by the guild to infiltrate the evil empire of Gethro III and try to stop it from within. We’ll have to help him in surviving the assassination attempt and discovering that, well, not everything is what it seems in the complicated world of Aridia. Here is our Shadow of the Guild review.
It would be relatively easy to describe Shadow of the Guild as an action platformer with RPG elements, perhaps it’s because of my age but I was more than once reminded of the classic Prince of Persia series. If it was brought to modern times, while still keeping it 2D and with a little bit of Dead Cells thrown in for good measure. Yaran can perform various moves to attack, defend and manoeuvre his way around the levels, but the gist is pretty simple: kill all enemies, solve simple puzzles and get to the end.
As you might have guessed, the more enemies you dispatch and the more experience points you’ll gain. Those can be used to unlock new skills and abilities, along with improving basic stats such as health and mana. Yes, mana, as Yaran can perform various magic spells (at the beginning there’s a chain lightning one), which can also be used to solve puzzles, along with – clearly – disposing of foes.
Unfortunately, while the gameplay feels solid, overall there are a few nagging issues. While the 2D graphics in static screenshots look pretty okay, and the comic book cutscenes showing the gory stealth kills are fantastic, animations are quite shoddy and, in many cases, seem to be missing altogether. Controls are also quite imprecise, with jumping being the greatest problem which, in a platformer, can easily lead to problems. Each jump feels excessively floaty, like in Yaran’s world gravity behaves differently.
Attacks can be combined together to make deadly combos, by using alternatively light and heavy melee attacks. There are also ranged attacks with the daggers, which can also be used to distract people, perhaps to attract them towards your strategically placed traps. There are stealth sections where you’ll have to hide in the shadows and be wary of enemies’ seeing you before you dispose of them. Unfortunately, the one section at the beginning requires the player to restart everything if even one enemy sees you. This is strange since the rest of the levels feature regular checkpoints.
It’s not a long game, as it feels more like the beginning of an episodic series, it’ll be over in a few hours with its overall medium difficulty. The narrative is pretty interesting, as it’s been inspired by Robin Buisson’s book, “La Guilde des Marchands de Pluie” and it works as a sort of prequel to some of the events.
While not a perfect game, Shadow of the Guild is an okay 2D action platformer which feels like a strong base to build upon future chapters in the series. The annoyances with controls and graphics can easily be fixed, and I think it’s fair to give it up to the small five people team of Studio Guilds for their passion and work.
Our Shadow of the Guild review was made possible with a review key provided by the publisher. Shadow of the Guild is available on Steam.
Shadow of the Guild: Shadow of the Guild is an overall solid platformer with some minor annoyances, which provides competent retro gameplay and a strong first chapter for a future series. – Damiano