Over a year ago, Redlock Studio released Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King on Steam to mostly positive reviews. Now, more than a year later, it’s been released on consoles. With beautiful visuals and Soulsborne gameplay, Shattered is a game to look forward to, but the Switch might not be the ideal platform for it.
Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King follows the protagonist, a wanderer who has just awakened in Limbo. The King and Creator has gone missing, and the Wanderer must explore an ever-expanding world called Hypnos to find him. The game develops as the player fights and solves puzzles on the way to multiple endings. Along the way, the wanderer will collect items and memories to piece together what happened, while carrying a small skeleton man on his back.
As far as its graphics go, Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King is beautiful. This piece of art is special, reminiscent of the movie Mirror Mask. Encounters with NPCs open up conversations with gorgeous character designs. The map itself ranges from extremely dark Limbo to bright snowy mountains and dark green valleys. What was once a linear path opens up an open world that encourages exploration. The more players explore, the more fragments they find. The more fragments collected, the higher the player’s level up, similar to other Soulsborne games.
Unfortunately, no amount of beautiful character and environment design can change the poor game mechanics on the Switch. Early on, characters have issues when it comes to moving and interacting with items around them. The camera is particularly sensitive and needs to be adjusted to avoid motion sickness. While this is easy to fix, the issue of item interaction is more troublesome. Many times it will take multiple tries to pick up an item and add it to a wanderer’s inventory.
The inventory system is nothing remarkable, but the game definitely doesn’t hold players back when it comes to teaching items and inventory usage. There’s a nice kinematics tutorial at the start, which will teach players how to double jump and how to move forward to help with platforming elements. Speaking of platforming, the majority of the game will be a 3D experience, right down to the wanderers roaming the mini-dungeons. The perspective there will change to a platformer, which is a detriment to the game rather than a welcome change.
The game strives to create a world full of fresh designs, and while it might not be obvious, there is a story to follow throughout Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King. But the mechanical issues and camera angle issues are frustrating.
The game does drop players into an open world where they can hop on a hoverboard and traverse the map. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t offer a mini-map, which means players need to toggle their map on and off to figure out where they’re going. While there is no standard fast travel, certain items allow players to fast travel to special locations. The game also includes water wells, which serve as respawn points if the player dies. However, just like the Souls games, all enemies also return when the player respawns or simply activates a checkpoint.
There are bosses, both mandatory and optional, but few of them are worth noting. Light and heavy attacks, charged attacks, and parry abilities make the combat mechanics feel good. Characters can run and roll during combat, both attacking and attacking. The hand-to-hand combat feels well done, but it takes some time to remember that strays can dodge ranged attacks. Players will die a lot, and some will be very frustrated, but this type of game isn’t for everyone.
Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King is available now for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X. Game Rant obtained the Switch code for this review.