Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun Returns on PC screenshot #1
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"For those who just want to relive the isometric action of the SNES and Megadrive days, Shadowrun Returns easily delivers...and, judged purely as a standalone game, it's an unambiguous success." -

MAN MEETS MAGIC & MACHINE. The year is 2054. Magic has returned to the world, awakening powerful creatures of myth and legend. Technology merges with flesh and consciousness. Elves, trolls, orks and dwarves walk among us, while ruthless corporations bleed the world dry. You are a shadowrunner - a mercenary living on the fringes of society, in the shadows of massive corporate arcologies, surviving day-by-day on skill and instinct alone. When the powerful or the desperate need a job done, you get it done... by any means necessary.

In the urban sprawl of the Seattle metroplex, the search for a mysterious killer sets you on a trail that leads from the darkest slums to the city’s most powerful megacorps. You will need to tread carefully, enlist the aid of other runners, and master powerful forces of technology and magic in order to emerge from the shadows of Seattle unscathed.

The unique cyberpunk-meets-fantasy world of Shadowrun has gained a huge cult following since its creation nearly 25 years ago. Now, creator Jordan Weisman returns to the world of Shadowrun, modernizing this classic game setting as a single player, turn-based tactical RPG.

Key Features

  • Gripping Tactical Combat: When you’re running the shadows, every turn matters. Choose your actions wisely - move to better cover, charge into melee, or lob a fireball into a crowd of enemies. With the variety of weapons and spells at your disposal, every turn is filled with meaningful choices. A successful run requires commanding a team of runners with the right balance of combat, tech, and magical abilities.

  • Skill-Based Character Progression: Choose a starting character archetype and build from there! Street Samurai and Physical Adepts use advanced combat skills to dominate the battlefield, Shamans and Mages summon powerful allies and cast deadly spells, while Riggers and Deckers provide critical technological support, projecting their consciousness directly into drones and computer systems. Shadowrun Returns’ classless skill system allows you to grow your character in any direction you choose. Want to start summoning spirits as an ork Shaman and evolve into a cybered-up weapon specialist? Do it!

  • Engaging 2D/3D Art Style: Shadowrun Returns mixes dynamic 3D characters and lighting with a vibrant, hand-painted environment. Illustrated character portraits bring every conversation to life. Explore a world filled with detail, from the slums of the Redmond Barrens to the extravagant offices of powerful corporations.

Customer reviews


Best game i've played in a long while!

Shaide | Sept. 19, 2014 | See all Shaide's reviews »

Shadowrun for the SNES was my first experience with the Shadowrun universe. It exposed me to the pen and paper games, the novels and the community in general. Because of that, it has always help a special place in my heart, and while Shadowrun Returns can't ever compare to the SNES game due to the connection I have with the game, it comes insanely close. Easily the best purchase on steam ive made.

Plus, Steam workshop means you have oodles of new missions! Just like the pen and paper game, this becomes an ongoing game, thanks to the insanely talented and creative individuals working on the workshop add-ons, which is somethin the SNES game never had.


Watch Dogs set in the year 2500

bibboorton | Sept. 9, 2014 | See all bibboorton's reviews »

Shadowrun Returns is a tactical turn-based role-playing game with a particular focus on story. The universe in set in a futuristic world where underground independent contractors called Shadowrunners “run the shadows” in order to do dirty jobs for paying customers. It's basically Watch Dogs set in the year 2500.

The game is very text-heavy, but reading can be really fun sometimes, especially if the writing is as good as is the case with the campaign included with the base game. The universe is so well-crafted and will really soak you in despite offering a relatively basic form of entertainment. RPG elements will also allow you to build your shadowrunner in the way you like, employing a pretty unique karma system instead of regular old XP points. You can use your karma to upgrade a multitude of skills, with higher levels costing more karma. Another unique quirk of the upgrade system is you need to upgrade your base skills before you can upgrade derived skills (for example, you need a ranged combat skill to improve your pistol efficiency.)

The combat of the game is your standard turn-based strategy ala XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The cover system is a little wonky as it won't detect some places with cover, but it works. The combat system is fun, even though the difficulty is not especially high.

A main gripe with the structure of the game is its pacing. The pacing is a major concern as finishing a level is quite tedious and will end up making you want to rest for a second before continuing. This is compounded by the tediousness of moving your characters through the map one at a time, even if there’s no enemies on the screen.

The game does come with workshop support, however I really don’t trust user-generated content, especially story-based ones so I didn’t bother to try it out. However, this is definitely a surefire way to extend the life of the game.

In the campaign that comes with the base game, “the Dead Man’s Switch,” you receive a “dead man’s switch” – an insurance item for anyone that gets activated upon your death - from your friend named Sam Watts, asking for you to find his killer with a 100,000-cred reward. The story of Dead Man’s Switch is not especially groundbreaking, however the writing certainly carries it and the pay-off is quite satisfying. I did finish the main campaign in 16 hours (with alt-tab breaks in-between levels), although a major chunk of that time is relegated to combat and traversing through combat levels.

All-in-all, Shadowrun Returns is a great game for relaxing with a little bit of role-playing, reading, and strategic combat. I had a lot of fun with it, and I recommend it if you're looking for something leisurely to play on a weekend.


A Colorful Slice of Cyberpunk

CrimsonWizard | March 28, 2014 | See all CrimsonWizard's reviews »

Shadowruns Returns was the successful Kickstarter game made by some of the original developers of the series. While like other games in the series it has made some concessions from it's shift from the tabletop to the PC, as a game on it's own, it's a fantastic throwback to turn-based strategy RPGs like Fallout 1 and 2. While it doesn't have the shiniest of graphics, the art design is really nice, and the characters stand out really well, helping you to delve into the Shadowrun's mix of cyberpunk and fantasy.

