A Lacklustre And Simple Platform Game
Shiny is the latest in a slew of Indie platformers to be released and right from the start, it’s obvious that the game aims to try and shake up expectations in this busy genre whilst delivering a non-violent, simple platform experience in the process. Whilst the latter is certainly true, Shiny ends up lost in the sea of endless platform games with little in the way of innovation or originality outside the slick, metallic aesthetic.
After a brief cut-scene depicting humans leaving Earth in the near future and leaving robots behind, you take control of a sentient robot and set out to follow the humans on their voyage by waking up your fellow robots, collecting batteries and navigating 21 obstacle laden levels. The aim is simple – build a new rocket and follow the humans by completing the levels and navigating obstacles. Regardless of how much you actually collect at the end, the final cut scene is always the same.
The landscapes of each level are beautifully rendered
Thankfully, the game looks great to navigate through and the array of uniquely coloured and presented levels give the game a much needed artistic flair. Backdrops are nicely animated and detailed, so much so that at times it feels like you should be able to explore them. Sadly, there’s a real lack of depth and with one single 2D layer to traverse across, Shiny struggles to inject some variety into its levels. There’s a real issue with the camera too as it hugs your character far too closely making it difficult to judge where the next platform is and far too frequently leaves jumps up to chance as you leap and hope for the best. Although there is the option to manually manipulate the camera using the right analog stick, in practice this is easier said than done when you’re also trying to pay attention to the many obstacles through the levels.
To try and combat this, the level design does consist of multiple platforms on a vertical axis with scaffolding and cross-stitch objects placed to give a visual clue around where platforms are but it often looks ugly and detracts from the visual design of the game. Expect to blitz through this one in under 2 hours too, with each level taking around 5 minutes or less depending on how thorough you are in collecting everything. In an effort to avoid the simplistic controls stagnating, Shiny does shake up the gameplay by introducing a temperature regulator, a jetpack and a forcefield with each having their own pros and cons.
Special abilities are a nice addition but don’t add anything substantial to the game
Although changing the difficulty does provide more of a challenge, it all feels superficial through the energy consumption mechanic that dominates the game. Every meaningful action you take from lowering an elevator to jumping to the special abilities you’re granted use up battery power. This means if you stand in one spot and constantly jump you’ll run out of energy and consequently die. With each checkpoint allowing a maximum of 10 restarts or less, battery consumption can become a real problem late on and if you do deplete your battery and number of checkpoints, it’s game over. The last few levels in particular do make the most of this mechanic and although the idea is nice in theory, the execution is poor, hindering the game more than it enhances it with actions consuming a crazy amount of energy.
Checkpoints are generously placed in the levels
Although this may well be patched in a later update, Shiny’s achievements are fundamentally broken too making it impossible to 100% complete. One achievement sees you being made to jump 750 times, others collecting robots and another awarded for not dying in a level. All of these as well as a few others are glitched which is a real shame. To make matters worse, in some levels the game doesn’t recognise certain robots being collected and refuses to visually acknowledge them. Alongside a few graphical issues, clipping and the wonky camera, under the beautiful hood are a host of ugly problems that border on game breaking.
At first glance, Shiny looks like a fun platformer boasting a visually pleasing, metallic aesthetic. Outside of the visual design, there really isn’t anything worthwhile to note here. The platforming is basic, the energy consumption mechanic is an unnecessary hindrance and the lack of polish late on exposes some bad glitches that border on game breaking. Although the price looks appealing, Shiny fails to justify its asking price with a bare bones experience as hollow and emotionless as the robot you control through the game.