Friday, 01 April 2016 00:00

Shadows Peak Early Access Review

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Shadows Peak. I came here to finish writing my novel. Instead I am sent on a wild goose chase to save Michelle. What is happening on this island?

Shadows Peak is an atmospheric, story-driven horror by Andrii Vintsevych, an independent developer. Andrii is famed for creating several prize-winning Counter Strike maps and has been working in the industry for the past five years. He has created a few games himself but Shadows Peak is his biggest endeavor so far. Shadows Peak will be released episodically. What's happening at Shadows Peak, and will you be safe there?

The story begins with the protagonist, an author, walking down a pier and collecting his thoughts as he approaches his significant other. The author talks about how he and Michelle are on Shadows Peak to investigate the dark legends that come from the island. Out of nowhere a red crystal anomaly appears and all birds drop dead from the sky. The author and Michelle slowly fall unconscious. The protagonist wakes alone to find no cell phone reception or power on the island and a mysterious text. Michelle has been taken and they require souls to return her. The story will keep the player on the edge of their seat and asking questions through the end of the first episode.

The controls and gameplay are intuitive without being too easy. One of the taglines for Shadows Peak is “No Hand Holding” and Andrii shows this with how hard the beginning of the adventure is. Finding a weapon (I found the knife first) was a challenge as the story and exploration are completely non-linear. Initially exploring the island, I was killed by the ghost and the single serial killer, both of which randomly spawn around the island. The only guiding light on the entire island is the lighthouse near where you begin the adventure. Footpaths and roads circle and cross the island giving a small sense of direction as the author explores Shadows Peak. Strange lights, red crystals, ghosts, and a serial killer in hiding are a few of the ghastly aspects that haunt Shadows Peak.

Searching the island was suspenseful as I uncovered more and more of its stories.

Running all over the island becomes frightening as dark shadows form and follow you. The shadows scream as they take shape and chase you until you are breathless. If they succeed in catching you, they eliminate half of your health and make your skin crawl with their bone-grating high-pitched wails. Approaching people on the island can be hazardous as Michelle was the only person you knew. Some will run away from you out of fear while others will try to chop you up for the same reason. The author investigates strange goings-on around Shadows Peak along with the legends he came for.

Running through darkness makes the player edgy, as whispers and cries pierce the air, making your exploit ominous. Finding the serial killer isn't challenging, but surviving a pummelling from his shovel is. When encountering the killer he, like the ghosts, will chase the protagonist until his stamina runs out. The player has to figure out what they need to explore and survive given no maps, information, or tools. Shadows Peak is difficult and the gameplay will make sure of that.

Shadows Peak does have a couple of drawbacks.

One, it's an early access release which means bugs and glitches. As I was exploring the island I constantly found myself getting caught on trees and rocks in the area. This was a major let down as I wasn't getting stopped by a good game mechanic, instead I got stuck on rocks or trees and I had to reload the last checkpoint. Two, the first episode is too short. I was able to explore the entire island and collect most of the items in an hour. The way the story was set up I expected to have more questions by the end of the episode. Instead, I was left saying, “what the hell,” and was surprised.

Shadows Peak is scary and has you search for answers around a sinister island. Anyone who purchases it will receive the new episodes as updates are released. The island is filled with mystery and death, are you willing to go forward and explore not only to save Michelle but to learn the dark secrets of Shadows Peak? With the power out, and the darkness chasing after you, there is no choice.


The Verdict

Shadows Peak is scary and has you search for answers around a sinister island. Anyone who purchases it will receive the new episodes as updates are released.

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Robert Kelly

Rob is a mid-20’s Paladin who spends his free time reading, playing video games, and running D&D. His favorite game is Earthbound and he enjoys the novels of Brandon Sanderson . He writes reviews for games and gives his opinion, good or bad. He has come this far to play and review games, let's see how he does.