Styx: Master of Shadows is a spin-off of Of Orcs & Men, but instead of mixing its action and stealth together, Styx is focused solely on the latter. As a magical goblin chap, you pad, leap and stab around an open-level shaped by spawling castles and vertical drops. It’s clearly designed to evoke yer Arkham Asylums, Dishonoreds and Dark Messiahs, but heck, it works. I watched the trailer below and those games were evoked all up in here. The video explains the game’s clone powers, whereby Styx can create variously powered doppelgängers of himself to distract or trap unwitting guards.
I keep glancing towards Styx and thinking, ‘this’ll be rubbish’. It’s being developed by Cyanide, who make lots of interesting-but-ultimately-a-bit-duff games and Jim found Of Orcs & Men disappointing. But then I watch each new video and am pleasantly surprised by how focused it is, by how systemic its stealth appears, and by the physical way the player moves through the world. There’s something exciting about these kinds of B-games, which have moderate budgets, some ambition, and perhaps carve out an interesting creative space for themselves. “THQ games”, I call them.
Of course, this is the exact impression trailers are designed to give, so don’t go listening to me. If you’re intrigued, you might want to try the dulcet tones of these thirteen-further minutes of in-game action from E3.
Styx is due out in October as a digital download for £25.