“Shadow Gambit” played: Damn clever
For the German indie studio Mimimi, things have only been going up so far. Whether it’s Shadow Tactics, Desperados 3, and now Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew, each of these games is a pinnacle of the real-time tactics genre. Always a little more detailed, more extensive and last but not least more clever than the predecessor. But if you really want to enjoy it, you need time and a high level of frustration tolerance.
In the world of “Shadow Gambit” all dead pirates have been resurrected by an uncanny power and sail the seas. It’s just stupid that the Inquisition has something against it. The player takes over the helm and the crew of one of these cursed pirate ships and engages in a fast-paced race with the evil Inquisition for treasures, artifacts and the mysteries of this world.
According to Mimimi Games, Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is a stealth strategy game. But that shouldn’t confuse anyone, because behind this marketing slogan is basically the real-time tactics genre that fans of games like “Desperados” know. The crew goes ashore, looks at the opponents and sneaks across the island. Every step needs to be considered, because even the smallest mistake can expose the robbery. The constant quick saving and pausing to plan the attack are among the requirements for a successful mission, along with a cool head. If you can’t do anything with trial and error, this isn’t the place for you.
Image 1 of 5
Attention to detail and damn clever. “Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew” is a genre highlight for tinkerers and tacticians. (Image: heise online)
While Mimimi’s “Desperados 3” was still set in the Wild West with realistic Colts and gun smoke, “Shadow Gambit” focuses on magic. Not only is the story about rituals, curses and evil spirits, but each of the nine playable pirates has their own special ability. From their ship, the Red Marley, players choose their missions, assemble a team, or simply chat to learn each crew member’s backstory.
Captain Afia can teleport to lunge directly at enemies, Toya can curse enemies and then lunge at them from afar, and Suleidy sprouts a bush out of the ground for the crew to hide in. The combination results in numerous possibilities to stab opponents, knock them unconscious or just distract them. If the crew collects enough soul energy, the skills can be improved.
The wide range of skills is also necessary, because the opponents are sly old dogs from the medium level of difficulty. A thoughtless movement and an alarm is triggered immediately. There are sentries hiding all over the place, covering that exact corner with their cone of vision that would be perfect for an ambush. Some enemies are linked telepathically and must be killed at the same time. Others have to be attacked from several sides at once.
Therefore, fans should take a close look at the game world. Isn’t there a little shortcut through a cave here? Couldn’t you loosen this stone to roll over the opponents? Could I perhaps distract this group of enemies first, ambush them at the same time and then hide them in the bushes? Mimimi offers players an incredible number of options in the widely branched sections. There is no fixed recipe for success. Either way can be the right one, provided the crew uses their skills well coordinated.
The level design and the various game tactics and strategies make “Shadow Gambit” an “open world game” in the true sense: instead of overloading the game world with missions and endless but meaningless dialogues, everything here focuses on an open game design that gives the fan every conceivable opportunity to achieve success.
Mimimi delivers a well-rounded package. The controls are thoughtful and accessible. Once the fans have gotten used to the operating scheme, action-packed encounters will succeed. However, “Shadow Gambit” is most fun when the players plan their actions in the pause function and then carry them out automatically at the push of a button. Technically, the developer studio does not reveal any weaknesses either. After the embarrassing “Gollum” by Daedalic, Mimimi makes amends for the “Made in Germany” label.
Despite all the praise, there is also a bit to complain about. In the love of detail, Mimimi sometimes loses the right balance. The individual missions can be lengthy and can take up to two hours in our play sessions. It often takes several attempts to get ahead. If you don’t save there all the time, you will quickly become frustrated. “Shadow Gambit” takes time and a decent amount of frustration tolerance to enjoy.
After “Shadow Tactics” and “Desperados 3”, Mimimi hits the bull’s eye again with “Shadow Gambit”. It doesn’t matter whether we call it real-time tactics or stealth strategy – the pirate adventure is a complete success. Scope, level design and technology are in the top league of the genre. But the highlight is the playful freedom that leaves all possibilities open to the fans. However, players should bring a little patience, because “Shadow Gambit” is anything but a game snack. A real “real-time tactical stealth strategy” chunk that fans shouldn’t miss.
Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew will be released on August 17th for Windows, PS5 and Xbox Series. It costs around €40. USK from 12. For our test, we played the Windows version for a few hours.
Go to home page
#Shadow #Gambit #played #Damn #clever