Over a year ago, Redlock Studio released Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King on Steam to mostly positive reviews. Now, more than a year later, it has been released on console. With beautiful visuals and Soulsborne gameplay, Shattered was one to look forward to, but Switch might not be the ideal platform for it.
Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King follows the protagonist, a Wanderer that has just awoken in Limbo. The King and creator have gone missing and the Wanderer must explore an ever-expanding world called Hypnos to find him. The game evolves as the player fights and solves puzzles on route to multiple endings. The Wanderer will collect items and memories along the way to piece together what happened, all the while carrying a small skeleton man on their back.
In terms of its graphics, Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King is beautiful. The artwork is something special and is reminiscent of the film MirrorMask. Encounters with NPCs open up to conversations with gorgeous character designs. The maps themselves range from an extremely dark Limbo to bright and snowy mountains and deep green valleys. A once linear pathway opens up into an open world where exploration is encouraged. The more the player explores, the more shards are found. The more shards collected, the more the player can level up, similar to other Soulsborne games.
Unfortunately, no amount of beautiful character and environmental design can change poor game mechanics on Switch. Early on the character will run into issues when it comes to movement and interaction with items around them. The camera is especially sensitive, requiring an adjustment in order to avoid feeling motion sick. While that is an easy fix, trouble with item interaction is more troublesome. There will be many times when it will take multiple tries in order to pick up an item and add it to the Wanderer’s inventory.
The inventory system isn’t anything noteworthy, but the game definitely doesn’t hold the player’s hand in terms of teaching items and inventory usage. There is a nice movement mechanics tutorial in the beginning that will teach the player how to double jump and how to phase forward to aid in the platforming elements. Speaking of platforming, the majority of the game will be a 3D experience until The Wanderer wanders their way into the mini dungeons. There the perspective will change to a platformer, which is a detriment to the game as opposed to a welcome change.
The game works hard to create a world full of fresh designs and although it might not be as obvious, there is a narrative to follow throughout Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King. But the issues with mechanics and the problems with camera angles are frustrating.
The game does give players access to an open world where they will hop on a hoverboard and traverse the map. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t provide a mini-map, which means players will need to open and close their map to figure out where they are going. While there is no standard fast travel, certain items will allow the player to quickly travel to special locations. The game also includes wells, which serve as respawn points should the player die. However, like a Souls game, when the player respawns or just activates a checkpoint, all the enemies will return as well.
There are bosses, both mandatory and optional but few of them are noteworthy. The fighting mechanics feel good with light and heavy attacks, charged attacks, and the ability to parry. The character can run and roll during fights, allowing for good defense as well as offense. Hand-to-hand fights feel really well-done but it takes some time to remember that The Wanderer can roll away from ranged attacks. The player will die a lot and for some that can get pretty frustrating, but this type of game will not be for everyone.
Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King is available now for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X. Game Rant was provided a Switch code for this review.
- Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King Review
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