City of the Shroud: Episode 1 – Review
Follow Genre: Strategic Top Down RPG
Developer: Abyssal Arts Ltd.
Publisher: Abyssal Arts Ltd.
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

City of the Shroud: Episode 1 – Review

Site Score
Good: Innovative battles and tongue in cheek humour
Bad: Will the choices of the many outweigh those of the few?
User Score
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)

City of the Shroud is the first title for Abyssal Arts, an international indie game house which hosts many talented veterans in the gaming industry.  This title was advertised on Kickstarter where it was funded in just over a week, showing that they’re on the right path with their ideas and people are very much excited to see what they are bringing to the world. This title will be spread out over four episodes, we will be reviewing the first episode in this review.


You’re a poor farmer coming to the city looking for a better life. You wait your turn to be admitted and end up bribing the customs guard to gain entry… only to be in the middle of a city that is under attack by creatures from another dimension that appeared out of nowhere! After helping an old hat maker who is being robbed by some vagrants, you suddenly stand eye to eye with one of these monsters, so you do the only thing you can think off: you punch it. The monster was almost dead when you punched it, which you keep telling everyone, but now you are hailed as the Hero of Portals and the five most powerful people in the city are fighting over your allegiance. So, you decide to skip town and go back to your quiet life, but unfortunately a magical shroud appears around the city and traps you inside. Welcome, Hero of Portals, to Iskendrun, the city in civil war, covered in other dimensional monsters and everyone looking at you to save the day. You should have just stayed home.

You are gradually introduced to new characters, new plots so you aren’t bombarded with information at every step which leaves you confused. As the story progresses, the player is forced to make choices which impact the storyline for the remainder of the episodes which means that the end result for the players is somewhat open-ended.


City of the Shroud has this cartoon-esque 2/3D vibe about it which really suits well with the overall game. The surroundings are very detailed and characters and actions (such as using the action wheel) come across very smooth and you won’t find any clipping errors or other bugs that ruin your experience. The NPCs you encounter through the game have their unique style about them and look as quirky as possible which fits in perfectly with the chosen style of graphics. Each attack and combo have their own animation, so battles don’t look repetitive as they sometimes do in this kind of title.


The soundtrack for the game is limited at this stage and can get quite irritating if you fight multiple battles in a short time span. When exploring the different parts of the town the background music slightly changes but there are no ambient sounds to really make you feel like you are at the docks or in a temple. None of the NPCs are voiced, which is a shame as it would be great to hear how some of these characters would sound. The action wheel and battle sounds are polished, yet some diversity would be enjoyable as hearing the same sounds when you perform actions, attacks or just fighting battles can get irritating as mentioned before.


City of the Shroud is a strategic open-ended RPG with an innovative way of combining attacks. The action part of the game is portrayed in a real time top down fashion where you control your characters one by one. There is the “Wait Mode” in which you can pause to action while you enter combos on the action wheel, but it adds to the tension when you are controlling multiple characters in real time to take out multiple enemies.

As mentioned before, combat in this title is handled by actions in the action wheel:  you can string together powerful attacks and move around the map to gain a better vantage point (though high ground etc. does not provide you with any bonuses) which all require energy. The useable characters comprise of the usual suspects: tank, marksman, mage and so on – but how you create your team is completely up to you. The flow of the battles and the overall game is very smooth. Battles can get quite repetitive at first when you are just combining the same two attacks repeatedly until the enemies finally drop dead. There is no RPG factor such as levelling up, allocating skill points and so on – you can upgrade the equipment on your characters but that is as far as the functional customization goes.

The storyline is linear yet open ended: You are not able to explore the game in an open world fashion, you can only travel between the different parts of the town where the five most powerful people in the city are located to accept quests from them. The interactions with NPCs are scripted, there is no choice in interactions yet the tongue in cheek humor which appears the entire game will bring a smile to your face. The game is comprised out of four episodes, where your actions and those of your peers in each episode will impact the world. The cumulative influence of the entire player base will decide how the story progresses, which can create rifts in the future for the players that are unhappy with the chosen path but that will remain to be seen.


City of the Shroud is an innovative title which truly conveys the attention of detail and passion the people at Abyssal Arts have for gaming. The tongue in cheek humor, combined with the vibe of the game makes this a title you should pick up if you are a fan of the top down genre, if you like being strategic or if you just want to play a refreshing new title and see where the story progresses to. We cannot wait to see how the story progresses and how it will impact the player base if there are any War of Thorns worthy plot twists.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
City of the Shroud: Episode 1 - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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