What can I say? After a year of fondly following this game on social media, I walk away from the console bored and disappointed. That would be my short review, but let’s get in why Shiness: The Lighting Kingdom (on the mighty PS4) did not impress me.
I found this game being promoted via Facebook last year, and was excited. Was a publisher going to combine to of my favourite game genres together and make one awesome hybrid?
If you didn’t know already, the game is an RPG game with fighting game style combat, usually the idea of mixing these two genres together would be great, sadly, the outcome is not. Shiness feels like a nostalgic throwback to the PS2 era of gaming but taking the worst things and throwing them into a bucket.
My main gripe with the game comes from the combat and the overall sluggish controls. This completely ruins the intensity as well as the overall experience as your the game struggles to keep up with your inputs.
This is made worse by the extremely limited moves on offer. From basic kicks and punches, they’re executed by your character without the wackiness and overtop the top charm of something like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, or even Dead or Alive ultimately making the combat a tedious and often frustrating task.
Your special moves range from dull to “do you seriously think that combo is viable?” You have to endure basic energy blasts or a cool finisher with a complex combo to pull it off. So good luck with that.
The only tick the combat really gets is the levelling system which is designed in a way that you’ll no longer get stuck on the last boss without any way to even up the score. It’s great to see your exploration does indeed pay off in the boss fights.
Though get ready to be annoyed because each time you finish a fight your character will be swilled round in the opposite direction to which you entered the fight making you fairly disoriented.
In terms of exploration, this too becomes fairly tedious due to the dull environments. Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom features the usual generic fantasy environments could have easily come from animal humanoid classics such as Star Fox, Crash Bandicoot, or even Ratchet and Clank.
Once you get over the potential excitement of running into Spyro or even Clank, you’ll have to contend with the poorly drawn map which has been clearly designed to be the opposite of what a map does and help you find your location.
With a map that details areas you can’t even enter, you’ll find yourself eeeing and fffing as you try to get from Point A to Point B.
Again the aforementioned lag with the controls often causes you to come a cropper as you try to jump across the terrain to solve another elementary puzzle that the Riddler would come up with if he was extremely drunk or distracted by Batman pounding his face in.
Of course, maybe I’m not the intended audience for this game? It could be for someone younger, it explains why you plays as two Wakis called Pooky and Chado which basically look like Anime Ewoks and have the slapstick banter of Edward and Alphonse Elric.
Maybe Pooky and Chado are like the Shiness approach to persuading a child off their teddy bears?
Though the story promises to be a fantastic tale of you and Wakis reuniting this elemental themed land in peace. All you really seem to do is a list of tedious quests. You have to go to the mines to beat up this guy, who then sends you to beat up another guy so then you can hopefully call for a lift to the next area.
It’s a long chore list of beating people up whilst you basically wait for your ride as you take the pink haired lady to the next zone.
The story honestly feels like a bedtime story spruced up with some anime visuals and tropes, a darker tales lies in the side quests and in the details which just doesn’t fit in well with the overall story.
I can tell some effort went into this Shiness, but I’m sad to report that it just falls short of the mark. It may have worked better as anime or a manga since they cheap out on cut scenes with endless text boxes and a habit of using motion comic book techniques to slowly progress it’s story.
Perhaps one for your little brother or sister or someone nostalgic for something like Spyro or one of those animal lead franchises we had back in the day?