Not the most beautiful, well written or mechanically innovative game you'll play, but devilishly fun while it lasts.

User Rating: 7 | The Shrouded Isle PC

The Shrouded Isle succeeds in the one area that is most important for games: it's fun to play. It scratches an itch similar to The Sims but with a delightfully wicked wrapper.

Uncovering all the ways the major components of the game interplay with one another and how best to manage them kept me engaged over two full playthroughs. You must keep happy the five most prominent houses from whom you select both your advisors and your seasonal sacrifices. Exposing each family members' virtues and vices will help inform your decisions. The citizenry must also be kept committed to the cause across five separate attributes.

Often times remedying one flaw among the cultists will negatively impact other factors. This makes the process of playing an enjoyable balancing act. I found the difficulty to be about right. It stretches you thin enough to keep you from getting comfortable while never feeling cheap.

Strangely, the Steam store page has more background details and info on how to play than the game itself. There is no tutorial, just a short opening cutscene setting the stage before throwing you straight into the thick of it.

All of the winning conditions for the best ending are not made known to you, which I think is fine for a game of this length and style. My first playthrough was a little over 3 hours and concluded in one of the failed endings despite seemingly not having failed at anything. Armed with a little more information my second playthrough took just over 2 hours and was a much easier full success.

After two completions I feel that I've seen enough. The story and endings are less interesting than the setting itself and so the other four "failure" endings will remain unseen.

The rough monochrome art style passably drew me into this dark Lovecraftian world. The cutscenes are more along the lines of moving comics than fully animated scenes. Clearly this isn't a AAA production, but it's enough not to be a detriment. I got more enjoyment out of the music which matches the morbid themes of the game. With limited tracks it can grow repetitive though.

I am another reviewer who received this through Humble Monthly and am pleasantly surprised with how much fun I had with it. At 10$ full price I'll leave it to you to decide if that is a good value for a game you'll likely only spend 2 to 5 hours with.