Review: Shelter 3 – An Emotional and Tense Journey

Review: Shelter 3

Might and Delight has released their brand-new title in its long-running Shelter franchise, Shelter 3, and this time around, the developer has decided to focus on the journey of elephants. Leadership plays a vital role in Shelter 3 as you play as the leader of an elephant herd. Featuring the same patterned visuals of the previous titles, Shelter 3 improves upon everything and brings a completely new journey this time around. This is our review of Shelter 3 on PC in which we ram some trees for fruits and explore a beautiful, yet dangerous world filled with predators.

Shelter 3 is a journey of an elephant herd from their safe zone to another zone but the path is filled with dangers and challenges that few have ever survived. Might & Delight is known for creating such emotional journeys however this time around, the developer has decided to include a complete herd into the mix and has made you the leader of the pack. The entire responsibility falls into your hands and you have to decide the future of your herd ranging from survival to tackling predators to finding food and water. All of this must be done under the careful eye of your herd’s matriarch who is now too old to lead the herd herself.

Review: Shelter 3

The gameplay of Shelter 3 involves you controlling the main leader of the pack under the watch of the old matriarch of the herd. You jump in the hoofs of a new mother who also have her little calf with her, and she is given the responsibility of leading the whole herd comprising of the matriarch herself along with different adults and other babies. You control the main leader of the pack and everyone follows you around in levels. There are different ways to control the herd for example if you knock down fruits from a tree, the herd will quickly gather to eat the fruits, or you can call them to yourself manually as well. If there is danger around, you can call them quickly with the emergency call as well but most of the time, your herd will follow you around.

You have different ways to see after your herd such as the Sense which shows all of the elephants in white around you and also marks the checkpoint where you must head for the next phase of your journey. Other than this, there is not much help with the navigation of the map and sometimes it is fairly easy to get lost in the game as well. During my first playthrough of the game, I got lost while crossing the alligator-infested river and managed to get my herd in the tiger territory where I lost a baby elephant. For such an adorable game, Shelter 3 is brutal and does not hesitate to show you what happens out in nature and if you are not careful with your decision-making.

Shelter 3

While the game may look like it will not kill anyone, it certainly will and does not hold back when it comes to babies as well. I lost my first baby elephant in the herd to a tiger attack. One of the things I did feel a little strange was that even that baby was surrounded by adults, the tiger just touched it and it died whereas in real-world elephants would actually actively protect their young ones and a single tiger would never be able to take down a baby elephant on its own with adults sticking close to it. I would have loved if the game had some sort of defense mechanic as well in place to protect the young ones from predators.

This makes the herd extremely vulnerable and further increases the challenge of the game. Overall, Shelter 3 is a pretty challenging game because apart from protecting your herd from predators such as alligators and tigers, you also have to find food and water for your herd and also nurse your own baby as well. Nurturing takes a little time and your herd gathers around as your baby feeds and once done; the herd can finally move ahead. You can sprint and ram trees to drop their fruits and while the elephants eat grass on the ground, it barely gives them the energy to continue with the journey so fruits are the best source of energy in the game.

As you progress in the game, you will come to many rivers and small lakes where you can wash yourself, have some fun in the water, and have the whole herd drink water because hydration is just as equally important for your herd as food. In certain locations, food and water are not in abundance so you have to manage your pace so that you allow enough time for the herd to rest and move on while preserving energy. Your adults and babies in the herd can die of hunger and thirst as well making this another challenge in the game. By calling your herd, you can see if they are happy or unhappy with their current conditions. All their needs and wants pop up in small bubbles on them as well.

The levels are huge and overall, it is the same map however since you go to a different spiritual map to make the decision of your next approach with the matriarch, the map feels like it is divided into different sections whereas the gameplay does not actually stop and continues right from where you reached the checkpoint earlier. Each of these levels brings new challenges for you and your herd that you as the leader must solve. Your choices made at these key locations determine the fate of your herd so you have to stick to your decisions that you make for your pack and later on, live with their consequences as well because you do not get a second chance in the game.

Review: Shelter 3

Technically, the game is pretty sound however there are some visual hiccups here and there with the most annoying one being that your elephant can walk through other elephants in the pack. I found this really annoying because since the herd moves closely most of the time, you will often notice that if an elephant gets too close to you, it will just move through you and there is no impact or the AI does not really consider your physical presence in its path. Apart from this, there were no framerate dips or any other graphical issue with the game. This might be a small fix for the developers so fixing it will certainly make the gameplay of the game even better.

Overall, Shelter 3 is a great journey from the start to the finish. It becomes emotional and tense throughout and really depicts the life of an elephant herd in its best form possible. Might and Delight have done a spectacular job with the game and everything ranging from the unique, patterned visuals to the amazing soundtrack by Retro Family that picks up pace in tense situations and calms down in normal situations. The decision-making puts extra responsibility on your shoulders and makes you think about your journey ahead seriously. The game certainly has its moments to remember.

Final Verdict:

Shelter 3 is a brilliant adventure in every way and despite some visual hiccups, you will have a great time playing it. It is a perfect blend of strategy, emotions, and tension all placed in their rightful places. Despite being relatively new to the franchise, Shelter 3 has actually made me interested in the franchise enough to go back and try the earlier titles in the franchise as well. Whether you like emotional journeys or just elephants in general, Shelter 3 is a great title letting you manage your very own herd that will follow your decisions to the very end. Couple that with a decent soundtrack and visuals, you have a unique title that explores a side very few developers choose to portray. Highly recommended for fans of the franchise as well as newcomers to the franchise.

Final Score: 8.0/10

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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