Shalnor Legends: Sacred Lands is basically a The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past clone, it plays pretty much the same, with the old school top down isometric view, you have simple controls and fight an unknown evil, and it even has bushes!. Whether it’s considered a Zelda clone or not, Shalnor stands on it’s own.
Created by a one man Dev team, Johnny Ostad has done an amazing job at creating this game, or maybe I’m just biased because a link to the past is my favourite Zelda game and it is quite similar as I mentioned above. You travel the world smashing barrels and cutting bushes (once you find a sword) and collect gold coins to help level your gear later on, once you encounter the right characters. There are tonnes of dungeons and caves to explore beneath the zones you have access to on the surface, there is a set order to do things however such as needing to go to the desert at the start and then going somewhere else to obtain the bow to then return to the desert in order to progress. Puzzles seem a bit easy but that might be me as most games I just walk through no problems.
The controls are simple yet smooth, nothing is awkward to do from using the bow to using your sword, you don't need to equip them they are already assigned to specific buttons which is a nice thing though I wouldn't of complained if you had to equip them. Though I’m not to far into the story myself yet but there is over 10 hours of content which is more than most AAA games these days for a fraction of the price! From what I have seen so far the story is well presented, a lot of thought has been put into it, you wouldn't of thought this was a one man project. The story is captivating and you just want to play until the next bit is done. The game allows you to shift to night or day when sleeping, which is also how you save the game, during the night certain events occur such as a cave near the beginning that only opens at night, or monsters that are annoying as hell in the day (I’m looking at you desert wasps) are not there. However darkness brings it’s own dangers!
Through the many caves and dungeons you will come across traps, whether it be fireballs or spikes coming out of the floor your dash move is invaluable, and also fun to use, though your stamina quickly drains all it takes is a quick swig from a potion and you can carry on, or you can wait a few seconds to regenerate your stamina but who has time for that!
Verdict: As I mentioned in the review, A Link To The Past is my all time favourite of all of the Zelda games so Shalnor grabbed me instantly, I say often on the reviews that this is my new favorite game, and Shalnor is now way ahead of everything, it’s going to be tough to knock off the top spot, I think Johnny Ostad has done a fantastic job especially with it just being him (as far as I'm aware), he has created a world which is at least in some way inspired by a beloved franchise and has given a very thought out captivating story, which has high levels of content for an indie title. I am thoroughly pleased with this title, and I am proud to play it, I can’t wait to see whats in store with Johnny’s future titles.
Developer: Johnny Ostad
Publisher: Johnny Ostad
Release Date: 7/09/2018
Available on: Steam and Xbox One
Xbox one version provided for review purposes.