A friend in need is a friend indeed.
- System: Steam/PC
- Publisher: Coatsink
- Developer: Coatsink
- Release Date: January 23, 2018
- Rating: E
- Genre: Platformer, Adventure, Indie
- Players: Single Player
- Official Website: http://coatsink.com/games/shu/
Shu Trailer 2018 | Available on Nintendo Switch PS4 & Steam
Who it Caters to
The Nintendo Switch library continues to grow on a daily basis with a plethora of indie developers showing their support to bring more flavor to the hybrid console. One aspect that we’ve noticed is that indie titles as of late have really tried to create unique and invigorating experiences for players, combining conventional elements alongside totally fresh designs which only contribute to stimulating the mind. One of these fresh new titles is Shu, an incredibly simple yet beautifully crafted platformer developed by Coatsink which made its debut back in 2016 on the PC but has now soared majestically into Nintendo’s Switch catalog. Any fan of platformers will totally find the game to be a truly endearing experience as each level provides enough of a challenge to keep you stimulated, while completionists will find pleasure in capturing every babbie and secret along their journey.
What to Expect
Shu takes inspiration from the classic platformers of past generations like the celebrated Donkey Kong franchise but throws in its own distinctive flare that creates a new adventure every time. The friends you come across within the game all come with different abilities, one of which allowing you to double jump to reach higher ground while another allows for you to soar through the sky to avoid dangerous obstacles below. This variety of character relationship in Shu is what makes it a delightfully entertaining ordeal and pair that with its tranquil background music and you have a game that truly soothes the soul. Everything feels well executed and more polished compared to its PC iteration, with the Switch allowing for more seamless gameplay and an extensive use of vibrant colors to further convey just how beautiful the Switch screen is. With 21 expansive levels split up into 5 different lands, Shu rewards you with a new outcome every time and never seems to grow stale. With all this being said let’s hop into the gameplay a little more to give you a more concrete explanation of what goes down.
Like every other platformer that came before it, Shu is all about paying close attention to what’s ahead while keeping a close eye out for secret items you can grab along the way. Much like Rare’s classic Donkey Kong Country: Diddy’s Kong Quest and the sequel after it, Shu is all about team chemistry and using your friends to help you deal with obstacles that may have proved troublesome if they weren’t around. The main difference, however, is that with Shu, all of your friends stick together and aren’t toggled out which means that you’ll have to rely on multiple button pressing to ensure that every character is used correctly at the right time.
It may require a little getting used to but once you grow accustomed to this method of play, everything starts to feel more seamless. Stu doesn’t really have a “boss” battle but rather, throughout every map’s location you’ll deal with a monster that will desperately chase you down in order to consume you and your colleagues. This is where a lot of the fun and tension builds because now you’ll be acting much faster than before and so, timing your jumps along with your gliding ability must be fluid. We admittedly died a number of times in this situation because for so long your mind is totally focused on taking its time, collecting babbies and stones to complete a stage as much as possible.
The boss appears out of the blue with a “RUN” animation and so immediately, you go into focus mode, trying your best to avoid every obstacle while keeping in mind what your main objective is. It’s truly an awesome experience because it really is unlike any other platformer out there and so the approach to completing every stage requires a new strategy every time. Do I go for all the babbies? Am I able to sacrifice a few missteps in order to figure out where everything is located? All of these questions start to sink into your mind and because of that, there’s never a shortage of excitement. Mind you, collecting these babbies is no easy feat because a lot of the time they’re located in areas where you don’t often look, or sometimes they’re positioned in such a way that it requires some adjustment on your part to make sure you avoid dangerous obstacles. Making sure that you reach each checkpoint in the game is also pivotal since every checkpoint replenishes your life total, but also helps you to stay ahead and not fall behind. So let’s say you’re on your last life and find yourself running away frantically from the beast trying to devour you, all you have to do is race as swiftly as possible in order to reach the next checkpoint.
However the beast is unrelenting and will still continue to chase you ever after you’ve reached your checkpoints so you start to prioritize your objectives in order to survive. It no longer becomes “Ok let me grab these babbies.” It now becomes, “Oh crap if I don’t reach the next checkpoint I have to restart.” That’s really the beauty about Shu and why playing it for long periods of time comes with its merits. You come to learn and understand the layout of every map and determine the best possible route for you to take to successfully collect what you need, without taking any unnecessary risks down the road. You’re free to go at your pace to really determine the best course of action, but also to familiarize yourself with every friend you come across in the game.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Ultimately, Shu is a wonderful adventure that we recommend anyone to play, regardless if you’re new to platformers. It’s a well designed title that doesn’t try to steer you in different directions and keeps you focused on the task at hand, while still incorporating an incredibly fun and rewarding experience all around. The only misstep that we found in Shu is that, sadly, it all ended too quickly, with each level only providing a small amount of maps to dive into and play (roughly 2-3 on average). It would’ve been really cool if Coatsink threw in some exclusive Switch maps to entice players but in the end it felt short. You can run through the entire game in under 10 hours, if you’re truly a platformer connoisseur, and not manage to collect everything, but perhaps if you were to sit through and grab every babbie and secret item then there’s the added incentive.
The additional time trial which is unlocked once you complete every level also adds another element of excitement, and really tests your ability to see just how much you can collect under a certain time. Be that as it may, we would’ve still loved to see a lot more stages, fresh content, and not just a simple port over to the Switch from Steam. The Switch has so many awesome features to take advantage of and so we pray that down the road, a sequel is in the works or perhaps some added DLC perks to add more long term value to Shu’s experience. We honestly can’t get enough of Shu and it’s stunning visuals, enjoyable gameplay and wonderful soundtrack. It’s by no means a game changer in the platformer world and is quite linear in most regards, but it definitely brings something fresh to the table in terms of its companion system and ingenious mechanics, which felt interesting. We also forgot to mention the fact that we were constantly reminded of Sonic every time we finished the level, as you zipped across the end goal and watched as your butterfly collection meter increased. All that went through our mind was this during that moment:
Stage Clear - Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis) Music
- 21 levels to run through, all with unique characteristics.
- We love the use of character relationships and how they benefit you in the adventure.
- Awesome soundtrack.
- Hand drawn beauty! Pastoral essence!
- A little too short and can be completed quickly.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Shu is a game that platformer fans shouldn’t sleep on and new fans of the genre should definitely dive into. Despite its overall short length there’s still a plethora to explore and collect and you can definitely get your money’s worth through time trials. Be sure to catch us on Twitter to stay up to date with all the latest news pertaining to anime, gaming and manga! Also follow us on Twitch to know when we go live and you never know, we may just play Shu to show you how fun it is!
As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.