With a passion for games that offer powerful storytelling experiences and exploration, popular game critic Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw decided to use these two elements and create The Consuming Shadow.
When an ancient god tries to enter our world through Stonehedge, it’s up to the player to find four runes in order to stop the transition. These runes are spread across England, and a series of car trips, conversations, shopping trips, shoot outs, and coffee breaks eventually lead you to a conclusion.
A mix of survivor horror elements and management designs are combined with a narrative that gives you 72 in-game hours to complete. Travelling from town to town takes time, so does searching for clues and supplies. An ominous yet subtle ‘boom’ chimes in with the passing of each hour to remind you the end grows nearer. An eerie score attaches itself to the start screen, setting the tone for the rest of the game right from the get-go.
Clues you find throughout the course of the game pile up over time, and your actions have immediate, at times deadly, consequences. If the time limit and threat of permanent death don’t phase you, a depleting sanity meter should keep you on your toes. Over time, twisted, mysterious text messages will roll in during your town-to-town travels, jarring your mind and increasing the possibility of suicide. Drugs you find throughout your adventure can ease your mentality and help you focus on the task at hand.
When you enter a building or park, you’re placed in a 2-D plane with a map of the “dungeon” you’re in on the top left. You have the ability to sprint, shoot, loot, and investigate clues during these sections. Ammunition can run out in no time, in which case you’re left to pistol whip your enemies that consist of headless mutants, large flying insects, and other indescribable abominations.
The game has done a commendable job so far of establishing tone. The random, unpredictable encounters on the road, the need to rest occasionally and regain focus, the constant loss of sanity, and the easily accessible gameplay amount to an impressive reveal for Croshaw. If you have any feedback, he encourages you to pass it along to him so a full version of the game can contain more content. You can download the free beta here.