Menu Close

Shadow of the Depth Early Access Review – Engaging Roguelite

Shadow of the Depth is a top-down action roguelite dungeon crawler developed by ChillyRoom and launched on Steam early access on April 23, 2024. From what looks like a simple premise comes a deep dungeon crawling experience that gets better with every new room you enter. You’ll traverse procedurally generated dungeons finding loot, runes and upgrades to make the characters stronger and it’s an addicting gameplay loop.

Featuring a dark world and five distinct characters, you explore an ever-changing labyrinth through an immersive combat system that keeps you on your toes. The gameplay hits all the right notes for roguelite veterans. Each death is a learning experience and combat is a bloody dance of melee attacks, combos, skill usage and well-timed dodges. As you get deeper into each level you will encounter new and stronger adversaries that are fun to discover and defeat the first time through. The emphasis on weight and responsiveness in every swing and sidestep makes even the most basic encounters feel impactful.

The world of Shadow of the Depth is a masterfully crafted descent into dark fantasy. The hand-drawn art style is a visual treat, boasting detailed environments that ooze atmosphere. Enemy deaths are gloriously gruesome, leaving a crimson trail in your wake, and shadows are cast around corners where there could be enemies or chests to loot. The current boss fights provide challenging encounters that demand you have mastered the combat mechanics learned up to that point. My first boss fight ended after I got him down to 50% but I didn’t have much at my disposal other than basic attacks.

I didn’t experience any performance dips with my time in the game so far and I love the atmosphere of exploring each corner of each level. The teleporting system is terrific and easy to use, and I love seeing the icons for potions on the minimap. It allows me to be confident in clearing an area, fast travel to where I see some HP or MP pots, and teleport straight back to the action. Some levels have a final door that needs attacking, and this spawns tougher guard mobs, so you are constantly kept on your toes throughout the whole level. In addition, I loved being able to sell items on the fly as there are bonus items and upgrades spread through levels that come in handy.

Even if you die, you are gaining experience and any talents and runes you unlocked can be loaded up for your current character. You also have the choice of trying one of the other characters with different weapons and diverse combat styles as you slowly unlock them through gameplay. I love sword and board characters, so the fact that Arthur starts the game with these was right up my alley. There’s also Arya, an agile assassin with dual daggers, Stephanie, a sorcerer proficient in fire, frost and lightning magics. Then there is Phyllis, an archer/hunter able to summon a wolf, bear and two eagles, and finally Ginzo who is a swordsman with an extended attack range. There is a great balance of archetypes there to suit most players’ play styles.

Despite being an early access title, Shadow of the Depth is a fun and engaging roguelite brimming with potential, and some great features on the way. In the current build there are three themed chapters, each comprising three levels and a boss level. Currently planned for development by ChillyRoom is adding co-op, more weapons and playable characters, additional skills and passives, and more. If you’re a seasoned dungeon crawler who thrives on brutal action, upgrading loot and trying different characters, then this is a game well worth checking out and will only get better over the early access period.

This review utilised a key provided by Renaissance PR and Shadow of the Depth is available now on Steam early access.


Related Posts