Shelter 2 Mountains DLC breathes in some much needed challenge to the core experience and manages to deliver an impacting, (almost) worthwhile experience to a game that is already held in high regard amongst its fans. It provides players with one brand new zone within the game world to explore at their own peril. Protecting your cubs during their infancy from Wolves, Bears and screaming birds of prey, become an ever more omnipresent danger you will have to deal with whilst exploring new grounds.
Mountains DLC however is not quite the up-tooling that Shelter 2 requires to pull in additional customers or potential fans as some aspects of the game are still ‘lacking’, particularly regarding overall challenge, combat and most importantly, the games overall length. It will still take most people approximately two hours of their time to complete with or without this DLC; so to say it adds any substantial meat or run-time to the experience is based solely on the individual playing it which is a shame because it is a beautiful world to explore and gaze upon in awe at your own leisure but bolstering the Ecosystem has only taken Shelter 2 so far in the right direction.
There are welcome additions such as your cubs becoming sick and incapacitated and depending on where you are, means you will be forced to either stand your ground and forage for nutrients with which to heal your sick and injured or risk losing them to the great circle of life. Everything eats something and you and your pride of Lynx are no exception to the rule. You can however carry your injured to a safer, remote location but if more than one cub is sick at a time it becomes a potentially deadly juggling act and I will admit that I lost one of my cubs this way. Yes, I felt awful.
The problem is that there are no ways in which to defend against attacking predators, while realistically a Lynx will not take down a bear in reality, the very lack of any defensive options against all predatory wildlife within the game means that sometimes you will feel cheated out of losing one of your offspring because the game decides to swing a curve-ball and there is little you can do against it. If a bird of prey or fox grabs one of your Cubs, you have a limited window in which to leap onto its back and take it out but this is one of the rare exceptions where you feel you can regain control of an unwieldy situation. It is clear this sense of apathy is intended by the Developers but it may lead to new or younger players feeling frustrated with the game and potentially turn away, which would be criminal.
Collectibles now serve a purpose to some degree as a new obtainable skin for Inna can be granted after finding all artifacts throughout the game, but with a lack of information on the in-game map or any sense of where they are, many are likely to skip over this as routing out all one-hundred collectibles becomes more a chore than a passion and is likely to distract from the flow of the game.
Now, I did not particularly want to mention the price of the DLC but I must really lay into the fact that at $4.50 (£3.99 here in the UK) minus the discount on release is really pushing their chances. The base game is £10.99 so they are indirectly stating that the DLC for just under 40% of the price that the main game is, is equal to the value of this DLC’s worth. In which I must respond ‘well there is not enough there for a consumer to believe that this is the case’. Charging just short of half the price of the main game that comes with four or five zones; for just one new area and an additional set of three new ‘enemy types’ primarily within that zone? No amount of collectibles in a single section of a larger game is going to entice anybody that it was worth the cash because in the long and short there just is not enough content to justify the admission price, for me and likely a few others who may come to play it.
This is the most damning thing about the DLC because I genuinely enjoy the game and urge others to play it because it is just not like every other game. However, with all these questionable themes in the DLC; one has to wonder if it will do more damage than good and for its sake, I hope it negates all damage and people out there continue to enjoy it and accept what content Might & Delight (Developers) give. If this is your thing and you feel your time and money can meet your expectations with this DLC package then, there is nothing to fear, but on a consumer to consumer basis; arguments are inevitably going to vary between those who thought it was worth their money and those who think the very opposite, this is the demographic I warn. Ultimately, if you purchase this DLC and feel it was worth it then more power to you, really.
In all, Shelter 2 Mountains DLC is a practical addition to the base game but it does not hit the highs of the foundation it is built on nor does it really attract a great deal of additional playtime with its ONE new zone that feels rewarding or substantial enough to be a ‘must-buy’ to improve the core experience, which is the worst of its few meager flaws. It is with a heavy heart because I love this game, that I cannot recommend this to returning players who are already adequately fulfilled with the base game.
– Daniel Kerr Spendlove