PS5 Review: Shines Over: The Damned

Is this horror damned from the start?

Shines Over: The Damned will take you into a unique experimental horror experience in first person, where your senses will be tested and your reality questioned. You have no name, no memory, no weapons. There are no friends to protect you. You are alone except for your faithful German Shepherd dog, who will guide you through this dark world and stay by your side. Immerse yourself in a mysterious and terrifying walking simulator with your faithful companion, where jump scares, tension, and environmental puzzles surround you, and danger lies in wait. Beware of the horrors that await you in Shines Over: The Damned. You have been warned…

Horror walking simulator games have been plentiful over the years, some have nailed the horror element quite well, while others not so much. Shines Over: The Damned has all the hallmarks of a decent one with its atmospheric setting, but could it be a horror in another way?

The game almost feels like a tech demo in a sense. There’s no option to pause, the game doesn’t save and if you hit Options twice you are sent back to the main menu and have to restart from the beginning. First-person platforming can be hit and miss, in which case this I sadly the latter with brutally difficult jumps to make with zero room for error. The puzzles themselves are obscure and at times, they actually glitched until I died and came back to the area to find it completed.

Other times you can die without knowing why and have to replay a good 5-10 minutes before getting back to the same area, then die again. I was able to beat the game in the end, but it was more through perseverance than skill. The horror aesthetic of the game is impressive and it looks stunning, The audio is decent and the framerate is steady throughout but the jump scares do come too often and so much so, that you end up knowing when its coming.

The Verdict

Shines Over: The Damned looks impressive and has some good ideas, but the design choices like a lack of a pause menu and not being able to save is just bizarre. The glitches are frustrating and the jump scares become predictable. It’s a shame when it looks as good as it does to see it fail to achieve its goal.

Score: 5.0