Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Styx: Master of Shadows is a solid 6/10 game, but in an underserved genre that will still make it a worthwhile play to many. It’s a strict stealth game in which you play a goblin who clambers around a medieval city built in the clouds, where getting caught means almost certain death.
These are not my preferred kinds of stealth games – I like those that are less strict and so support haphazard improvisation in the moments when you’re caught. But Styx is still satisfying. Your goblin, for whom the game is named, can extinguish torches to give himself the cover of darkness, spawn and control clones to distract and pin guards, and is immediately lethal when approaching enemies from behind.
He’s also a great climber and the game’s medieval city is wonderfully vertical. You’ll spend a lot of time clambering around on ledges and windowsills, dangling above enemies or yanking them over railings to their certain doom. Its relentlessly grey textures will eventually wear you down, but it’s initially a neat setting.
If you’ve played every Thief game, Dishonoreds 1 and 2, and all the other classic and bigger budget stealth games, Styx might briefly sate your appetite. It’s not a great game or an inventive one, but it’s pleasant. Here’s hoping the sequel due this year is a little more ambitious.