Might And Delight Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Might And Delight RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Shelter 2 Review: IAmA Terrible Mother and My Babies Abandoned Me https://www.gameskinny.com/lyt4e/shelter-2-review-iama-terrible-mother-and-my-babies-abandoned-me https://www.gameskinny.com/lyt4e/shelter-2-review-iama-terrible-mother-and-my-babies-abandoned-me Wed, 15 Apr 2015 10:12:16 -0400 Stephanie Tang

"The beauty of nature goes hand in hand with its unforgiving rawness."

A departure from the meditative adventure of a mother badger inching through the comfort of small forest paths and the inherent dangers of wide-open spaces, indie studio Might and Delight's latest title Shelter 2 follows the life of a mother lynx at the comparative top of her food chain.

Comparative, of course, because there are still dangers out in the wild - even for one of the fiercest predators in the forest, particularly when she is pregnant and alone.

"Mother Lynx is pregnant and searching for a den. But the night is cold, and fearsome predators have caught her scent."

The original Shelter relied solely on the gaming experience to carry the weight of the wordless narrative. Shelter 2 uses a combination of Shelter's learn-by-doing framework and the free children's book Might & Delight released called "The Circle" - splicing short children's story fragments between segments of gameplay.

In some ways, you might argue that this tutorial strategy takes away from the truly immersive feel of the first Shelter but the bits of storybook are never overbearing and are few and far in between. 

As a mother lynx unburdened with the terror of open spaces, the world is your oyster. You are strong, powerful, and fast

In fact, I would go so far as to say the time-out for story fits in rather well to help the player adjust from the single, almost rail-roaded escort quest of the first game into a much more expansive adventure.

You don't find out in which direction you're heading towards simply because you see a piece of fruit off in the distance, you are given both a rough map and a "sense" skill that allows you to pick out both prey and necessary landmarks off in the distance. 

Bring up the map with 'M'.

The world has grown bigger, and as a mother lynx unburdened with the terror of open spaces, the world is your oyster. You are strong, powerful, and fast. You can run for days! In fact, the seasons change around you - the snow melts away beneath your paws, spring greens fades to autumn russets, but the story stays the same.

You have somewhere you need to be... and you have to care for your kittens while you get there.

So as you race to catch up with fiendishly sneaky rabbits and other fleet-footed prey like a furred whirlwind, you also realize that your powers of speeding after them are finite and they can get away - easily too, especially if you haven't crept up close enough before they startle away. 

I discovered that you don't really need to pay strict attention to the pinpoint location of your brood - you can call them to you, and even if left alone they will always come running after you as their little legs struggle to keep up. There are no predators that actively hunt your kittens as they grow up. In fact, as they develop, your children grow strong enough to take down and devour small prey all on their own. That's a proud feeling.

If you fail to feed them, however, they will lag behind and soon topple over, piteously wailing and waiting to die - unless you run down something just in time. Most of the small animals that you catch are too small for all five of you to devour at once so you the search for sustenance is constant, and the fear of losing your babies is ever-present.

In Shelter 2, you are capable of picking up your worn-out kitten in your mouth and carrying it while you keep moving far enough to find more food worth hunting - for a time. These babies do not remain static as in the first game - in fact, they don't remain babies for very long.


What do you do when they have grown too big for you to carry, and there is no food to be found? 

The race to run down enough prey takes on an urgency that I rarely feel in a game, and sometimes that growing sense of desperation culminates in a grim chime of music - you've failed and your baby has died.

There is nothing left to do but to watch their poor little body sink away into the long grass, gather your remaining children around you, and set off again to continue your journey.

When I first wrote about my badger adventures in the first Shelter game, I warned readers that if you named your babies, it would end in heartbreak.

(see the official review for Shelter: Shelter Makes Me Feel Like a Terrible Mother)

 In Shelter 2, they named my babies for me. 

These names are largely meaningless since they don't really appear again within the game context after they are born (and if you like, you can change them to whatever you want a la Oregon Trail). However, in the game's efforts to inject more replayability into this title, you have the option of starting a new game after the one you've just finished as one of the surviving lynxes in the next generation in your family tree. 

This is a neat addition that I liked a great deal more than Might & Delight's other efforts to increase player playtime and game replayability - like the collectibles. 

The environments are littered with a number of shiny things that you can poke with your nose and pick up into your magical spiritual inventory of dead animal trophies and flashy rocks with which to decorate your cave. 

