The next chapter in the Shelter series is upon us, with independent game studio Might and Delight gracing us with Shelter 3. This tranquil exploration game with survival gameplay tactics is available on PC, and I played it via Steam.
The plot is simple – players take on the role of a mother elephant, responsible for keeping the herd safe, whether that takes the form of ensuring everybody remains fed, or the young calves safe from predators. In an effort to reunite the herd with the rest of the elephants, the mother leads the herd across the strikingly beautiful plains, making choices along the way that decide the path worth traveling.
Checkpoints guide the player across the landscape, leading them in the right direction. Each checkpoint creates a fork in the road, giving players the choice on which path to take. By using a mechanic simply called the “elephant senses,” players can track where the next checkpoints are, and strategize the route they’ll take based on that.
Some paths are more dangerous than others; some filled with predators looking for their next meal in one of the elephant calves, others with a very scarce food supply, leaving the player frantically trying to keep the herd well-fed and alive.
Might and Delight’s visual art style is truly the shining force within these games. Their unique signature graphics are filled with different textures, signifying the differences not only in the environment around you, but also setting apart animals of one herd to another, which is a lovely touch.
These graphics also add to the vast biomes that may be traversed within a player’s run, creating gorgeous scenery that truly feels alive.
The greatest flaw in this game is its biggest downfall – the run time of this game is so short, taking less than an hour to complete in a casual setting. I ended up playing for a little over two hours, however, trying to search in different routes to see what I might’ve missed the first time.
Because of the short playtime, however, the emotional maternal response the series is known for has fallen short. Paired with minor bugs and issues, this made playing through the game more of a hassle and less of a labor of love.
If you’re an existing fan of the series before this point, Shelter 3 could well be worth the time for you. With a price tag of $14.99 on Steam (and also included in a number of Shelter bundles), it’s not a steep purchase, and might end up being a fun time-killer.
RATING: 5 out of 10 Baby Elephants