1995 Sierra On-Line
Designed by Marcia Bales
Reviewed 1996 November 21

Rating -2 Linearity open
Reasonability deductive Connectivity minimal
Difficulty challenging Relevance weak
Interface 1st paned simple Real-time minor

On a dare, you are to spend the night in a supposedly haunted museum. Upon entry, you soon discover that it really is haunted by escaped demons, known as Ixupi. If you are to survive the night you must find and recapture the demons.

It's debatable whether Shivers should be considered an adventure game. It has exploration, a background story, and puzzles -- all the ingredients are there. However, each is almost completely disassociated from the other two -- they haven't been cooked. A slab of dough isn't bread, so Shivers isn't an adventure game.

Shivers takes place in an uncompleted, abandoned museum. It's a lovely setting, with good graphics and plenty of detail. There's a lot to explore, and this aspect is fun by itself. I found the music extremely enjoyable, probably the best of any game I've played.

The museum was build by a rich eccentric, which is the game's excuse for dropping silly puzzles all over. Most of these puzzles are completely disconnected from the game, and several are old familiar standbys. They require brute force logical deduction, not any intuitive insight. The others are a simple application of an explicit clue found elsewhere in the museum.

The gameplay consists of running about the museum looking for matching sets of pots and lids to contain the Ixupi. You solve puzzles to open doors and boxes. Bits of the back-story appear here and there, but they're irrelevant to the gameplay. At first this is interesting, since it's a nice setting, but it eventually becomes tedious, running through the same rooms over and over. A very fast machine might help this a bit.

Ultimately, I found the game unsatisfying. Better puzzles abound at your local newsstand. Without a plot to drive the exploration, that aspect becomes tedious. The story itself is perfunctory, with little depth or imagination. The disassociation of these elements mean there is no chance for synergy. At least the game lasts a long while, if you can bear the tedium.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.

Related reviews:

  • Shivers 2
    David Tanguay's Game Reviews
    Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.