It’s the fourth month of 2017, and so far, we’ve had an unusual amount of solid titles comes out already. My poor wallet hurts because of the onslaught of good games. Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom is a solid action-RPG that adds to the ever growing pile of games to play for this year. It’s unconventional by throwing together different genres and it’s a big game made by a small team in France; who finished Shiness after a success Kickstarter helped
What caught my eye about this game is the bright, colourful world, there’s a ton of green, blue and white. The game is set on Mahera, which is a vivid landscape that is fun to explore and constantly changing, in my playtime of roughly 20 hours, I would move from area to area, ranging from snowy mountain ranges to highlands. I never felt I was going to get lost or get stuck dealing with something I couldn’t figure out, instead, Shiness moves at a brisk pace that keeps you moving forward.
You play as Chado and Poky, they are from the Waki tribe and start the beginning of the story by crashing their ship in hostile territory, after having been separated because of the crash, they must regroup and get out of there. Being the protagonist, Chado can interact with Shiness, which creates conflict for our heroes.
There are lots to do once you get started, often I’d find myself trying to find sidequests to complete while exploring, these quests are standard fare with things like fetching items to dressing up in disguises. That’s not all either, I discovered secret areas which were often found behind vines, for example, whiles others were hidden behind waterfalls.
A high point for Shiness is the combat system. Chado is adept at fighting and incorporates flurries of kicks and punches, mixed with elemental skills. I enjoyed the combat, which puts you against enemies in one on one combat, with two other party members supporting you. You can swap out characters mid-battle, which comes in handy during boss battles, however, none of this matters when the camera works against you, add in you can’t adjust the viewing angle during battles and you end up taking a beating without seeing it.
There are some underlying issues with Shiness, I ran into some problems with the environment, for example, exploring a section that had a sandy beach I could move around, as I made my way to water, Chado would rise above the water almost as if on a platform; many times, if you decide to go to the edge your character can get his feet wet – it was jarring. In addition, I found spelling errors, weird music glitches that would loop sound then stop and start again with a brief silence.
The biggest problem with Shiness is Enigami’s big ideas fall short of completion because many Indie developers lack the proper funding, team, and time. With an indie game, many times they are created out of love and bring a ton of heart with them, which is found in spades here. Issues aside, Shiness is fun, with a great battle system, good music and a ton of heart. Isn’t that what matters in a game, anyway?