Review — Shines Over: The Damned

Shines Over: The Damned — Key Art

We sit down and review Shines Over: The Damned. A terrifying walking simulator that gives us a good boy as our companion. Here is our review of this remake for Shines Over: The Damned

If you are in the market for a surreal and bizarre new walking simulation title, then get ready to dive into what we have for Shines Over: The Damned. A title that has a good portion of all of that and also has a few other things to offer up as Firenut Games sets us all out there into this new world. All with almost next to nothing else to know about it all before setting forth. Thankfully, we had a chance to give Shines Over: The Damned a solid play on the PS5 since it has launched out there. Now you can head out there and blindly give it a go or join us for our official review of this title to see if it is going to be worth your time and money. Let us all begin.


Imagine waking up in a strange place with no memories, no name, and nothing to help you survive. The only other sign of life being that of a German Shepherd that does not always want to stay by your side, this is where you all will start in Shines Over: The Damned as we and our protagonist aim to figure out what is going on and how they can get out of the new world they are in. One that seems to have more puzzles to it all than it truly needs to. Are we being tested or is this just a weird fever dream as we die out in another location? I guess we will need to wander about more to figure all of that out.

Shines Over: The Damned — Review

Shines Over: The Damned — Review


To say that Shines Over: The Damned has puzzles feels like a bit of a misrepresentation of things. At least in a way that feels like it is something gamers would be used to. There are some in the game, sure, but they range from the most basic and only placed in the game to slow us down on one end. On the other, they make no sense and have little indication we are doing them correctly in the first place, so it comes down to brute-forcing the solution. I never felt as if there was an in-between anywhere in Shines Over: The Damned. For example, back-to-back, there is one puzzle that requires us to step on pillars in a certain order, only there is nothing to indicate we have done it right until the game presses forward. That is followed by another that shows symbols in an order and we only need to press them in the same order. It never felt like there was any rhyme or reason the entire game.

Building from that, in Shines Over: The Damned when you are not walking, you are going to be doing some manner of platforming. Maybe this was a different kind of puzzle, but it never truly felt like it was honed in to make it work perfectly. There was one where we had to jump onto invisible pillars, only to have the run-and-jump mechanic never feel like it truly worked. Then another part of Shines Over: The Damned where we are floating down a river in a boat and need to dodge hazards. Sometimes they would still register a hit when nowhere near them and other times we could run right into them without any issue. It was odd and was just another thing in the game that made it feel like it was a bug that was left in to make things harder than they would have been if it was pulled out. You can read that as it was not a feature but they hoped that it would feel that way.

Shines Over: The Damned — Review

Shines Over: The Damned — Review


In the description for Shines Over: The Damned, it is listed as a horror title. That is one of the parts it shines in when it comes to doing jump scares in the game. Even though they did happen at normal places, the spirits that attacked us as we were going through the game always seemed to hit at the right point to even get me to jolt a bit. This is something that I have grown used to being able to spot in video games, but Shines Over: The Damned did manage to surprise me along the way. A tall order and it nailed it almost every time. Even when in areas where I knew we had to be safe, I still felt a little on edge to make sure that I was not going to be shocked by another spirit taking that perfect advantage in the mix out there. This is something that other games can take note of and try to bring forward if they want to go with the jump scare tactic.

While not the greatest of things to include here, I do have to say that Shines Over: The Damned loaded and flowed rather well while playing the game. That is, when loading from death or into the next section of the game, the time to wait was rather low and usually only extended because I forgot to do something. Why is this in the ‘loved’ section you are thinking? Well, given that you will most likely die a lot in Shines Over: The Damned, being so efficient with the code so we can get back into the mix is a massive boon. It is what kept me coming back and retrying the puzzles that made no sense or when the platforming mechanics did not seem to function well. Had it taken any longer, I would have just set the game down and never come back to it. Something I have done with games that excel where this one has faulted, but because it took so long to get back into the game, I would just quit instead of pressing forward.

Shines Over: The Damned — Review

Shines Over: The Damned — Review


When all is said and done for Shines Over: The Damned, this is a hard title to recommend out there for many. At least if it was a full-price title on the PS5. It is short and a bit lacking when it comes to direction, but there is no denying it was a solid distraction from many of the other games out there. If you like getting jump scared when playing a horror game, then Shines Over: The Damned is worth at least one play-through. If that is not your bag and the following gameplay does not get you interested, then you are going to want to skip this one. It truly is a one-and-done kind of experience with little else to help it shine. Even if the title of the game does make it sound like it should be a shining example of a horror game with walking simulations mixed in. The dog does not help sell it much either.

I give Shines Over: The Damned 6 Blue Orbs on the Blue Orb scale.

Shines Over: The Damned — Hades Plays The Game [PS5 Gameplay]

Shines Over: The Damned was developed and published by Firenut Games for the PS5 on March 20th, 2024. A PlayStation copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.

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