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Shu Review (PS4)

A terrible dark storm destroys a small seaside village. Shu, a survivor of the attack, must now embark on a journey of preservation and heroism. Travel across gorgeous environments in this platform adventure game full of stages, levels, leaderboards, and enjoyment. You'll find peace, chaos, and friendship, but most importantly you'll need to find sanctuary from the pursuing storm.

Shu Review

Introduction

Shu is a colorful 2D platformer full of lighthearted adventuring as your travel across environments stemming from a dark event. Developed and published by Coatsink, you take on the role of Shu, a young member of a bird-like tribe who reside near the sea. When an evil force, in the appearance of a storm, came in and wiped out his village, everything and everyone felt lost. Traverse through 15 different levels across 5 diverse lands, rescue lost members with special powers, and look for a way to destroy the storm.

You can buy the game on Steam or PlayStation Store (PS4 and PS Vita) for $11.99.

Gameplay

There's very little that platform games can do nowadays that hasn't already been done before, but every once in awhile there's some that cast a unique and creative twist to it all. As usual, though, you'll be side scrolling from the left to the right and are given a handful of controls to assist you. The basics are as you would expect; jump run and jump some more, but you'll be able to fly through wind swirling pathways that will reach new heights and platforms, and glide across areas as you slowly come down in altitude. Mixing them all together makes for an elegant moving system throughout the environments. You'll be allowed the calm adventure through many parts, where you can take your time and soak up the art being displayed to you, and to collect as many of the floating bugs (they are scattered heavily throughout every level) as you can, and other times you'll face off against extremely dangerous and fast-moving encounters.
One of these problematic encounters is the dark storm that will chance you at random moments. Everything picks up dramatically, and room for error is extremely small. Whether you die in these moments of fast-paced traversing or any other obstacles found throughout, you'll be taken back to a checkpoint. These checkpoints are extremely generous in their positioning around the map, meaning you won't be set back far at all from your point of death. Beyond this, you get 5 lives to make it to the next checkpoint where any lives lost will be replenished. The maps and obstacles are not too difficult, so you'll almost instantly know what you did wrong. If you completely fail to pass a specific area with the lives you are given, then you'll need to reset the level altogether. It's generous in its design and is not hell bent on ruining your overall gaming experience.

Shu Gameplay with Village Survivors

There're a few things that make Shu more gifted in his abilities to traverse the world. And by a few I mean ten; you'll find ten different recruitable village members along with your journey who will provide new special moves and abilities. You'll come across them in their own respected times in the story and can even have more than one following you at a time. It adds a special dimension to the gameplay and can be recognized as one of its greatest  qualities. Occasionally a platform game will be overcrowded with gameplay concepts, ultimately causing confusion, or it is too simple and too repetitive. This game offers a very unique (and subtle) way to create diversity and depth while still keeping everything simple and understandable.

Sound and Graphics

You won't find voice acting in the gameplay, nor in the cutscenes. Everything is told through slightly moving pictures but overall it tells the story extremely well. I never felt cheated by not hearing each character talk, and found that I was more than able to build the connection towards them anyways. Each of the characters does have a unique sound they bring to the table, and when traveling across all the levels, it's a greatly appreciated detail that makes it all feel less repetitive. The soundtrack is a major plus for title as well; it provides a soft background compliment to the visuals but gets intense when being chased by the storm, making for a wide range of presentations.

The graphics are sharp and colorful hand-drawn styled depictions of a unique world worth exploring. The character models are completely original, and the environments you'll traverse are no different. The world moves as it should in order to project a space full of life; as you interact with things, or even simply run past them, they shift and shake as you would like them to. The performance is top notch with very little, if any, issues. Holding a consistent frame rate should be expected from a simple title, but still noteworthy that the company truly tested the game well before releasing.

Shu and Friends Running Away From The Storm

Conclusion

Complexity in the controls doesn't always mean for more enjoyment in the gameplay, and Shu proves that in every way imaginable. It's elegantly simple, yet never comes across as bland or boring. It's diverse enough to change things up consistently, yet never oversteps it's own artistic boundaries, trying to be something it's not. And most importantly it's incredibly smooth performing and logical in it's approach to platforming. There's a lot to love about this small title if the genre suites you as a gamer, and is something worth considering even if it is not. A smooth, artistic, and easy going adventure that spans 15 levels in 5 different environments; the game offers replay value in terms of both enjoyment and competitiveness with its leaderboards.

ProsCons
+ Beautiful art style and living environments– At times extremely easy
+ Leaderboard scores for added replay– Semi short playthrough
+ Constant variety in gameplay
+ Incredibly smooth controls
7.5
Good

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