Parents' Guide to

Shelter 2

By Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Poetic but flawed, confused game falls short of potential.

Game Linux, Mac, Windows 2015
Shelter 2 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 9+

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 was introduced to the game by StacyPlays on Youtube so had none of the issues of knowing how to play that the Common Sense Media reviewer described. I'm not at all attached to this game but wanted to write to counteract the very negative review Common Sense Media gave this game. I see from the bio that the reviewer is an experienced gamer and game designer. Despite these credentials, I found the review was skewed to an older audience and was not in touch with how kids play today or how they learn about new games. I was disappointed in this review because the media landscape is changing for our kids and it would be nice if a site like Common Sense Media could help parents to navigate this changing landscape. For those of you with gamer kids StacyPlays has a number of channels demonstrating different video games including Shelter, Paws (a Shelter game), Meadow (another Shelter game), Minecraft and a variety of Minecraft mods. To get a sense of the games you may need to invest some time watching the videos which can run to half an hour long.
age 11+


as i am a child myself, i have been in love with this game. The graphics are good, but slightly hard when chasing a white rabbit in winter... The story is absolutely fantastic and really puts you in the 'mothering' feel, as you WANT all your cubs to survive. My only annoyance is the controls and the way your (mother lynx)'s stamina runs out super-quick. Over all, this game is great but not worth over £12, unless you want the new dlc, but that is a different review...

This title has:

Great role models
Easy to play/use

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (4):

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.

Game Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate