I played a bit of Shelter’s preview build today. It’s a really sweet and frankly terrifying indie title about a bunch of badgers. Badgers. *drops mic*
In a nutshell, it’s a very basic stealth game where you care for your tiny and adorable cubs as you explore the wilderness and avoid major dangers. The cubs will follow you around and noisily squeak for joy as you knock into apple trees as well as battle frogs and foxes to feed them.
The cubs need feeding often, slowly turning from a dark grey to white the longer they’re unfed until they eventually collapse. Keeping them full ensures they’ll stay close when danger approaches. You also have to choose who to feed and be mindful on who isn’t getting meals.
It was all going pretty well when the first major predator, a giant white eagle, swooped over my cubs and narrowly missed then as we rushed into the bush for cover. With the bush being easy to reach and only tiny gaps of sprinting required there wasn’t too much to worry about. It wasn’t until nightfall where things took a more sinister turn.
While I was admiring the night sky, filled with large starts and planets, I wasn’t really paying attention to my litter, who were happily skipping around behind me. I noticed an apple tree and started running towards it, ready to feed up my tiny family, when I heard a sudden whelp from one of cubs and a horrible growl. I stopped and counted the cubs as they caught up with me and one was missing.
I panicked and ran off again into the bush hoping that whatever was behind me would stop going for my litter once we were hidden, but it was my distance from the cubs that caused yet another fatality. I stopped, counted again, and then waited to see what was attacking us to come forth. It never did. I have no idea what ate my two precious cubs but not knowing made it a whole lot worse.
This dramatically changed the tone of the game for me. It went from an almost-cheerful romp through a cartoony forest with my friends to the sudden realisation that these tiny creatures rely on me, their mother, and that the animal kingdom is indeed a cruel cruel world.
I won’t go on too much about what follows on because Shelter is definitely a game that’s all about the discovery of these dangers and to detail anymore would be to spoil it. You can check out the official Steam Greenlight page for more details and a trailer. I’m personally really looking forward to the full release.