Review: The Shattering – A Beautiful Mind-Bending Psychological Thriller

Review The Shattering

The Shattering is a brand new psychological thriller developed by Super Sexy Software and published by Deck13. Deck13 has some really good titles under their belt such as The Surge and Lords of the Fallen. Recently, Wartile was also released under the publishing umbrella of Deck13. Continuing the tradition of bringing us amazing games, The Shattering is their latest release. This is the first project of Super Sexy Software, an indie developer based in Poland. This is our review of The Shattering in which we enter John’s mind and explore his past to help him find ‘her’ name.

The Shattering is not one of your typical games and when I say this, I do not say when it comes to visuals or gameplay. The main theme of The Shattering is mental health and how it affects people from a very early age. The Shattering follows the journey inside a man named John who is trying to find ‘her’ name. Helping John is his doctor who is his mentor and is guiding him as you travel back in the past and then come back to the present in order to solve the mysteries inside John’s head. What has happened to John is a mystery and for that, you must find ‘her’ name and this is only possible as you explore John’s past and help him untangle everything.

Review The Shattering

From the very first moment, The Shattering grips you with its psychological thriller aspects as you enter John’s head and begin exploring his past. Throughout your exploration, you come across different mental barriers and then you try to remove those barriers by performing different other activities. There is always a cause behind each one of these mental barriers and sometimes, these barriers are too much for John to handle and he breaks down, returning back to the present. When this happens, the doctor changes his method of trying to help John remember from a different perspective.

In doing so, the doctor helps John re-visit different eras from his past to help John put the pieces of the puzzle back together. This includes days when John tries to write a book or back when John was little and was living with his parents. We also get to see the horrifying school time of John where he was constantly bullied and his mental condition was extremely poor during those days. While exploring these levels, the game shows you what John had to go through after every traumatic experience whether that happened when he was a little boy or as an adult. Every level starts off really peacefully but as you continue to explore and put more and more pieces of the puzzle together, the world starts to change around you and it gets darker and scarier.

During these times, you are presented with different choices to make. These choices alter how the game progresses but they are not too major. For instance, at one point in the game during my playthrough, John was at his school and it was lunch time, he went to eat his lunch however one of the bullies came and pushed John’s face into his food. Everyone else started laughing but the teacher came and shouted at John instead. At this point, I had to make a decision whether to tell about the bully or put the blame on my own head. Upon choosing that it was my fault, I had to spend some time in the closet as a punishment during which other children continued to bang on the door and laugh at John. I was let out after some time and told to go wash myself up.

During another playthrough, I went with the option of putting the blame on the bully which still made the teacher scream at us however John was told to go straight to the washroom and wash up. So the first choice added a bit of extra gameplay sequences in the mix depending on our choice. This is a great feature of the game because it allows you to play the game again in order to try out all the alternate options that you could go for in the game and look at their outcomes as well. All in all, The Shattering comes with a really strong narrative that I think it might not be suitable for all players as well who are sensitive to this sort of content. It certainly wants you to have a strong heart as you see John’s traumatic past.

Review The Shattering

Gameplay of The Shattering generally involves you moving around, exploring items and watching different events unfold around yourself. Sometimes you will come across certain puzzles where you will need to figure out what to do next. However, you always have a helping text somewhere written on a wall or any other part of the current level which gives you a small hint on what you have to do next. Mostly, they are simply finding the right object and placing it in the right places or sometimes you just have to explore your surroundings and find key items hidden here and there to progress. These are not some random items you collect in the game because every item that you find is significantly related to the story and your own story.

My favorite and probably one of the most striking features of The Shattering is its beautiful visuals. The whole game has a big focus on white color and the whole theme of the visual design of the game is based around white aesthetics. The environments are white with prominent and key items sticking out of them in their own unique colors. This gives a very beautiful environment with a really pleasing theme to play the game in. However, as John’s mind takes a turn for the worst, this white and bright world turns dark and gloomy and some sections were ever scary and I was certain at some points that a monster might eventually jump in my face out of the dark. It really plays tricks with your mind as you play the game.

Overall, The Shattering is one of the most unique titles I have played and I will also say that I took small amounts of breaks while playing the game as certain sections were really hard to swallow for me. Still, Super Sexy Software has done an astounding job in creating such an impactful game which not only plays great but also looks great. Couple that with a solid soundtrack and decent gameplay mechanics and you have an amazing experience that certainly teaches you a lot about life and helps you see the life from the eyes of certain people who go through all of this.

Final Verdict:

The Shattering is a brilliant narrative game. Although some sequences in the game might be a little too graphic for certain people, but then again haven’t we played a lot of violent games in the past? The Shattering introduces a whole new level of psychological thriller and how the levels change from bright white to dark, twisty environments in a second as depending on John’s mental condition is just brilliant. I loved playing The Shattering and I will highly recommend that if you are a fan of psychological thrillers that offer great narratives along with beautiful graphics, you must try this game out. You will love exploring John’s mind and will quickly develop a bond with him which really pushes you to help him get out of his nightmare.

Final Score:  9.0/10

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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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