Paws: The Call Of The Wild Ignored
By Gwendolyn L. Spelvin
Once upon a time in a N64 era textured land far way, lived the lynx Inna and her cubs. One particularly yellow pixelated cub that looked like none of the others fed into curious temptation and wandered away. Lost, and not a bit worried, the little cub playfully explores the vast jagged rendered forests of 3D sprites to find its way back to the others to live happily ever after.
Welcome to Paws: A Shelter 2 Game, a side story spin-off to Shelter.
For all intents and purposes, Paws is the ideal fantasy for fans that felt cheated out of a not having The Adventures of Milo and Otis adapted into a game. Or having The Lion King reboot fizzle into the void. Either way, the mere basic expectations of a lost survival saga through the life of a feline fell on development deaf ears, and churned out a complete epic fail.
Playing as an adventurous cub on his own without a clue of survival skills should have been the fun house of countless hours of mayhem, murder, and mischief indicative to a lynx’s natural habitat and lifestyle. Instead, Paws is a very G rated interactive tour guide simulator sans Animal Planet narration.
Instead of training missions of hunting, territorial defending from predators, or even avoiding hunters, players are left with absolutely nothing to do but walk, meow, jump and randomly smell a leaf. There is no death. No health. Just happiness watching birds go by or trees swaying to the right. After all, it’s the greatest, safest outdoor adventure for the easiest prey possible in the forest.
If there are levels or achievements, they are hiding behind the poorly rendered 3D textures that look like one big scribble of crayon on paper. It is inexcusable with modern game engines to continue to use sprite sheets of low quality and on a sequel. The cub is only one shade darker than tree bark. Background textures comprising the forest all look alike and blend like camouflage.
The graphics from hell promise to keep your attention on the game via a miraculous migraine.
A dimly lit map screen has nothing on it but polygon shapes. No location beacons, objectives, hidden items. Just a blank slate of broken pieces of nothingness. Noticeably lacking are a much needed tutorial to figure out what the hell is going on and manual save points.
In spite of the flaws, there is full controller support and a sufficient options screen that allows for a customizable windowed mode that supports resolutions up to 5120×2880. The music is calm and serene; the lone DLC pack is exclusively the soundtrack. Refrain from reading the credits as the font and color are not distinctive enough to read.
Paws has the potential of being something absolutely magnificent, with the right direction. A complete graphics upgrade into the 21st Century on current generation textures is a start. Dedicated storytelling is a push in the right direction. Blood, gore, and death is a definitive must dealing with animals in the wild. Until those changes are done, this game should be shelved indefinitely.
At the end of the day, two hours of game time will get you a very serious migraine that needs to be slept off. Consider this a title to play when you’ve kidnapped enemy insurgents and you need to get intel from them. Don’t even watch the trailer; it gives a false sense of security to the non-existent fun assumptions. The replay value is only for complete self-entertainment spoofs of horrible narration on Animal Planet shows.
On a scale of 100, this game gets a 1/100.