By Chris Picone, 25 November 2022
Shadow of the Guild is a 2d side-scrolling adventure game that does a better job than most in creating interesting missions with dynamic gameplay but unfortunately lacks polish in some key areas.
I really love the art style – the paintings in the cutscenes are to die for and the levels feature some nicely detailed hand-painted furnishings that really add a nice touch. I also love the fact that some of the locations are quite different to the norm – you start in a “dungeon” type environment but as the game progresses you’ll find yourself in these exquisite sky harbours and even on one of the sky ships. While the landscape art and the ships are amazing, the characters are slightly less-so – not bad, but not quite as good, and there are some occasionally clunky animations. One other thing I love is that whenever you sneak up and assassinate an enemy, a little comic-style animation pops up showing the gruesome death. It’s a nice feature.
Shadow of the Guild predominantly plays like any other 2d side-scrolling adventure game – you jump around platform to platform, hacking and slashing enemies as you go. The devs have spent some time working on the combat system and it really shows; melee involves a combo system rather than simply button-mashing, you can shoot lightning, and you can sneak up and assassinate your enemies. There is a levelling system in place, which is mostly standard “do more damage / gain more health” fare but does include upgrades like being able to hide in shadows, the ability to assassinate from above, health and mana leaching, and some new spells – it’s not overwhelming but is enough to have an impact on the gameplay. Shadow of the Guild’s best feature, though, is the level design – and the variety of missions involved. Sure, the standard platforming hack-and-slash levels are there, but there are also exclusive assassination missions that see you sneaking around killing enemies one at a time (and if you’re spotted even once you’re caught and it’s game over). Another level has you recharging and firing your ship’s defence systems to take out attacking skyships.
Shadow of the Guild is an extremely promising side-scroller that is fun to play but doesn’t deliver its full potential – it’s fun, and full of great ideas, but lacks polish. So the verdict is: It’s enjoyable as-is so if you’re a fan of the genre you’ll want to at least keep an eye on it. Hopefully the devs keep working on it!