The game starts you off by letting you customize your character for the campaign and to their credit, you get quite a few options with the five races available (human, dwarf, elf, orc, and troll) with plenty of looks and designs to pick from whether you play a male or female. Level progression takes the same approach since while there are predetermined classes you can optionally take, you're also free to pursue no class and spend points as you like. Either way, the rest of the game lets you spend Karma (experience points) as you like, give you a chance to branch off into different powers as you progress through missions.

The base campaign included "Dead Man's Switch" is a fairly good story, giving you a taste of Shadowrun's setting of shadowy figures, sudden twists in the mystery, and lots of grey choices. Fans of the series including fans of the older video games will be pretty happy with some of the cameos and supporting characters in the game as well, but even if you're new the game does a good job of introducing you to the world.

As for general gameplay, it's a turn based strategy RPG which in many respects mirrors the newer X-Com: Enemy Unknown's combat system with cover and overwatch mechanics being a big part of the game. I'd say the "magic" skills are a bit more useful in Shadowrun though whether you're blowing people up or supporting your heavy with extra turns and accuracy. There are a few more options compared to X-Com where you can build yourself to be able to summon allies to boost your party's numbers either with drones or spirits. The game also has a second world mechanic of sorts as well with deckers being able to delve into computer systems to invade electronic security systems or to steal precious data. While this is a neat idea, I'd say combat within the Matrix is a bit lacking and samey, unfortunately. Thankfully while it can be useful, it isn't necessary most of the time if you end up nothing being a big fan of decking either.

Overall though, is it worth it? Yes indeed, especially if you're a fan of Shadowrun or just turn based strategy RPGs in general. In the time since release a lot of the issues such as auto-saves and whatnot have been fixed, it's a lot closer to being like the tabletop game, it looks and especially sounds great, and most importantly is just some gritty fun. Give it a go if you've ever wanted to punch out a troll with a cybernetic arm! Also give a look at the DLC campaign Shadowrun: Dragonfall which is an excellent companion to the base game.


Shadowrun Returns - review

carlyle | Feb. 28, 2014 | See all carlyle's reviews »

The setting of Shadowrun mixes fantasy and cyberpunk noir tones and implications horror, science fiction and ghosts. The breeds are typical fantasy universe as the world draws strong inspiration from Blade Runner and, not surprisingly, has several points in common with the famous RPG Cyberpunk.

The avatar customization is really free thanks to the implementation of an opportunity that allows you to balance all the failings of our character. Between missions, and the other is in fact possible to hire up to three mercenaries in payment that will support us in the next mission. The maps are static and devoid of animated elements, apart from a few broken neon flashing sadly. And even the characters that populate the city are statues waiting for a possible script to tell them if it's time to move or fight.

The turn-based combat system is structured in a very simple way. Each character has a certain number of action points. These can be worn to activate abilities, ranging from magic to trick shots, or to move, with a visual indicator that indicates where you can get with the action points currently available. There are not resources, such as mana, and bullets are infinite even if the magazine is empty and must be recharged by spending an action point.

During the action, the characters can kneel and can take advantage of some roofs to reduce the rate of being hit by opponents. But the cover system is very limited, the fire reagent is limited to a single counter and automatic, there are not options of stealth. Shadowrun Returns can not compete with the major representatives of the genre RPG like Fallout or Arcanum or Baldur's Gate. However dialogues and skill work well, the atmosphere is great and the campaign is fun. A good title.


Not bad, not excellent, just right.

OMGmyFACE | Feb. 5, 2014 | See all OMGmyFACE's reviews »

I like to give scores to reviews that reflect how much in terms of percentage I feel the game is worth. 79% is about right. It's way better than the Vista FPS (which I still harbor great resentment towards since it was announced days before I got to pitch a better version at PAX - yes I'm mad!) but I felt it was inferior to the Genesis and SNES titles from way back. While the style of the gameplay harkens back to the old-school with its isometric strategy RPG system, it also suffers from quite a bit of "modern game design." There are a few cons to the pros but they're worth mentioning if you're thinking about tossing $20 at this.

  1. Aside from the cheesy dialogue that befalls the typical video game protagonist (choice A: bravado, choice B: snarky condescension, choice C: heroic promise, choice D: Malkavian), your character doesn't actually have to do anything if you're good enough at controlling the rest of your party. Makes it less of an RPG and more of a PG.

2a. The autosave feature they're proud of is not something you're going to enjoy as it saves between scene changes only - forcing you to keep whatever terrible choices or equipment you've got at the time, which could be justified as "challenging but not unfair" if it weren't for the fact that you can't prepare for them at all. Once you're done with a battle, it's either immediately into the next one or you're in a story node.

2b. Those autosaves stay on your computer forever, even when you're past the point of being able to load them, which will clog up an invisible temp folder on your boot drive if you don't check on it.

  1. The campaign creator is the reason the game is more than $15 because the story they put in was way short. 10 hours. Maybe more if you're playing with a Decker, which the main campaign isn't suited for because guns and fireballs rule all even in the cyber age. If you don't see yourself dabbling with the creator for too long, maybe wait for a sale.

All that said, if you're still interested, by all means try it out. It's rare we get a high-falutin' cyberpunk RPG experience with all the grit and freon glow you want out of a game that bears the Shadowrun name.