Shines Over: The Damned – PS5 Review

0 0
Read Time:4 Minute, 15 Second

Shines Over: The Damned (SO: TD) comes from indie developer Juan-Mod Studios (Shines Over series). Published by Firenut Games (Have A Blast), the single-player first-person horror adventure game has supernatural and sci-fi elements. A mysterious event has left the area, possibly the world empty except for the nameless protagonist and his loyal German shepherd companion. SO: TD is the fourth addition to the Shines Over series showing Juan-Mod’s penchant for horror and survival games.

The game is a PS5 exclusive and is available now. You can also access Juan-Mod Studios’ other games on their website.

There is no darkness without light in Shines Over: The Damned

I hadn’t heard of the Shines Over games before but as a horror fan, I was excited to experience it. Comment below what you think of SO: TD or the series as a whole.


Shines Over: The Damned takes place in an unknown rural part of Asia with only your loyal German Shepard for company. The dog guides you through the area as numerous and mysterious instances of bright light influence your progress. As does a vaguely humanoid creature preying on you every step of the way. The unnamed protagonist follows the linear layout of the game and comes across context clues to piece together what has happened. With no dialogue or other narrative in SO: TD, but putting the pieces together is interesting.

A scary looking and narrow village path which is empty giving a sense of foreboding
Erm, is it too late to turn around and go back?

During the protagonist’s journey, you see beings made of light which disappear when approached and a mysterious woman seen during visions. The predator creature strikes when you come close to the beings of light and repelled with repetitive and predictable QTEs. The actual gameplay is engaging enough but does end up being a bit by the numbers with puzzles and obstacles. For a survival horror, there could have been a lot more tension as a few jump scares were as scary as it got.

At the end of this countryside path is a vortex of wind and a creature of pure light ahead of you
Why are you here little being of light?

However, I was pleasantly surprised about SO: TD’s story being thought-provoking despite the payoff feeling lacklustre. The light and various sounds felt like a manifestation of an alien creature trying to communicate like in the movie Arrival. I also enjoyed seeing the common threads to the rest of the Shines Over series such as the mysterious woman and even the German Shepard. All with little to no dialogue and the plot being open to interpretation.

Graphics & Audio

Shines Over is a great-looking game and uses the PS5 hardware very well. The design of the setting adds to the surreal nature of the game and is unsettling like any good horror should. Just as the title suggests, light and dark are a big part of the game. From beings of light to dark village paths it helps set the atmosphere.

Across a view of the sea is a land mass floating in the sky as the sun has an aura of orange and red
The landscapes are stunning

The audio goes hand in hand with the visual design but isn’t as strong but still solid. There are plenty of environmental sounds and the entity itself which is responsible for whatever happened. Shines Over doesn’t have many sounds or music beyond that so felt a little lacklustre. I felt where there was audio it worked well with the gameplay and graphics/visual design.


Shines Over: The Damned is a short but sweet game finished within an hour or two. While it is a relatively brief game the detail-light narrative does raise many more questions than answers, especially by the end. The ambiguous plot has kept me wondering enough to want to revisit and piece more together.

The player character and German Shepard are sailing in a row boat down a stream between 2 rocky crevices
We don’t deserve this loyal doggo

It is very much a linear path (almost literally) so I don’t feel I missed anything but I am interested to make sure. There are 13 PS trophies for SO: TD making for an easy platinum for the completionists out there.

Final Thoughts

SO: TD is a short but sweet game that delivers an interesting horror experience. It does suffer from being too short and the abstract narrative left mostly unexplained. In its two-hour playtime, there are stunning visuals and solid audio to go with it. And for a linear game, it delivers a compelling plot to ponder and revisit afterwards. But I do wish there were more answers than being left with mostly questions. I enjoyed my time playing SO: TD and am curious to see what Juan-Mod brings us next.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the game, I am happy to give Shines Over: The Damned the Thumb Culture Silver Thumbs Up. You can also read my review of Resident Evil 4 Separate Ways DLC. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the game in the comments.

Disclaimer: A code was received to write this review.

Thumb Culture

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Discord | Podcast

About Author

Average Rating

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *