Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is a stealth strategy game from Mimimi Games, the developers of Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun and Desperados III. The game will launch on PC, Xbox and PlayStation on August 17 and a demo is currently available on Steam. I jumped in to experience this new pirate settings along with magic, supernatural elements and more exciting new features. I was particularly impressed with the integration of the story with the basic quick save and quick load functions.
We start the demo in Angler’s Grave playing as Afia Manicato, and we need to meet up with a jester at the bar to find the location of a ghost ship, The Red Marley. Using left click we can move Afia along pathways and up ladders or vines. Pressing spacebar makes her crouch which is semi-stealthed in terms of fields of vision of the enemy, and we slowly unlock skills as the story progresses. The graphics are amazingly detailed and really capture that Pirates of the Caribbean crossed with a 3D Monkey Island kind of vibe. The hallmark things from Shadow Tactics are there such as bushes to hide in and vines to climb too which makes it feel familiar if you’ve played the developers’ previous titles.
Combat is top notch, as is to be expected. Starting with a standard melee attack, we need to sneak up to the side or behind an enemy. Right clicking enemy units will show us their field of vision, and like in other Mimimi games, there is a solid green field of vision and a shaded section. The shaded section means we can crouch and stealth through their vision without being detected. The next skill is blink where we can blink up levels or quickly cross a distance to kill an enemy.
Eventually we come to a section where Afia jumps across a gap and a green orb flashes on the screen then disappears. Both Afia and I exclaimed that was strange but moved on. We come across a stronger enemy unit, a prognosticar, and we see a boulder above their heads that we need to push onto them. However, there is no way to get up to it. Turns out we need to attack the stronger unit even though they kill us, to learn about the quick save and quick load features built into the story.
A few more fights later and we find ourselves crossing a chain to board The Red Marley, and we need to take out roaming enemies as well as two custode guards who are guarding magical seals on the ship. It was a good reminder to see the ghostly green bell that reminds us to do a quick save. Maybe it’s just this demo for new players, but it flashes up a lot. Granted, I made a few silly mistakes and so utilises the quick save/load several times, but I felt it was too often to have the reminder animation show up.
We strike a deal to split Black-Eye Mordechai’s treasure with the ghost of Red Marley and then hit the open sea. This finished the first mission of the demo and it was cool to see a replay of the movements you made over the mission map, where you performed skills and actions and where you saved. It’s a feature I haven’t seen in these games before and was a cool way to summarise how you completed that mission. You also get a summary of statistics which is always nice to validate what you did.
I chose to end the demo there, but you can continue playing further which is great. I really enjoyed what I played in this demo for Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew. It’s the stealth strategy we know from Shadow Tactics with interesting refinements, a pirate theme and some great humour in the dialogue already. I am looking forward to meeting up with the other crew members we see in the game’s trailer and keen as beans for the games release.