Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is not only one of the best games of 2023, but unarguably the best example of its genre. That developers MiMiMi are closing their doors for good soon is, frankly, shocking, but they’ve seen fit to grace us with not one, but two DLC offerings for Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew before they do.
An isometric stealth tactics game, Shadow Gambit’s main campaign puts you in control of Afia Manicato, acting captain of the sentient ghost ship, The Red Marley. As you search for the treasure of the Marley’s former captain, you must recruit the rest of the undead crewmates to your cause. The absolute best element of Shadow Gambit is being able to take any combination of three crewmates into missions, and mixing their unique powers to overcome steep challenges and defeat the Inquisition, a religious sect armed with deadly Maiden’s Fire.
Each piece of Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew DLC brings with it 6 new missions for a total of 12, which integrate seamlessly into the main campaign. And if you’re already done, you can play them all in a block during the postgame. For big fans the system couldn’t be better, heaping on new missions to keep Afia Manicato and company busy. But while the extra missions are nice, the main event of each DLC is the new crewmate.
First up, there’s Yuki, whose DLC, “Yuki’s Wish” sees her stowing away on the Red Marley with her adorable tanuki partner, Kuma. MiMiMi fans will recognise Yuki as one of the best characters from Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun. Her plucky, charming attitude makes her a little unique among the crew, but her skillset is insanely good.
Yuki is able to set a tripwire, just as she was in Shadow Tactics, which guards will trigger for a stylish, violent death. As the ship’s cook Toya of Iga has the ability to lure guards with a whistle, Yuki can’t do that anymore. Instead she’s able to utilise Kuma, either to distract guards and hold their attention or lead them directly into the tripwires. What’s more, when Yuki kills a guard, they turn into a lump of wood that attracts zero attention from patrols. Yuki comes with her own set of badges to earn too, and you can use her for any mission you like.
Primarily, Yuki is searching for an ancient dragon that legend says can grant wishes. The first elusive beast is on an island called Dragon’s Dream, which has a decidedly Japanese aesthetic. It’s a beautiful environment reminiscent of Yuki’s previous adventure. The story unfolds comfortably across the six missions, and once again any combination of the Cursed can succeed. Playing in the endgame, I was able to mix and match the entire crew through these missions, though to be fair I rarely go anywhere without John Mercury in my party.
The second slice of Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew DLC is Zagan’s Ritual, which introduces new crewmate Zagan, an Inquisition traitor and recently resurrected Cursed who is seeking the secrets of the Maiden’s Flame. Like Yuki, you can recruit him after the mission “Fruits of her Labour” in the campaign, and from then on he’s usable in any mission throughout the game, though he has six of his own. You can also visit his island, where he’s conducting an experiment with, shall we say, unsavoury ends.
His powers feel very different to the other characters. Whereas Yuki’s tripwire and tanuki games are analogous to some of the powers the others have, Zagan’s have long animations but are altogether more powerful. For example, he can use a force-choke style move to kill any enemy in range, which robs him of one health point. But upon rendering another enemy catatonic, he receives the health point back. More useful, though, is his ability to hex a guard who is about to spot him and walk right by them uninterrupted.
Both DLCs and their associated missions and characters bring a great deal of fresh new content and tactics to an already great title – but there’s more. In addition to the premium content, there’s a free update called Treasure Hunts, which adds a new game mode to Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew. This adds 14 challenge missions that let you play with any characters to complete tough missions with specific objectives, for some cool rewards. While they aren’t specifically a part of either DLC, it’s worth mentioning here as MiMiMi have given us them for free.
If you’re already a fan of Shadow Gambit, Yuki’s Wish and Zagan’s Ritual are both 100% worth your time and money. Not only do they come with 6 more missions apiece, they also add two new characters that can be used throughout the entire game from Act 2 onwards. It’s a travesty that MiMiMi can’t put these games together for the rest of eternity, but at least with these two DLCs and the stellar Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew, they’re going out at the very top of their game.
Two great new characters
12 new missions
Seamlessly integrates with the campaign
It's all we're getting