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Game Info:

Shelter 2 
Developed by: Might and Delight
Release Date: March 9, 2015
Available on: PC, Mac, Linux
Genre: Survival
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $14.99

Thank you Might and Delight for sending us this game to review!

Have you ever watched an animal documentary and felt bad about an animal's hunting or parenting mistake and felt that you could do a better job if you were in their place?  Perhaps I'm strange for doing so, but even if you have answered No to that question, Shelter 2 is still a unique game worth checking out.  In this game  you take on the role of a pregnant lynx named Inna.  She'll have four cubs (that you can rename) called Vavi, Kir, Solda, and Bova.  It's up to you to feed them constantly and to keep track of them while roaming the landscape and contending with fierce weather changes.      

There are two game modes, Normal and Survival.  Normal is challenging as it is with food scarcity in the winter time and keeping track of your babies.  In Survival mode predators are more common, hunting is more difficult with the automatic sneaking disabled, and stamina regenerating at a slower pace.  The sense of smell also consumes stamina and the cubs cannot automatically jump up cliffs in the harder difficulty mode.  There is a Steam achievement for keeping all of your cubs alive in Survival mode.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Beautiful storytelling, graphics, and music; excellent customer service
Weak Points: Short gameplay as you can beat this game in a couple of hours; sound once dropped for a few minutes
Moral Warnings: Blood splatters while catching prey 

The first time I played Shelter 2 I lost two of my cubs in the winter season.  In my last go around, I only lost one.  While I'm getting closer, I have yet to successfully rear them all into adulthood.  While the cubs don't have status meters over their heads, the ones that are well fed are slightly bigger than the rest.  Weak cubs will lay down and not move until they are fed or die from starvation.  When traveling long distance, make sure to look back occasionally to make sure that you have all of your offspring with you.  

The cubs are ALWAYS hungry, which is pretty similar to human children, actually.  The cubs will gladly eat moles, rabbits, eggs, frogs, birds and deer that you catch for them.  Out of that list I'm lucky if I can get my kids to eat eggs (I haven't tried feeding them deer, rabbit, mice, or frogs).  As the cubs get bigger they will catch some moles on their own.  Feeding yourself is possible but doesn't seem to be required unless you want a temporary stamina boost.  

Catching food requires keeping up with it and overtaking it.  Deer require you to jump to take them down.  Once the food is caught you can bring it to the cub of your choosing or wait for them to come to you.  Moles, birds, and frogs will only feed one cub, rabbits will feed two.  All of the cubs can dine on eggs and deer.  When walking near a stream you can drink from it to restore some stamina.  The cubs will drink and swim in the water (unintentionally).

Shelter 2
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 82%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 92%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The controls are pretty straightforward and this game supports both keyboard and gamepad controllers.  I used keyboard and mouse.  To run, I held down my shift key and jumping was done by pressing the space bar.  Right clicking on the mouse temporarily activates the smell sense for detecting prey.  To the see the game map you can press the M key.  To view your collectible status you can press the C key.

Besides constantly feeding your cubs, you can collect feathers, mushrooms, twigs, flowers and rocks.  If you can find all of them, you'll get Steam achievements.  There's much to see in Shelter 2 and the graphics style is really unique.  Each season is short and the landscape, including animals available, changes with each transition.  The background music is soothing and frightening depending on your circumstances.  When your family is in danger, it's bound to get your blood pumping.  

Speaking of blood, Shelter 2 does show some as the meals are caught and eaten by the lynx family.  If you don't mind the graphic circle of life being represented here, this game is relatively family friendly.  While Shelter 2 is not rated by the ESRB, the original game was rated E 10 for fantasy violence.

While I had no problems running the game, users with integrated Intel graphics may want to try the demo out before purchasing the game.  Might and Delight created a Mac demo for one of our reviewers (Sstavix) without him revealing the fact that we was a reviewer for our site. Sadly, this game was not able to run on his MacBook Pro, so I got to enjoy it in his stead.  Needless to say, the customer support at Might and Delight studios is fantastic!

I enjoyed my time being a mother lynx despite it being harder than raising human offspring.  The story is nicely told and playing through multiple generations is both rewarding and fun.    Shelter 2 is relatively short and can be beaten in two hours.  Even so,  there is plenty of replay-ability and DLC coming out for it this summer.  Cat and animal lovers should keep an eye out for this game.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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