Shadow of Loot Box (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 31.01.2019

Review for Shadow of Loot Box on PlayStation 4

The state of the videogame industry is a contentious argument that can stray off into a multitude of different directions depending on what the "issue of the day" is. However, for those who have not been aware of the ongoing loot box drama, microtransactions or the DLC-drama that seems to create controversy every now and then, then developer Stately Snail has put together a "Greatest Hits" album. Shadow of Loot Box attempts to shine a light on all the controversial elements that have found themselves into videogaming in recent times and make fun of them in this first-person shooter.

Shadow of Loot Box seems to have been modelled after Minecraft, with the blocky stage models and rugged texture that also doubles as a throwback to the early Wolfenstein and Doom titles. The aim is to traverse through the 16 stages and battle the different elements that have found themselves creeping into the gaming industry as a whole; while the ultimate evil of all, the Loot Boxes, act as the main enemy, with varying spider-like iterations. As a commentary piece, Shadow of Loot Box is extremely effective at singling out each of the main issues in games by giving them their own levels - and making a statement about them. It is quite comedic in some cases with how these elements play out, but sadly, this also speaks of the current reality of proceedings.

Screenshot for Shadow of Loot Box on PlayStation 4

The opening stage is a simple mechanic-building level that teaches the basics of Shadow of Loot Box, while also rewarding experience points required to level up and learn new abilities; such as running, jumping, pull levers and even to open doors. Then once the pistol is unlocked, the real fun and sad laughs begin. The overall movement is made clunky due to the blocky design; though luckily Shadow of Loot Box can be finished in under two hours, so the movement doesn't drag down the overall experience for any longer than it needs to.

The real winners in this experience is seeing how Stately Snail attempts to commentate on the gaming issues; starting with loot boxes. These evil boxes walk around the various stages on spider-legs, and come in a variety of colours. One thing that is quite annoying in other first-person shooters are the bullet-sponge enemies who go down eventually after pumping a heap of bullets into them. Shadow of Loot Box continues that trend on purpose by making the loot box spiders bullet sponges. Even the rifle and shotgun upgrades barely do anything to lessen the number of bullets required to bring them down.

Screenshot for Shadow of Loot Box on PlayStation 4

But of course, the loot boxes are also pivotal to levelling up as well. While there are evil loot boxes that are out there to kill; there are good loot boxes that will also offer up three random perks when opened. These boxes range from granting health refills or experience points to more ammo for the rifle, shotgun or rocket launcher. True to their nature, what these loot boxes will yield is completely random; and more can be purchased with in-game currency in the 'store.' The open-world stages try to poke fun at these mission-based objectives; such as performing enough villager errands to progress the game or lighting up the fires in the towers to gain an end-level key. There is one level that simply does not exist, with the developer leaving a message stating "we cut it out for its subsequent sale in the form of DLC."

Then there are stages where microtransactions within the in-game store can be used to purchase unlocks and perks to "cheat" the level; such as one stage where a bridge can be purchased which allows a shortcut to the end of the stage, skipping out on the entirety of the level. Another stage is incomplete due to being "rushed" out to meet the game's deadline, and as such, graphics are completely off-target to where the physical widget is set - or in one challenge that requires pressing four-coloured buttons in a certain order; all the buttons are missing their colour textures aside from green.

Screenshot for Shadow of Loot Box on PlayStation 4

Following on from incomplete stages, one stage is completely missing all its textures and is instead a white, vanilla world of shapes. The stages village consists of rectangles representing the denizens themselves in what is an eerie experience. Making purchases in the in-game store requires spending credits - but luckily there are 'ads' to sit through for free credits or cryptocurrency mining schemes to partake in, while one stage freezes regularly due to Digital Rights Management (DRM) errors, losing connection to the server.

While this commentary is something that is needed for the industry to take a good hard look at itself in terms of what it wants gaming to be, Shadow of Loot Box does begin to wear thin with its finger-pointing ways. Though experiencing these stages are funny at the beginning, eventually the in-game mechanics and bullet-sponging loot boxes does make this a hard one to stomach through.

Screenshot for Shadow of Loot Box on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Ironically, by trying to bring to light all the issues plaguing video games in recent times, Shadow of Loot Box is not an overall enjoyable game to play because, as the novelty wears off quickly. Luckily, this is a two-hour experience, so at least it ends quite quickly. The loot box enemies are funny at first; but they are bullet sponges that get quite annoying, especially as weapon-upgrades do little to destroy them quicker. While platform elements and open-world stages creep in, the control mechanics are still clunky enough to detract from the larger issues that Shadow of Loot Box tries to commentate on.


Stately Snail




First Person Shooter



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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