Shelter put you in the paws of a badger mother caring for her newborn cubs over the course of a year. You kept them safe from harm, found them food, and nurtured them to self-sufficiency. I loved it and urge you all to go play it. Now.
Shelter 2 may look like more of the same but it’s a very different animal. Might and Delight have taken all the mechanics of the first game and reframed them. They’ve made a new type of survival game.
Warning: this Shelter 2 trailer does a terrible job of revealing why it’s such a monumental advance on the first game.
From that trailer you could easily be mistaken into thinking Shelter 2 is basically the same as Shelter but with different animals. It’s got the same hunting mechanics, shifting seasons, and scary night time mode.
The big shift between the games is that, whereas Shelter was a linear story, Shelter 2 is an open world survival game.
You start life as a pregnant Lynx who must find a shelter to construct a den. You then hunt the areas near your den to stay healthy enough for your cubs which, once birthed, you must teach to hunt, too. All the mechanics of the first game now take on new prominence. Hunting’s not just a distraction but a vital part of the game. Night time’s not a scripted event but a regular occurrence that you must prepare for by making sure your cubs are safely back in the den. The shifting seasons, too, completely change the landscape and how far you must travel to survive.
You have to learn the world around you to know where there is food and water. Then, when winter comes, you need to find fresh water that’s not frozen over, areas of land where the animals aren’t hiding from the harsh weather.
All through this you need to keep your cubs alive so that they can grow older and, when the time comes, take the place of their mother. In Shelter 2 you play across generations of lynx. When all your cubs die you lose the game and the whole family line is forgotten. It’s basically the XCOM of the animal world.
Shelter 2 promises to be just as harrowing as the first game but, also, so much larger and more involved than the original’s linear tale.
I can’t wait till its release this early next year.