Are you taking the Metal Mickey?
Getting a platformer right is a tricky business, with every little design choice making a huge difference. Get it right, and you could have an instant gem on your hands. Get only the slightest thing wrong and it can spell disaster. Unfortunately, Shiny falls in the later.
Shiny follows the story of Kramer, a robot on a mission to save his robotic friends from a factory plant, before the planet it is on is destroyed. This involves navigating each level to find up to four robots, and then activating them. The levels are the standard platforming affair, running from left to right, with most levels requiring a little exploration to find all of Kramer’s buddies. Shiny does change things up a little with rush levels; but more on that later.
Platform: PC (Reviewed), Xbox One
The first thing that jumped out at me when starting the game was its poor performance, especially – long loading times, where I often wondered if the game had crashed and half expected the game to boot me out to Steam on several occasions. Shiny also suffers from some terrible screen tearing at times. However, the framerate does remain stable, which is a must for platformers. With the factory as a backdrop for the action, each level is designed to be short and beaten in a few minutes, but with collectables to obtain it tries to encourage replays. There is an odd disparity between Kramer and the design of the levels, with Kramer being sharp and detailed, but most of the background feeling washed out and bland. It stood out like a sore thumb to me and actually hinders the gameplay slightly. But that is the least of Shiny’s problems.
The game’s biggest problem is a deal breaker; the actually platforming. While slight performance issues and dull aesthetics can be overlooked to some degree, how the game plays and controls is crucial to this type of game. When a game requires precise jumping and landing it needs to give the player a certain level of control, or the gameplay will become frustrating. Shiny gives almost zero ‘in-air’ control over Kramer, making the jumps more of a leap of faith than a practice of skill and control. This issue is the most evident in the rush style of levels, which require Kramer to navigate the level whilst being chased by a fiery wall of death.
There is zero margin for error here and pinpoint accuracy is required to get through; but the tools given to the player just aren’t up to the task. Add to that several blind jumps, where I couldn’t see where I would actually land, and I ended up having to replay the same level tens of times (even to the point where the soundtrack would run out and I was left in silence.) The game also threw bugs at me quite a few times; where Kramer would just drop dead at the start of a level for no reason, and a few instances where he would refuse to jump on a platform. Very frustrating indeed.
When I review a game, no matter how bad it may be, I try to find some kind of redeemable feature that stands out, like something that stops the gameplay from being a total letdown. But with Shiny, there just isn’t one. An uninspiring story, bugs and performance issues and frustrating gameplay makes Shiny a game I just cannot recommend for anyone.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.