Shadowy Contracts is an early access game that recently released on steam, priced at 13$ USD. The game was made by a one-man team of solo indie developer Mark Nasr. The idea of the game is to accept contracts, skulk in the shadows and use stealth to assassinate them for money. So how does it stack up and fare with it being early access and made by one guy?
So, first when the game launches you are met with a character creation screen. You’re met with the basic choices of male, female, hair, etc. Surprisingly there is also a race system. Dwarf, Human, and Semi Giant. The race affects your strength and stealth, the smaller you are meaning the better the stealth, the taller you are meaning the better the strength. My only issue with this is races are cool, but cosmetically the only difference is height, I’d prefer if there were some identifying characteristics for a “race”. Another small issue with the character creation is that there are only three hairstyles per gender.
The story right now is somewhat lacking, you load in and are essentially told “King Arthur sucks and you are poor so you must join this guild to kill people for money”. While that is enough, it isn’t necessarily good, a small remedy I would like it for there to be some notes on some of the levels that you can pick up do some worldbuilding.
A good thing about the game is that there is a large variety of things to use, according to the developer “Loot and buy over 52 different weapons, 38 armor sets, and 21 weapon effects/enchants.” This translated in my time in the game. As there were many different weapons and armor pieces I picked up. However, I did notice I was not able to sell anything, which makes me question what the purpose of looting is and keeping things if you can’t sell things, as I found myself just dropping loot I did not need, I would really love if they added a store to be able to sell these items. The best weapon in the game right now is by far the bow. I also wish along with adding a store, that they would also consider adding the ability to thieve items and sell them as well.
The game does have some bug issues with it being early access however as I did experience my share of bugs. Once I was shot with an arrow it was supposed to be stuck in my body, although it wasn’t it was hovering a few inches above me in the air. A funny one I experienced was as characters are walking around, they were sitting and moving, as they were just stuck in the sitting animation, but they were moving around. An annoying bug I found was the game would not let me equip my shield no matter how hard I tried. Another issue is the music is very limited. But a caveat to all this is I can say the graphics of the game are surprisingly good considering it was made by one man.
I did not particularly like the combat either as it was very hard or unforgiving. I often got into combat because sneak attacking someone would not kill them. However, albeit I was a dwarf and therefore did have low strength so take that into account. Speaking of, as you do contracts you level up and get points to put into the skill tree. Most of this stuff is adding percentage points to things like combat, so you will hit with more damage. There is also a good bit of variety in the spells once you unlock them.
The game also has another mode aside from contracts, battle mode. You can recruit people to help you fight and such there, however, to be frank, I did not like it. The combat is hard as is, and making it where you have to fight a lot of people is in my opinion not where the game shines, as I think sneaking and doing contracts, searching for your target, and killing select people is fun. Battling people and being forced into combat is not. Sadly, I just did not enjoy this mode of the game at all.
In summary this game looks to have a bright future as I am sure things like a store are going to be added, and that it is going to improve, but right now there is a good bit of negative. However despite the negative, it is surprisingly fun once you get the hang of things and get a bow, as sword combat is not fun. We would definitely recommend this game once it gets out of Early Access, or now if you are itching to do some contracts.