REVIEW | Enshrouded

REVIEW | Enshrouded

“A perfect exemplar of an indie gem.” |

In a world currently obsessed with AI, and in a gaming landscape saturated with procedural generation, we’ve come to appreciate handcrafted worlds and adventures more than ever before. Enshrouded offers one of the most beautiful and expansive open worlds I’ve seen in a while, all traversable seamlessly after one initial load, while offering a tasteful mix of enjoyable exploration, resource gathering, crafting, and combat.

You awaken as a Flameborn in a land ravaged by humanity’s lust for power, destroyed in their countless attempts at extracting ‘Elixir,’ a substance that can make humans more powerful. In their thoughtless exploitation of the land, they released the Shroud, a mysterious fog that consumes and distorts whatever it touches. Luckily for you, the Flameborn are the only ones who can resist the Shroud to some extent, so it falls upon you to reclaim the land, rebuild, and discover what is the Shroud and if it can be driven away.

ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on X!

DeveloperKeen Games GmbH
PublisherKeen Games GmbH

Gorgeous art

Things I liked!

  • Minimal handholding | For a game that focuses on exploration and discovering the world and its history, letting the player discover things is the correct move. That’s not to say the game won’t help you, as it provides tutorials that you can review whenever you need them. However, when a new recipe suddenly requires clay, you’ll be right in assuming you need to find a place in the world where to mine it from.
  • Runs flawlessly | Nowadays, my PC is considered middle of the road. Yet with an old i7 (4th gen) and a GTX2060, I have barely spotted any frame dips. The loading time can be long, but it happens only once at launch. Being able to run anywhere in this handcrafted world (yes, no procedural generation here) seamlessly feels like a dream.
  • Base building system | Enshrouded does something very clever with its building blocks. Each of the prefabs are simply ‘shortcuts’ that are built with the exact amount of individual 1x1x1 blocks; so you can place down a prefab and simply remove individual blocks to make a window larger, or add blocks to make it smaller, etc. On top of that, prefabs can clip into any others freely, which means game logic will never get in the way of player vision.
  • Player-centric progression | Beyond the first few hours, progression in Enshrouded will be dictated by player needs. Whatever you require to craft the next item you want, or to upgrade your existing equipment to tackle harder areas, will become your next objective. If you prefer to focus on base building, you can flesh that out first; if combat is what you enjoy, then upgrading your gear will be what you dedicate your time to. It’s a hands-off approach without being directionless that emphasises the themes of exploration and discovery of the adventure.

The rare Hun flying squirrel

Neither good nor bad

  • Difficulty | While I consider combat to be simply one more ingredient of the meal, it is undeniable that it leans towards the easy side. Most ranged attacks are easily avoidable, melee pursuers can’t catch up with you and the titular shroud is only ever a problem if you get completely lost or accidentally step into a dead river or into deadly shroud (both of which kill you in two seconds.) Difficulty is highly subjective, but there’s far more discussion online on how easy the game is than on it being too hard.
  • Too little water | Water is difficult to animate and to program, so I understand that corners have to be cut. It feels weird to see such a vast green expanse without a river or a lake anywhere. I just hope some is added as building by the coast or literally over the water are by far my preferred locations. Oh, and it is a known fact that every game considered a masterpiece has a fishing mechanic, so…

Reminds you of something?

Things I disliked!

  • Multiplayer plays rough | Once more I understand that corners have to be cut, and programming multiplayer in an engine built from scratch is daunting to say the least. When played through short distances and stable connections, Enshrouded multiplayer works as advertised; however, many players have reported instability and lag the more players join a server. Personally, I cannot play with my usual group as we are very far apart (I’m talking an ocean’s worth) because I experience horrible lag spikes that are only on my end. Apparently, the game doesn’t handle packet loss or out-of-order packets too well. I really hope they can fix this soon as I’ve been having an absolute blast otherwise so far.
  • Some quality of life is needed | There was never one singular thing that would put me off from playing, but there were moments when I’d groan and have to find a workaround to some oversights. For example, when crafting a complex item, you cannot craft intermediate components from that same menu. You must exit that workbench, go to the relevant one, craft those components and then come back. You can sleep to speed through the night in 10 seconds, so you can leave for adventure nice and early; however, if the sun will set in 2 minutes, you have to wait for night to fall so you can speed through it. Some skills feel placed at random in the skill tree progression, like one right at the end of the Tank tree that causes allies in close proximity take 10% less damage. At that stage of the game, this is barely a convenience thing.

How long did I play the review before publishing? 24 hours.
How long to beat the story? 30-35 hours.
How many Achievements did I earn before publishing? 14 (37%)
How long to get all achievements | 60 hours.
You’ll love this game if you like these | Valheim, the ARK series, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Outward


90/100 ⭐ | Enshrouded is a perfect exemplar of an indie gem. While not as polished as a big first party release, it still shines just as bright with the palpable passion of the team behind it. Having recently surpassed 2 million players, and assuming Keen Games GmbH can improve on its shortcomings, the future of this game looks quite promising. The rest of 2024 will have to bring out its best to keep up!