STAFF REVIEW of Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew (Xbox Series X)

Wednesday, October 11, 2023.
by Adam Dileva

Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew Box art Mimimi Games, probably best known for Desperados III, has finally released a new game very much in their wheelhouse being another strategy game, though with a heavy stealth element and cool backdrop. Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew takes place in the pirate era, though all of your cursed swashbuckling crew is undead, adding a unique twist on many gameplay elements. If pirates weren’t cool enough on their own, undead ones surely are.

You play as Afia, an undead pirate woman with a sword buried in her chest purposely, as it’s where she sheathes her weapon until needed to stab and kill enemies. What good is a pirate without a ship though? That’s the dilemma you find yourself in the opening moments. While you do find a ship nearby, unfortunately it’s been seized by the Inquisition and clearly quite dangerous to be nearby. This ship, named The Red Marley, is no ordinary ship though. It’s a ghost ship, which is quite fitting given your current un-living situation as well.

The Red Marley’s captain, Mordechai, is no longer living, but that doesn’t mean you can simply take the ship without a catch. The ship is essentially alive, with a large green skull that speaks to you, informing you that you simply can’t be the new captain, but a navigator instead. Assemble your pirate crew and search for Mordechai’s long lost treasure, and maybe you’ll become the captain one day. As you eventually unlock new crew members, you’ll be able to talk to them, learn their backstories, and even partake in their specific missions.

The Inquisition will be your main adversary, as they want to destroy anything supernatural, though you’ll uncover a more sinister plot as you progress. Set sail for the Lost Caribbean in this adventure that should take you a good 20+ hours to see to conclusion, much longer than I initially expected.

Playing in a top down isometric camera view, you’ll be able to zoom in all the way to see your individual crew mates, or all the way out to see the island as a whole. Zooming out you’ll be able to even see where every enemy is on the island and which way they are facing or moving, indicated by arrows. While this gives you an advantage, you’ll still need to come up with a strategic plan to take out your enemies, because even though you’re undead, you can still be harmed by human weaponry, which is why this is a stealth focused strategy title.

You’ll only have an island or two to explore and do missions on in the beginning, eventually opening multiple islands in the Caribbean to explore as you try to revive your crew and stop the Inquisition. Each island has very different layouts and will challenge you in unique ways. How you strategize will be completely up to you and vary based on the crew you currently have access to. You’ll revisit islands more than once, as there are numerous missions you can do, and will need to multiple times. For how many times you’ll replay an island, each mission feels unique and can be completed in a number of different ways in the clever sandbox world.

You begin on your own, eventually able to revive your cursed crew if you’re able to find some fabled Black Pearls. Once you obtain one, you can choose any of the eight crew mates to revive and have join your team, completely up to you whom and when. Each of the eight crew are very unique in their design, personality and abilities, so there’s no wrong one to pick first. Different crew will cater to different playstyles, as I opted for a more defensive approach, though you could absolutely play more aggressive if you wanted as well. Each have their own pros and cons, and two special and unique abilities.

The Inquisition will be on the lookout for you though at every turn, led by Ignacia, clearly up to something nefarious. The hidden treasure you’re searching for though isn’t going to be easy to find given they are protected by mysterious relics. It seems as though Ignacia also knows about this treasure too though, so expect resistance at every turn. The tutorial teaches you the basics of staying in stealth and attacking your enemies, and every time you manage to revive a crew mate to join your team, you can play a couple optional tutorial missions with them to learn how to use their unique skills which I appreciated, figuring out how to best use them in conjunction with one another.

As a tip, I’d highly suggest getting Suleidy first, as her unique abilities I used quite heavily in every single mission. She can not only force most guards to move from their post and path away for a short time, she’s able to drop a large bush anywhere to be used as cover. Quentin was another favorite, and even though he wasn’t as ‘powerful’ as some of the others, being able to use his golden skull as a distraction was quite handy in many situations. Each ability has a cooldown period, so you’ll need to plan ahead not only what to do, but the best time to not be seen by other guards also.

Each mission will be played quite differently every time depending on what crew you’ve revived and unlocked so far. You using a different team composition than me will have completely different strategic tactics and can make for vastly different playthroughs. The powers of each crew is balanced quite well overall and play into the whole supernatural undead pirate theme. Just make sure you got a plan B or escape path in case something doesn’t go exactly how you planned.