Normally a fan of side-questing and hunting out hidden things in off-paths, I find the concept of sitting around waiting for the bits of animal to disappear so that I can collect the shiny little skull slightly absurd. I found myself peeved as I stopped to pick up feathers and sparkling rocks that are not visible with your Sense skill, but largely found through hard searching and blind luck. 

The only other disappointment I had in this game was the music - which is rather unfortunate in this case because, in and of itself, the music is lovely.

Sweet, poignant, and simple - but it lacks the gravity and significance of the music in the first Shelter. As such, the music remains firmly in the background of your notice as you play, easily forgettable except for a few, perfect moments where utter silence is far more poignant than the strings.

In the final tally... 

This is a beautiful game. While I may not like all of the changes they have made to the original Shelter format, this game represents a very organic evolution from one to the next, with just enough change to keep from tiring out a theme. 

Shelter 2 retains the power of pulling you into the adventure - you aren't simply playing a mother lynx, you are playing yourself as a lynx. Your impatience and your actions have consequences. And when your children leave you to lead their own lives as wild, solitary animals, you find peace at the end, in perhaps the only way you can. 

You can find this game on SteamGOG.com, and the Humble Store for $14.99.

Shelter Makes Me Feel Like a Terrible Mother https://www.gameskinny.com/lnw2x/shelter-makes-me-feel-like-a-terrible-mother https://www.gameskinny.com/lnw2x/shelter-makes-me-feel-like-a-terrible-mother Mon, 09 Dec 2013 17:59:05 -0500 Stephanie Tang

First and foremost, this is what indie developer Might and Delight's newest game Shelter is: a badger sim.

You are, in essence, plunged into the role of a mother badger with a brood of five small yipping babies that toddle after you as you lead them through the swiftly changing landscapes. Your task is simple: lead them through the unfamiliar terrains; feed them with fruits, roots, and whatever other small animals you can kill; and protect them from the ever-present dangers of the outside world.

Released in August 2013, Shelter is rated E for Everyone - nominally a children's game, but as emotionally impactful and relevant to any adult. And a good thing too, because it is adults that are most likely to look past the polish and glamor of other triple-A titles to take a look at this game.

How do I play?

There is no narrative in the game, and the UI has been pared down to practically nothing. The visuals are stripped down the bare essentials, evoking a patchwork of different colors and textures wrapped around wire frames. Tutorials appear as single, unobtrusive images in the top corner to explain certain actions that your mother badger can take.

If nothing else, this emptiness of explicit direction, stripped-down landscape, and intuitive learn-by-doing nature all works together to give you the sense that you are, in fact, a badger. One that is imbued with your own personal characteristics and failings.

Without any obvious large-scale objective markers, Shelter relies on a singular path through the landscape, and scatters small points of interest along the path - a small tuft of radish around one corner, or an apple tree just on the horizon. You as the player must quickly learn what to do to keep your babies alive - or they will die.

And they will die.

The death of a cub hits you with a genuine feeling of loss and failure - not as a game player with a steadfast objective and a singular reward in mind - but as a parent, where the loss of your child is the direct fault of your own actions.

Your babies can and will be picked off by outside forces of nature: snatched off by terrifying noises in the dark, dying of starvation, or snapped up and carried away by giant birds of prey.

Your own very real characteristics come into play in this game - if you bolt at the sound of an ominous stick breaking or strange animal noises in the dark, your babies may stray too far and be devoured by those same unseen predators. If you get lost and easily turned around in vast landscapes without helpful mini-maps and objective markers, you may find yourself trapped in a spreading forest fire, or out in the open where large birds of prey patrol the skies.

When this happens, the death of a cub hits you with a genuine feeling of loss and failure - not as a game player with a steadfast objective and a singular reward in mind - but as a parent, where the loss of your child is the direct fault of your own actions.

Follow the music

The entire game plays like one long escort quest, but I have never seen an escort quest bring out such a sense of owed responsibility. Your babies squeak, chitter, and bark after you with an endearing regularity, and each piece of fruit or small dead animal that you drop in front of their hungry mouths is celebrated with a triumphant little musical chime. 

The fantastic soundtrack follows you through each of the stages; sweet, immersive, simplistic, and lovely. It is also the first indication when something goes wrong - the music changes abruptly in tense moments, prompting your senses to high alert for the fateful shadow overhead, the distinct snap-crackle of flames - or a horrible, ominous silence.

These audio cues are what help you navigate the occasionally treacherous landscapes, though you are not taught straight away what you must do in order to keep them alive. You learn by doing - often with disastrous consequences.

And yet...

Shelter plays out a story of Mother Nature's tough love. She puts obstacles in your path, but there is some way for you to learn and adapt to those circumstances. Life is hard and unfair, and this is a idea that strings you along as you progress through the game. Throughout the game, you will lose your cubs through your own mistakes, but you also learn from them and discover new ways to act and adapt in order for you and your babies to survive.

At the end, without delving into extreme spoilers, all of this is taken away from you - cheapening the gameplay in favor of underlining a point. You are ultimately left bewildered, frustrated, and wondering what on earth you did wrong - only to find that you didn't do anything wrong.

Life is unfair.

This is the singularly biggest problem I have with Shelter; the ending is abrupt and makes the rest of what was a marvelous experience feel hollow.

Other issues I had with the game are small: the control responses are sometimes clunky and unresponsive, causing you to occasionally click multiple times just to find out whether or not you've managed to pick up or drop the dead frog; the free-wheeling camera view often clips through objects around you, and can be quite immersion-breaking, particularly in small spaces like tree logs; and your babies can and will get stuck on walls, running endlessly into a corner trying to come after you. 

Furthermore, though it is marketed towards anyone age 10+ it is evident that it is intended for mildly experienced players, not for those who have never played a PC game before. It takes your knowledge of default movement keys as a given - that WASD governs movement, and Left Ctrl makes you crouch or creep along. 

It is also important to note that Shelter is very short - barely an hour's worth of gameplay. If I had known exactly how short it would be, I would likely have balked at paying the full retail price of $9.99 on Steam. With that in mind, the title does go on sale fairly frequently for around $4.99 and was recently in a Groupees bundle for as low as $1.

Lasting Impressions

This is a game that was made to be an art piece. It is simple, charming, quite beautiful, and has no interest in creating replayabiltiy - in fact doing so would likely mar the experience with too much foreknowledge.

The visuals, musical score, and simplistic gameplay stitch seamlessly together to create a wonderfully immersive experience, and it manages to touch you emotionally in ways that few games can. It is in fact one of the few games that I actively sought out a soundtrack for, and was very disappointed when I couldn't find one. 

(Might & Delight has released a very cute children's story book, however. Click the image above for the free .pdf!)

Although it hardly boasts a flawless finish, Shelter is an hour's gaming well spent if you are in a quiet, thoughtful mood and are looking to play something simple and easy on the eyes. I would definitely recommend picking it up. 

You may wish to avoid naming your babies, however. It will only end in tears.

Shelter: Simulate the Life of a Badger Parent https://www.gameskinny.com/8ikd8/shelter-simulate-the-life-of-a-badger-parent https://www.gameskinny.com/8ikd8/shelter-simulate-the-life-of-a-badger-parent Mon, 15 Apr 2013 11:32:31 -0400 EdibleKnife

Might and Delight (Developers of Pid) have revealed their next project on Steam Greenlight.

Shelter is a third-person game with an enticing art style. It's pitched as a simulation game in which you play mommy badger protecting her litter of cubs from the wilderness as you search for, well, shelter. (Now that's a strong female protagonist)

The Steam release is expected for PC and Mac sometime in the summer. If you're drawn in by the unconventional idea, you can vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.

Hopefully this game succeeds and inspires a lot more wildlife simulators.


Pid Gets an Easy Mode, Game Finally Accessible https://www.gameskinny.com/oktoo/pid-gets-an-easy-mode-game-finally-accessible https://www.gameskinny.com/oktoo/pid-gets-an-easy-mode-game-finally-accessible Mon, 24 Dec 2012 16:51:32 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Pid is one of many platformers released on Steam this year, but its release was unique in that the game was deceptively hard. I went into it right after playing They Bleed Pixels and had almost as difficult of a time with Pid in some parts as I did with TBP in its entirety. Not really what I expected when I went into it.

It apparently wasn't what other people expected either. Might and Delight, the developers of Pid, have released a patch today that makes Easy Mode available to smooth those difficulty spikes that the game is well-known for.

What's refreshing here is that the developers have done more than tone down some of the difficulty:

In Pid's Easy Mode we have redesigned nearly ALL levels and maybe most importantly made ALL the boss fights shorter and more simple. We have studied the reviews and playthroughs on youtube thoroughly to determine how we can create a version of the game that can be enjoyed by everyone. We have also reworked small parts of Normal Mode and the difficulty spikes that people ecountered!

This sounds like a significant overhaul just for the new mode, and it's nice to see a developer take feedback to heart and adjust the game accordingly.

Pid can be found on Steam, and is currently $7.49 for the holiday sale.