Crow Country

Posted:  May 24, 2024
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Cloud Saves


Crow Country was provided by SFB Games for review. Thank you!

It’s hard not to feel nostalgic when emulating older titles. For me, it’s the older survival horror games that bring me back to the good old days. The original Resident Evil and Silent Hill titles are a blast, especially on the Steam Deck. But even though this is a recent release, Crow Country captures that retro survival horror spirit and feel, all while modernizing the gameplay for a newer audience. It works extremely well and is at the top of my favorite survival horror games.

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From the moment I stepped into Crow Country and shot off the lock of the first door, I was intrigued by the world that was built. The developer took great care to make the world look and feel like its inspiration. The gloomy, low poly models that feel oddly detailed when put together created an eerie atmosphere that enticed me at every turn. The filter used to pixelate the world complements this further, striking a nice balance that doesn’t feel off-putting and still gives that retro feel.

Then, we have the haunting melodies that permeate every area in the game. The rain pouring outside, the monsters growling as you ran through the theme park, everything just added to the atmosphere, and it's very hard to find a game that exudes such a feeling of dread with ease like this.

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The story hooked me almost immediately with ease. You are Special Agent Mara Forest, sent to a closed-down amusement park to deliver a message to the owner, Edward Crow. Once you get there, it becomes apparent that something is wrong as the place is filled with grotesque monsters who won’t stop until you are dead. It is a bit on the short side overall, but I don't feel it takes away from the experience. If anything, I liked this decision a lot. It's a bite-sized experience that feels unique and refined without any bloat.

As for the gameplay, Crow Country largely feels like older games with modern enhancements that make the experience feel much better without losing its retro essence. You will run around the world, solving puzzles and shooting down enemies coming at you to stop them. The game employs a dual-stick control scheme, so you will run with the left stick and move the camera around with the right, making it wonderful to control. There are some incentives to replay, like secrets to find, different difficulty modes, and post-game items that unlock, but the story will remain the same.

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There are still some older gameplay mechanics that cut, too. You have to hold down a button to aim your gun, use the left stick to move it, and press B to shoot, all while not being able to move. It can feel awkward, but it gets a lot easier as you play. You also need to be very careful when using items you pick up. They are scarce, which makes resource management vital to your survival. With solid decision-making and avoiding some enemies rather than engaging them all, I didn’t feel the game withheld more than it needed to. It made me think more outside the box of how I would normally play, which is to just eliminate every enemy standing before me.

I also want to quickly note the small details put into the game. I appreciated the little things, like some doors having physics and can be pushed; how Mara will physically open books, she is reading, or even just the slight lowering of her head when in low ceiling spots. Mara will even move a paper on a desk towards her if she has to read it. I tried this from different angles to see if she would always rotate it towards her, and she did. It’s a nice touch that I liked to see.

And I must say, Crow Country feels just perfect to play on the Steam Deck.

Crow Country - Steam Deck Performance

Crow Country runs really well on the Steam Deck and feels like a perfect fit, but I recommend enjoying it fully without hiccups. When playing, some rooms will have more models and effects, like THE FIRST SAVE ROOM, taxing the system a bit harder than the rest. Without a TDP limit, it will go to 80 FPS maximum and drain around 18W-19W at 60 FPS. This is a bit too much for me, so I played around with the framerate a bit to find a balance between battery and smoothness, and I found one!

By playing at 45 FPS, with a 45Hz or 90Hz refresh rate, we can keep the game feeling wonderfully smooth while allowing for a TDP limit of 8. In most rooms, the drain stuck around 8W - 9W, while it was around 12W for the more detailed rooms. Crow Country is a short game, so playing at 60 FPS without worrying about battery drain may be optimal for you, but as someone who likes the balance and doesn’t want to drain the battery fully on one game, this was perfect for me.

One or two rooms dipped below 40, but they were fixed very quickly once enemies were dispatched, the camera angle shifted, or the cutscene finished.


In the settings, we can toggle vibration, extra lives, the aiming camera swivel, rebinding controls and changing camera speed, changing the shoot/reload buttons, and changing the language.

The game doesn't support 16:10 resolutions, so there are black bars at the top and bottom, but there are cloud saves and controller support! There are no HDR settings.


Crow Country feels like a love letter to the older survival horrors and succeeds in recapturing the feeling while modernizing how accessible it is to play. The story is shorter but extremely interesting, while the world permeates with characters and a brooding atmosphere I loved exploring. The gameplay mechanics are inspired by the older games, and some issues carried over, like how it can be hard to aim the gun at times, but with a twin-stick control scheme, it feels great to move around, and the pros heavily outweigh the cons.

Playing on the Steam Deck is a great experience overall. I preferred playing at 45 FPS to keep things stable and save on battery, but playing at 60 is definitely possible, too! Overall, it is an essential on the Deck, and I loved it.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Crow Country is an exceptional homage to classic survival shooters, and is a fantastic game to play on the Steam Deck.


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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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