Harebrained Schemes' role-playing game Shadowrun Returns made its debut on mobile devices today. Returns, a brand-new adventure based on the popular pen-and-paper game, can be purchased through iTunes or Google Play for $9.99.
The Shadowrun series imagines a future in which magic has returned to the world. Elves, mages, and dragons are now a reality and exist alongside advanced technology like cybernetic limbs and a global neural network. Corporations, governments and other groups employ mercenaries known as "shadowrunners" to do their dirty work.
The player character in Shadowrun Returns is a shadowrunner who learns his former partner has been killed. He travels to the city of Seattle to track down the serial killer responsible. During their investigation, they'll encounter street gangs, corporate footsoldiers, ghouls and more.
The game is primarily a turn-based strategy. Players build their character from one of six different archetypes and then hire other shadowrunners to help them. With the money and experience gained through their quests, players can beef up their character with cybernetic implants, better equipment and new abilities. I found the strategy side of the game a tad simplistic but the story is sharp enough to make the journey worth taking.
Shadowrun Returns was funded last year through a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. Harebrained's initial goal was $400,000 but they managed to raise over $1.8 million. The excess funds were used on the development of iOS and Android versions, the inclusion of Riggers as a playable class, and a new campaign set in Berlin. Harebrained is currently developing the Berlin DLC for an unknown release date.
Returns was released on PC and Mac this summer. It's $10 more expensive on those platforms but, then again, PC/Mac gamers can build their own missions and share them for free. It's a shame that Harebrained couldn't include this feature on the mobile versions as it's arguably the best part of the game. Still, even without user-generated content, Returns still offers a campaign that's about 12 hours long.