Shelter 2 (PC)

Developer/Publisher: Might and Delight
Release Date(s): Mar 9, 2015
Genre(s): Adventure, Indie, Survival
Platform(s): Windows, Mac, Linux
Language(s): English
Pricing: $14.99 / £10.99 / €14.99
Rating: None yet

From among the many creative titles produced by Swedish developers Might and Delight comes Shelter 2, the sequel to one of its best known games. This new title is an artistic survival game that builds on additional aspects from its predecessor Shelter while broadening the scope of its gameplay and storyline. Does the lure of playing from the perspective of a mother lynx make this a better experience than Shelter’s mother badger focus?

A Family of Kittens

Very similar to how Shelter began with a badger protecting its cubs, the narration begins with a pregnant mother lynx who is being chased by wolves. Naturally, after progressing through the beginning tutorial segments led along by floating stars, the mother lynx arrives at a safe den that will serve as a home base for the duration of the game. The player then proceeds to name each of four newborn kittens to begin the great task of raising them into adulthood. While exploring for food and advoiding predators, the storyteller gives subtle visual clues and dialogue to keep the story moving forward as time passes on. What makes the story so engaging is growing into the role of a caring mother, and every aspect of the game is imbued with this underlying tone. It is something truly natural that you have to experience to understand the motivation it gives the player to invest in the success of this lynx family.

Cool Cat Exploration

Shelter 2 is based on the same premise as its predecessor. The object is to find food and make decisions as to how to find shelter or hunt for more food. You'll have to use each of the lynx's skills, and images show what buttons are needed to execute what action. Enhancing the player’s ability to sense nearby prey and herd the little pack of cats makes it easier to catch a rabbit or interact with the kittens, especially compared to the previous game. The benefit of a new open world to explore is that there is no right or wrong way to complete the game. With the added stamina and map interfaces, feeding or exploring is instantaneously rewarding. Most of the basic gameplay is a little bit of rinse and repeat of previous tasks to get food, but much of this is counteracted by the adventure of searching through each uniquely landmarked area.

Doodles Come To Life

Art direction for this game is just as good as in the first; not a single object is uninteresting, and simple things such as grass and dirt are given many colors and textile patterns. It can be mesmerizing to watch the rippling of flowing water in motion, or the night sky strewn with tons of fancy star designs, or the camouflage of animals blending into the wild vegetation. There are huge environments with various places to climb and all kinds of trees and vegetation to utilize and interact with. All of this is enhanced by the new transformation of the seasons over time and the changes in weather this brings. The visual effects of running through a field, hiding in tall grass, or becoming surrounded by predators amplifies the intensity of each setting you emcounter. There is never a dull moment looking through the mother lynx’s sensory vision or looking into the distance at the serene backdrop of the outdoor horizon.


Ambiance of the Outdoors

The audio that permeates each setting the lynx family comes to explore is spot on, the various animal cries and other environmental sounds are well incorporated into the experience. Music remains subordinate to the natural atmospheric sound effects that accompany the charming lynx's actions. Fortunately, the soundtrack becomes much more present when death approaches or when the family is relatively safe to help make the player more aware of their surroundings. Out of all the audio material used for outdoor effects, the lynx cries never cease to invoke a sense of joy. Every time an animal runs or dies, it sounds very realistic and natural. These effects, along with the simple soundtrack, bring lots of realism to the game, helping immerse the player in the mindset of a real-life lynx.


What’s the Cat’s Meow

One aspect of this game that is noticeable right off the bat is in the freedom the player has to choose what direction to take in raising the kittens. This freedom may seem to present many uncertainties at first, but what makes this game shine are the frequent unexpected occurrences that happen depending on how you behave as a mother. As you are able to move faster than your children, it is very easy to forget where they are located, but this increases the importance of always keeping an eye on every kitten whenever possible. The animal movement can also make hunting a bit tricky, which makes chasing things feel more realistic and challenging. Controls can also be customized by the player to alleviate some of these difficulties. Each aspect of survival is fairly easy to master and that gives each challenging hunt its own sense of victory when you're successful. There are also collectibles you can obtain to earn achievements, allowing for a change of pace for those more focused on exploration than feline combat. 


Created as a visual, appealing game with various aspects of open world and survival elements, Shelter 2 is one game that is engaging to play multiple times all the way through just for the unique experiences of trying to survive in different ways. With its reasonable price, this title is a great recommendation for any wildlife enthusiast or any gamer who appreciates the environment and journey of storytelling genres, as well as arriving the destination of an amazing and novel conclusion, whether you are completely flawless or only a few kittens make it to adulthood. There is no doubt that Shelter 2 is a masterpiece of showing the beauty of a constantly evolving world that gives the player the will to survive against the odds, no matter what. (Ian Doucet)

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