The mechanic that I appreciated the most though was its clever use of quick saving. Now I’ll admit, if a game lets me save-scum, I’m probably going to do it. This is when something didn’t go as planned, so I simply reload the last save just before and try again. Even cleverer, it’s designed in a way where it fits into the narrative, acting as “captured memories” that can be saved or reloaded at any point.

You’re able to control each crew member individually or move them together as a unit. Even though you’re a crew of undead pirates, you can’t take much damage, so you need to play as stealthy as possible. Once you revive your first crew mate, this is where a lot of the combat strategy will come in. Do you set up each character at opposite sides of the island and work on individual kills, or synchronized together as a team? Make sure you’re keeping the ones not in use hidden in bushes or behind objects, and they won’t retreat on their own if spotted.

Where the best strategies come into play is being able to setup a ‘plan’ by pausing time, moving individual crew to certain spots and queuing up any of their abilities. You can then execute the plan at any point and your pre-made plan will play out. Remember to use that captured memory before trying though, as you never know how it might turn out until it’s too late. These coordinated attacks are extremely satisfying when your plan comes together exactly as you expected.

Earn enough Vigor by completing missions and you’ll be able to upgrade skills of your crew. This allows you to improve their abilities in a variety of different ways, some making missions almost trivial, though it all depends on your preferred crew and playstyle. For example, upgrading Afia’s Blink attack to Grand Blink means she’s able to teleport and assassinate a target from a much further distance and not have to worry about line of sight either.

For a game revolving around undead pirates, the aesthetic is quite colorful and vibrant. The character artwork is done quite well, your ship The Red Marley has its own personality, and the island environments are varied and easy to distinguish from one another. The voice acting is absolutely top notch from every character across the board, making each character have even that much more of a personality.

While I question the timing of its release being smashed in between two of the largest titles of the year, Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is excellent at what it’s trying to be; a challenging tactical squad based stealth game. It’s a deep shame that this is developer Mimimi’s final game, as they’ve since shuttered their doors, but they can be proud of their magnum opus and hang their head high at creating a memorable undead pirate themed experience.

**Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 8.7 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


Site Statistics

Registered Members: 78,033
Forum Posts: 725,964
Xbox One Titles: 5,773
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,086
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 586
Original Xbox Titles: 987
Staff Reviews: 2,511
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 16,524
Screenshots: 38,456
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706

Latest News

Nacon Unveils RIG 900 MAX HX

Nacon Unveils RIG 900 MAX HXLicensed for Xbox, the 900 MAX marks the pinnacle in wireless game audio, merging capabilities such as a personalized Dolby Atmos headphone experience, dual wireless connectivity with Bluetooth audio, and a seamless charging base station.

Nacon Announces New RIG 600 PRO Headset Line

Nacon Announces New RIG 600 PRO Headset LineThe RIG 600 PRO HX is officially licensed for Xbox and includes Dolby Atmos for Headphones. Gamers can experience three-dimensional precision audio by simply connecting the USB-C wireless adaptor to the Xbox console or PC.

See News Archives

Community Forum Activity

KeyWe Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 20194 Views

2021: XBA is still here
Post by shrew king
37 Replies, 174001 Views

Watch Dogs: Legion
Post by Nato King
0 Replies, 110463 Views

Xbox Series X or S
Post by Nato King
5 Replies, 129633 Views

Spellbreak Grand Magus Pack (3) and Starter Pack (7) Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 121246 Views

I pay $ 1000! I search the Element 54 Canadian launch Team signaturen Faceplate
Post by Smill
0 Replies, 139668 Views

Xbox one no signal
Post by debrartin
0 Replies, 132508 Views

do you remember?
Post by SnoochyBoochy
3 Replies, 190511 Views

i haz xbox
Post by SnoochyBoochy
0 Replies, 148333 Views

Claiming the first thread of 2020
Post by Kraft
7 Replies, 238570 Views

Important! I pay $ 1000! I search the Sweden launch and the Element 54 Faceplate
Post by Smill
3 Replies, 136632 Views

Squad Up
Post by samslophead
0 Replies, 235555 Views

TERA Skinned Xbox One X Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 167364 Views

Starfield Release expectations?
Post by DJ tx
4 Replies, 289514 Views

Issue with Xbox live on Xbox home
Post by rcmpayne
0 Replies, 158074 Views

© 2000-2023 - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics