Shadowrun Returns: Futurepunk Fantasy

Often, we see board game tie-ins for popular video game franchises; Shadowrun Returns, produced and Kickstarted by Harebrained Schemes, is one of the interesting titles that goes the other way. The original Shadowrun was a pencil and paper RPG by FASA Corp, which was first published in 1989. Returns is set in the same cool science fantasy universe, and has a great deal of flavor. Be prepared to read a lot of text, however; the only sounds are combat sounds and well done music. The dialogue and descriptions are amazing well written, however, so I find myself enjoying them almost more than the fairly challenging strategically but easy to work with combat system.

Interesting campaign... and steam workshop support!
Interesting campaign… and steam workshop support!
The skillz to pay the billz
The skillz to pay the billz
Who I am as a person
Who I am as a person

The character creation obviously takes from the pencil and paper RPG system. The way it works is interesting; you must level up an overall stat, such as strength, before you can spend points on, for example, unarmed combat. It allows for specific specializations. In my main Run, my character is a mage with a secondary specialization in rifles. The character customization is a nice touch, and because of the top down third person view of the game, your character portrait actually matters!

My crappy home
My crappy home
Flashback!
Flashback!
Talking to jerkus mcgerkus
Talking to jerkus mcgerkus
Ambush!
Ambush!
We live!
We live!

The combat is fairly usual turn based RPG fare; percent chance to hit, static damage. Elemental effects happen from different spells, weapons can often do more burst damage but require a reload. Spells are often more powerful but have a cooldown. Spell slots are easy to get, however, so it is often not difficult to use casting as your only offensive capability.

I played around with other combat styles, mainly because of the party system in the game. For many Runs (missions), you will control multiple characters with different combat styles. This is great for trying out other builds, and if you are early in the game there is nothing stopping you from changing combat styes (besides the points cost.) Furthermore, you get Karma (points used to level skills) for non combat actions, and in fact most will be gained outside of combat. This makes the different parts of the game (Exploration & dialogue as well as Combat) tie well together.

With excellent writing and great music, this game is worth a look! They have funded a sequel through Kickstarter, and I wish them the best of luck in their gaming endeavors!

Personal Game Scoring System:

(Scale of 1-5, one being a hot mess and 5 being amazingly well done)

Fun: 4

Polish: 4

Update Schedule: 3

Journeying Through A Futurepunk Dystopia: 5

Hi! I am Eugene Shenderov, and I am a starting game designer. You can find my website at www.thisandthatgames.com. Send me a message if you have any questions!

Have a great day!

Eugene Shenderov

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