Some games are filled with good ideas that are not properly executed. Others are glossy and shiny but have very little in the way of substance or ideas to back all that prettiness up. Argh! Shackles manages to be somewhere between both. A throwback to the stand-and-shoot games of the 1990s, Shackles is unfortunately missing important gameplay elements that would make it an effective, fun-to-play game.
The game starts easily enough. You have no options other than to change the volume and sound effects, and there are no level selections -- just Play. Once you start playing, you can throw a ball and chain at approaching undead Pirates. The Pirates move closer with each second and you must hit them before they can reach you and start damaging your health bar. The mechanics alone make sense and would be a fun throwback if the throwing function was not so inaccurate. Actually hitting the Pirates with the ball and chain is exceptionally hard and sometimes feels more like luck than a well-aimed shot.
With time, the shots become more accurate and you will figure out methods to start hitting more than missing, but it's never truly a game you can master. The game becomes frustrating before you can dig deep enough to unlock more features and acquire your first treasures. For this reason, most players will turn it off before progressing past those first few waves of Pirates. For those with patience and nostalgia for '90s-style adventure-shooters, Shackles is worth checking out. For everyone else, we can't recommend it, even as a casual play.