Game Review – Shu (PS4)

Shu is a simple yet addictive game. Taking on the form of a 2.5D platformer, it sucks you in with its basic gameplay and keeps you there with its addictiveness.

Your objective in the game is to guide protagonist Shu through each level, collecting things and avoiding obstacles. What I love about games like this is that when they’re executed well, they can be so much fun. Shu is one of those well-executed games. The story really isn’t important when it comes to enjoying the game but it revolves around Shu rescuing villagers from a storm that is ravaging their home.

The result of this is a side-scrolling adventure with an old-school feel. Each level has several optional objectives to fulfil for all of you completionists. Although, be prepared to rage quit several times. Although generally, the game is fairly easy; when revisiting levels to complete some objectives can be very frustrating. One of these challenging objectives is to complete the level without dying. Easier said than done.

The plus side of these sometimes infuriating objectives is that they keep you coming back for more; to try to beat previous scores. I found that no matter how many times I put the controller down in frustration, I still kept coming back for another go. In addition to not dying, challenges include a timed run, Collecting all the butterfly tokens and not-to-mention collecting all of the six Babbies in each stage.

I should probably explain what Babbies are. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Shu is a bird-character and the ‘Babbies’ are baby hatchlings barely out of their shells. There are six in each level to find and collect. Some are easy, while others leave you scratching your head. The Babbies, along with the butterflies, stone tablets and time trials add so much replayability to this title. I have spent literally hours replaying the same levels over and over to try and beat these challenges.

Graphics are rather nice to look at. The characters are hand-drawn and well-designed so that no character looks alike. Throughout the game, you meet other characters who tag along with you. They provide various abilities to use in that level such as double-jump or time-manipulation, etc. And everyone looks totally unique and identifiable thanks to the basic design and colour palette.

The level design is just a masterful throwback to the days of the NES and Master System when platform games were tricky. Each level forces you to use the different abilities that you gain through other characters to full effect. It’s just a shame that you don’t accumulate these abilities permanently. You can only use them on the world that you acquire them on. It would’ve introduced a puzzle element to the game if you had to figure out which of the various abilities you had to use to get past a certain bit. That would’ve added to the already awesome replayability as well if you could access previously locked areas using a new ability.

This game is very enjoyable and for £9.49 on the PlayStation store, I’d say it’s reasonably priced. I certainly wouldn’t pay anymore than that as it is a fairly short game unless you take advantage of the replayability. This game is highly recommend this for fans of something simple and old-school in design.

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