Shelter 2

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Shelter 2 Game Poster Image
Poetic but flawed, confused game falls short of potential.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Starts with a positive premise: a mother lynx caring for her new litter of kittens. But rearing those kits to adulthood is handled by killing other animals. Though this is nature's way, not particularly positive by human standards.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The game is dedicated "to mothers everywhere," so designers intend for the momma lynx to be seen heroically. Still, her main talent is killing rabbits, deer and giving their carcasses to her offspring. 

Ease of Play

Movement in Shelter 2 is easy enough, but inadequate instruction makes game's mechanics, objectives unclear. 

Violence

Players spend majority of the game chasing down prey, giving their dead bodies to her babies. Blood shown on dead animals and the mouths, paws of momma and babies when they eat. Since artwork is so stylized, not particularly gory. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shelter 2 is a serious downloadable adventure game illustrating the reality of life in the wild. It shows a mother lynx killing other animals to feed her babies as well as the bloodied bodies of her prey. It also depicts the reality of underfed babies starving to death or being killed by predators, but the stylized nature of the game's visuals reduces the impact of any gory imagery.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byFire_Foxx10 May 8, 2015

Excellant!

I've played this game before and no less than loved it! (also if this sounds weird, ignore it says I'm a parent. Something got messed up, but I'm... Continue reading
Adult Written byBajantomorrow April 17, 2017

Good game for animal loving gamer kids

My child plays this game and loves it. The game depicts nature which can indeed be harsh but the graphics are not gory or gratuitous in my opinion. My child... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 3, 2015

Beautiful game and art style

Oh my god this game is so emotional, the story is that you are a mother Lynx and you give birth to your Cubs and try to make them survive as long as you can. Wh... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old April 17, 2017

Why Shelter is a good game

I think this is a beautiful game. It gets you into the character. It makes you feel like this is happening to you - the changing seasons. And, to watch your bab... Continue reading

What's it about?

In SHELTER 2, players are cast as an unlikely protagonist, a mother lynx in the wild raising a new litter of kits. She must find shelter, food, and water, as well as protect the kits from predators until the day they're strong enough to strike out on their own. 

Is it any good?

Shelter 2 is essentially a retread of its predecessor, with lynxes instead of badgers, setting you loose in the wild while raising a new litter of kits. The game starts well, with a beautiful and poetic introduction featuring snowy woods, a heart-stopping wolf chase, and a sky full of stars. But things take a turn for the worse, because you have no idea what you're supposed to do. Hunt? Run around? Expect a lot of experimentation and frustration trying to figure out where to go and how to survive. Even worse, you'll have to feed your kits almost constantly to get them strong enough to follow you so they learn to hunt on their own, or they'll die. This is a lesson many players will learn the hard way because there's nothing indicating how hungry the babies are. It's heartbreaking and simply feels unfair. Worse yet, a near-unreadable map covered with abstract symbols and a tacked-on collection mechanic (why would a mother lynx need to run around collecting feathers or leaves?) keeps you going in circles, hinting at what should've been more fully realized gameplay.

For all it gets wrong, Shelter 2 does get some things right. Its angular vector graphics make it visually distinct from other games and give it an otherworldly quality. Its gentle guitar and piano score adds tension, drama, and a melancholy atmosphere to the gameplay. Most importantly, it gets you emotionally invested in the first 60 seconds. The intro is really effective at making you care about the momma lynx and her babies, which only makes it harder to accept when the emotion and content peter out. Shelter 2 could have been a remarkable expression of life in the wild, but insufficient direction and disjointed presentation make it feel incomplete. It succeeds in creating a beautiful and compelling take on the natural world but fails as a game by refusing to give players a foothold in it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about wildlife families. What must a momma lynx do to make sure her babies grow up strong?

  • Discuss the seasons. Which season is your favorite, and why? 

  • Discuss why animals kill and how Shelter 2 depicts killing compared to other video games. Is it justifiable because it depicts the state of nature?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love nature

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