The second episode of Planet Earth is on tonight, if, like me, you are in the mood for immersing yourself in the natural world, take a look at Shelter.
Shelter, originally released in late 2013, is a survival game where you play as a mother badger defending her cubs. It is a slow-paced game that carries a lot of emotional weight.
The gameplay objective is simple – protect your cubs. Shelter does not present any location icons or obvious goals. UI is kept to an absolute bare minimum and this allows the player to fully immerse themselves in the experience and their role as a mother badger.
How the player goes about protecting their cubs varies depending on the time of day and the hazards experienced. None of these hazards relate to humans. Issues such as deforestation and the human impact on the natural world are the least bit touched upon – which, in my opinion, is a good thing. Badger against the elements is a far more engaging and unique experience than shooting humans with AK-47s. And, with global politics as it is now, people may prefer immersing themselves in a world devoid of human influence.
Shelter Gameplay Footage
Shelter instils a sense of responsibility in the player as you look after your cubs. Despite being E-Rated, and lacking in any obvious violence, the game is emotionally intended for adults. The sense of loss following the death of a cub teaches you about the harsh realities of nature and evokes a sense of grief. These are themes that, outside of nature programmes such as Planet Earth, we are rarely exposed to in the media.
The simplicity and beauty in its gameplay is also reflected in Shelter’s aesthetics. The woodland backdrop, set in Autumn, is portrayed with pastel textures that are simple, yet evocative. The music is similarly limpid, with the use of gentle orchestral noises made to instil relief and dread at relevant points in the game.
Following the release of Shelter in 2013, developer Might and Delight have also released their frostier sequel, Shelter 2. Conveying similar themes to its predecessor, the game has you playing as a Lynx and protecting your cubs, but in a more glacial landscape.
Do not hesitate to immerse yourself in a beautiful setting that teaches you about the harsh realities of the natural world. Shelter is available on Steam for £6.99, and Shelter 2 is for £10.99. Both are available for PC and Mac.
If you want to learn more about developer Might and Delight, and their unique style of games, visit their website.