It is always a pleasant time when a studio is able to do what they love and present a project that will likely excite fans of a particular genre, and with Mimimi Games, the studio’s next project is exactly that. Introduced as Codename Süßkartoffel, we finally learned just what the developers have been up to, and a mystical adventure awaits at the Caribbean seas with Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew.
Another stealth strategy title from the folks who have already given us Desperados 3 and Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is set in an alternate timeline during the Golden Age of Piracy, where the Curse of Lost Souls means that anyone shot in the heart with a Black Pearl live on in death, gaining supernatural powers. This puts them at odds with the forces of the Inquisition, who just so happens to love using soul-devouring fire to hunt down cursed pirates.
It is against this backdrop of conflict that players join The Red Marley, a ghost ship with a living soul, and partake in the hunt for Captain Mordechai’s mysterious treasure. Of course, it wouldn’t be an adventure without some colorful characters, and the cursed pirate crew you’ll be putting together are certainly that, with up to eight in total and three that you can bring on every mission.
While the full crew hasn’t been revealed just yet, what we saw of the three provided plenty of reasons to see how Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew will appeal to fans of the genre. Gaëlle’s magical cannon is able to launch friends or foes as attacks or remove them from being nuisances; Mr Mercury’s soul anchor can help open a magic portal to change how the environment works for your team, while you can dash across spacetime for split-second stealth attacks with Afia’s mythical sword.
All of the action will take place on a variety of exotic islands, where enemies are aplenty, and the level design is meant to be taken advantage of. This includes everything from the “tropical sandy beaches to pirate shanty towns, or Inquisition fortresses and spooky islands that are oozing with curses and magic.” Each island will be “a sandbox basically handcrafted” by the studio “with a high level of detail and packed with different things you can do.”
While the Inquisition has numbers on its side, Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew arms players with various ways to level the playing field. The aforementioned crew members each bring something useful to the table with unique abilities, so no two missions will play out the same with different team configurations.
This will likely bring some added replayability to the game, and with levels set to be a little more confined, having alternate ways of entering the different islands, completing your goals, and then making a clean getaway is always welcomed. The caveat is that you will need to unlock more additions to the crew with progression, and that adds another objective for players to chase down throughout the course of their adventure.
Being able to see the action in real-time is one way, but the time-manipulating magic of The Red Marley also ensures that players can plan and strategize in a whole other way to overcome obstacles. Actions can be queued up and executed for all three pirates at the same time, paving the way for spectacular successes or explosive failures alike. In a bid to make things even more accessible, players have the option of rewinding to an earlier moment to correct any mistakes as well, although Mimimi Games did stress that this is optional.
“We made the game so you can play the way you want. If you want to hide and observe, you can even speed up time, so you don’t have to wait long for a patrol to come back around. In each island, you have the freedom to decide where you want to enter and exit. You can survey each point to find one to your liking before deploying. Shadow Gambit isn’t made to push you towards a solution which we designed. We’re giving you a variety of tools to find your own unique strategies,” explained Dominik Abé, Creative Director and founder of the studio.
And once you are done being a brilliant mastermind, there is also time to relax on board the ghost ship, where hanging out with your crew mates will provide more lore and potentially side quests that can give you more of a backstory about your favorite undead pirates.
Even at this early viewing, the visuals of Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew stand out for their vibrancy and detail, bringing to life the Lost Caribbean and ensuring that all of the otherworldly happenings are taking the spotlight. It is charming, to say the least, and it bodes well for players looking not just for a fun time, but also a good-looking adventure.
Be it sneaking behind enemy lines, obtaining fabled treasures, or just relieving islands of the Inquisition’s control; it will take the clever use of magical skills and brilliant planning to ensure your objectives are achieved in Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew, and this is where Mimimi Games has always shone. Couple that with the excellent visuals and the further commitment to making strategic and tactical decisions a core part of the experience, and fans should have another treasure on their radar.
“Shadow Gambit is unique, and an evolution from our previous games. In our previous games that had a more realistic setting, we were super limited in what we could do in terms of character skills, mechanics and gameplay. But now, with Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew, we can go full fantasy and magic,” Abé shared.
“This means we have got talking ghost ships, a magical world and cursed pirates with supernatural abilities, which gives us a lot of freedom to design meaningful and crazy mechanics. And all this creates a never-seen-before depth in terms of the core gameplay. And what’s more, the magical fantasy aspect allows us to change the whole flavor and narration around the quicksave and quickload mechanics. But this time, we’re getting rid of the discrepancy of the players using the mechanic versus the inworld logic of it as in Shadow Gambit, it’s embedded into the world of the game as The Red Marley gives you literally the power of manipulating time and rewinding time.”
Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew will release in 2023 on PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5.