Trine To Be Stealthy: Shadwen Demo Released

Trine creators Frozenbyte have released a demo for their next game, a stealth ’em up named Shadwen [official site]. They’ve got some of the physics-driven open-ended aspects of Trine, by which I mean you can knock boxes about, with lashings of stealth and crafting on top. Oh, and it’s a proper video game – it has a grappling hook.

As well as offering a taste of Shadwen, the demo is part of another promo dealio – the more people play, the cheaper the full game will be when it launches later this year.

Shadwen sounds like an interesting one. It’s a stealth game with open levels, a grappling hook to move around and tug things, physics-based antics like knocking crates (always crates!) around to bump men or distract ’em, traps you can lure folks into and… is this Trine smooshed together with Dark Messiah of Might & Magic? I’ll download the demo and have a go once I clock off for the day, but parts of this trailer do remind me of that fine physics murderplayground:

Yes, must give this a go.

I’m also interested in talk of a Superhot-ish ‘time moves only when you do’ aspect, and the ability to rewind time. Stealth games can have such arbitrary yet unclear edges, moments where systems collide to make everything fall apart in ways that don’t seem your fault, that having time to think your options through fully – and take them back as new systems reveal themselves – sounds promising. I trust Frozenbyte to use it for more than making everything a doddle of trial and error. We’ll see!

You can download the Shadwen demo from Steam, GOG, and the Humble Store. A tracker on its site shows how much players have driven the price down from its starting point of $35.


  1. ran93r says:

    Just had a quick go, as per usual with Frozenbyte it’s a little bit lovely, a little bit clunky and in this instance, does smell slightly of Superhot as Alice mentioned, along with some PoP Sands of Time rewind action.

    Curiously, it all comes together rather nicely I feel. I will have a proper delve on it later but first impressions are good.

  2. yabonn says:

    What was that thing with the orc already? Little bugger barfing into water reserves?

  3. typographie says:

    Wow, I guess this was originally announced back in December. I had no idea it even existed. Imagine my surprise to learn all at once that one of my favorite indie studios has made a game in one of my favorite genres and a free demo is waiting for me when I get home from work.

  4. Halk says:

    After the disaster that was Trine 3, Frozenbyte should understand that third person view and three dimensions just don’t work together.

    • lordcooper says:

      Well that’s a quick way to write off the majority of 3d games. What a ludicrous statement.

      • Halk says:

        >Well that’s a quick way to write off the majority of 3d games.

        Well spotted.

      • Faxmachinen says:

        It’s certainly a quick way to write off the majority of 3D games which are subjectively shite.

    • USER47 says:

      Sooo, does third person view work better with two dimensions? How does that work exactly?

      • USER47 says:

        Nevermind, I didn’t realize the term “third person view” actually can be used for sidescrollers, although it never really is…

  5. Buggery says:

    Oh neato, a demo. Let’s see how people justify their pirating this now that they can try before they buy.

    • MisterFurious says:

      Let’s see if we can have one article without some douchenozzle making some smarmy, judgmental comment.

      “Buggery says:

      Oh neato, a demo. Let’s see how people justify their pirating this now that they can try before they buy.”


    • anHorse says:

      Aliens Colonial Marines had a good demo


  6. mukuste says:

    Hm, I’m sure there’s a lovely game somewhere inside here, but the controls need some love and badly. It just feels sort of clunky, and even after hammering on my controller for several minutes I couldn’t figure out how to select gadgets or use them.

    Plus the whole stop and go thing gives me some weird kind of motion sickness that no other 3D games ever do.

  7. racccoon says:

    The game does look too great from the video even though the idea is very good + work done, Also what happens when the demo is hacked and the price is zero. lol this is a silly idea, just put out a price for gods sake.. lol

  8. int says:

    I know she’s probably skilled and stealthy enough to not get in a fight but that braid is just asking to be pulled.

  9. Unsheep says:

    Even GOG has a demo ? that’s a first for that site I think. Can’t wait to see how much hate and aggro the GOG forum unleashes upon hearing of this news.

  10. Czrly says:

    Will the plot actually be finished? Will the level design be polished? Will the game-play be fun?

    Trines one and two were things of beauty but the third one was rubbish. The plot started off weakly and simply aborted before it went anywhere, the levels were very pretty but woefully clunky, given the vague and abominable “3D side-scroller” concept that never, ever works, and the game-play was terribly repetitive and boring and made intensely frustrating by the absence of a sense of distance or z-depth that is intrinsic to the aforementioned “3D side-scroller” mechanic. The only noteable feature of the game was the wooden jigsaw aesthetic of the level-selection screen.

    I know the developers apologised for the contracted story in Trine 3 and I apreciate that but apologies are only good if they’re followed up by actions; they’ll have to produce a masterpiece if they want more of my money.

  11. epeternally says:

    The game sounds very relevant to my interests, but after the unapologetic summary abandonment of Trine 3 I will never buy a game from Frozenbyte that isn’t in a bundle. It would be one thing if they were saying, “We’ll come back and finish this when we can afford to, please support Shadwen and help us keep going!” But to double down on the message that Trine 3 is a completed product when it blatantly is no such thing leaves a sour taste in my mouth. If you’re going to abandon your early access game, at least do it honestly. Not that I wouldn’t still be bitter.

    • Blowfish64 says:

      Seriously. Tim Schafer abandons Spacebase DF-9 and the whole internet explodes and never lets him live it down. Frozenbytes abandons Trine 3, and now it’s all but forgotten? Talk about inconsistency. Frozenbytes has a huge uphill battle if they want my money, and it involves revisiting their previous work. If they’re still done with Trine 3, I’m still done with them.

    • Czrly says:

      Strangely, as much as I admit that they abandoned Trine 3 in a way that was completely unfair to those of us who gave them money, I applaud them for resisting the pressure to resurrect it. Their best course of action would be to make Trine 4, returning to the two-dimensional platforming game-play of Trines 1 and 2, and give a “loyalty” discount to those of us who paid the full ticket for Trine 3 in way of apology.

      There’s nothing I want *less* than more Trine 3 game-play to suffer through.

  12. Morte66 says:

    I like the basic idea: sneaky, auto-pause time, rewind time, ropes and so on. And it’s a nice-looking atmospheric game.

    Sometimes you can creep up behind someone and attack and it does a neat stealth kill. Sometimes it doesn’t, and you stab them without killing them, and the game ends within 2 seconds when they turn round and shoot you, and I’ve no idea why it worked out differently.

    The default keybind for winding on time is also bound to (un)crouching. So if you go behind a crate and crouch, and press the button to unfreeze time so a guard can walk past, you un-crouch. OK you can remap the keys, but did they really go to demo like this?

    Pity. I took an instant liking to it which wore off after half an hour of playing it.

    A bottle of polish would go a long way.

  13. Syrion says:

    Unfortunately it really does feel rather clunky at the moment. It’s a very interesting concept, but it all feels rather like a prototype. Movement is a bit floaty which doesn’t suit the precision stealth well, and while the auto-pause is fun to use to perfect some actions, it never felt “right” to me. Mainly because of the aforementioned problem with the controls. Even though I seperated toggling time movement and crouching by using different keys for them, I would still always uncrouch whenever I wanted time to lapse for a guard to walk past.
    Also the difficulty doesn’t feel right. On the one hand it is very unforgiving in that nearly as soon as guards see you they will insta-kill you with their crossbow, on the other hand being able to infinitely rewind time means there is no penalty at all. This makes it feel kinda like a sandbox game, when I’d actually want it to be more tense, more risky and thus more rewarding.

    In my opinion it needs a lot more refinement, but it could turn out really good.