Review – Shiny

The word shiny is defined as “reflecting light, typically because very clean or polished.” Essentially, something with these characteristics would be tempting because its presence stands out above the rest. Its purpose is to attract the consumer into choosing it over the opposition. I for one would choose to eat the shinier, polished red apple over the dull tinted red apple, because its appearance entices me. However, something with shiny characteristics can unfortunately at times be very misleading. Shining a phony product is a very common practice these days in order to persuade the consumer into making an impulsive and regrettable decision. To sum it up, with shininess comes a high expectation.

Shiny by Garage 227 studio is a 2d-style platformer that just throws you into the mix with little to no explanation as to what is going on or why we should care about the characters. You control a worker robot trying to collect parts in order to escape the planet, which is crashing towards the sun. Your main objective is simply get from point A to point B, rinse and repeat. Within each level are batteries you collect for completion purposes and recharging your battery to keep it from running out and killing you. There are also four robots you can find and revive in order to build up a special meter, for example, invulnerability. Almost everything you do in this game takes battery power, so conservation is key; a bold yet exasperating aspect of the game. You also have an overheating gauge, which also kills you if it reaches its max. How you prevent that, will be touched on later, but you can bet I have a lot to say about that one.

Shiny 1

For starters, the graphics leave me with a mixed bag of feelings. Whether or not this was the intention is beyond me, but the graphics at some times consisted of solid looking level designs and background atmospheres, but then at other times have a very outdated feel to it. And then of course the combination of both, because why not? In a certain area of a particular level, traveling up a conveyor belt, my character would glitch out at a standstill. While impressive in some areas, it didn’t feel polished and felt in need of heavy fine tuning.

While the graphics left me wanting more, the music and sound effects were what stood out in this game. The soundtrack ranges from synth, new-age and classical piano, styles that fit the setting and make you feel like you are embarking on some sort of space adventure. The sound effects, while not as impressive as the music, were passable. Activating checkpoints, reviving robot buddies, and opening doors resulted in an ambitious sound effect that could have easily been simple, but was instead done with a little bit more consideration.

Shiny 2

Unfortunately, where I draw the line with Shiny is with its boring, and frustrating gameplay. While most games have early levels that are easier to get the player used to the mechanics, the first 5-7 levels of Shiny are ludicrous cake walks that only require you to literally hold right and at times press the jump button. I began to question whether this game was made for a much younger audience. Make no mistake, this game was intended for all ages, but even then, I feel like even the younger demographic would roll their eyes at the uninspired level designs and pathetic early-stage easy difficulty as well.

Remember when I said I was going to revisit the overheating gauge? Strap in, because you are about to vicariously experience the absolute most frustrating mechanic in any game I have ever played. In a later level, you pick up an attachment that allows you to cool down your overheating gauge and avoid death. You are then greeted with an ambush of pipes that spit out fire. You can choose to avoid them, but avoiding all of them is impossible. Once you touch, and I mean simply graze, any part of the fire, your overheat gauge begins to escalate. There will be times where you think you have avoided the fire and then you suddenly collapse soon after due to overheating, so it forces you to play babysitter. To begin the cool down process, simply mash the L2 and R2 buttons simultaneously, as fast as you can, as doing so too slowly results in no progress.

Shiny 3

Good luck trying to do that while progressing through the level, that just leads to mass confusion and a guaranteed quick death. Your best bet is to just stand still and mash away, every single time it happens. There were many times where I wore my fingers out trying to cool down the gauge because I had just run through a long trek of fire, and then soon discovered I hadn’t cooled it all the way down which caused it to rise again. Fun fact: If you let the meter rise all the way to the top and then begin mashing, an expert button masher will take about a whopping 30 seconds to deplete the gauge. Yes I timed it, because at times I feel the need to punish myself.

Despite catchy music and sound effects, the sub-par graphics, uninspired gameplay and frustrating mechanics are overwhelming. Kids may enjoy this title as something to pass the time, as the early stages are very simple, however, the older demographic would be very wise to avoid this title. For the price you pay can get you much better. Simply put, Shiny is anything but, and will leave the once initially enticed consumer feeling duped and cheated.

Graphics: 6.0

A confusing mixture of a solid and outdated presentation.

Gameplay: 1.0

Laughably easy and boring levels met with infuriating mechanics.

Sound: 8.0

Catchy yet simple soundtrack. Sound effects true to space setting.

Fun Factor: 1.0

Game leaves you guessing what the story is or why you should care. L2+R2 mashing until my fingers fall off only to realize I didn’t do it enough is NOT FUN.

Final Verdict: 3.0

Reviewed on PS4.
Shiny is available now on PC, Xbox One and PS4

A copy of Shiny was provided by the publisher.