Don’t you just love games with onomatopoeia for a title? If you love beat-’em-up side-scrollers with multiple characters to choose from, whether alone or with three other players, then you might have a ball with Shing! It’s a reasonably challenging and fairly enjoyable title, though a bit more polish would still do it wonders.
In Shing!, you take control of a squad of young, immature warriors who are sent to protect the Starseed, a mystical object of great power. They’re called in when an army of evil Yokai steal it and charge off, all the while causing havoc and destruction in their wake. Simple as, nothing too strenuous to memorise here, though you’ll want to block out the writing from your memory. The jokes are pretty terrible, and the banter is anything but sizzling – usually they just make silly insults to one another. “Hey, it’s the dumb guy!”, “You’re booty’s big!”, etc. It’s almost like the script written 15 years ago.
Still, the vibrant colour scheme makes it a fairly eye-catching game, even if it looks a tad blurry and stutters tad on the Switch, and the environments look pretty cool as well. Bonus points go to the anime-style opening cutscene with some truly sweet animations and a lovely dollop of fanservice for the discerned player, like myself. Nothing to comment on about the music, as it’s pretty stock, though, At least the voice acting is still credible.
The game isn’t a button-masher of a title, per se. Attacking, by default, requires the right analogue stick, whereby you can make a flurry of strikes, circular swings, and uppercuts to engage in aerial combat. It does feel a bit imprecise, which can result in a bit of flailing around, but it’s still pretty simple to get ahold of. These basic attacks can be combined with a dash that can drop bombs, a special combo attack that can be quickly charged up with damage (but sadly lost too quickly if you’re hit while unleashing it), and the ability to unleash Energy Waves with your attacks — good against bosses and for breaking enemy shields.
There’s a fair bit of variety to break up the combat. Sure, you might come across a tedious puzzle along the way, which drags things to a crawl, but things often get spiced up with bonus challenges and other objectives, e.g. destroy a shielded generator with power-up attacks within the allotted time frame. There’s definitely enough on offer that will keep you on your toes, so don’t expect a completely smooth sail through the hordes of Yokai. Often, new encounters with enemies that have new and dangerous attacks will help mix things up, but their attack patterns are slightly different between each one. Nevertheless, if you’re ever low on health, you can always switch to one of the other four protagonists to play as them (providing you play solo), but, hey, four health bars is better than sharing one, right?
Thing is, there’s a fair bit of scuff with the gameplay. It’s definitely recommended that you play either on the low-to-mid difficulty modes alone, or just team up with other players, because some of the battles can get awfully grindy. It does get a tad monotonous against the enemy AI, who doesn’t diversify their movement patterns or attacks very much, and the bosses have such high health pools and exceptionally overpowered attacks to go alongside. Sure, when you managed to beat the difficulty spike, it’s like a breath of fresh air, but it’ll still make you break a sweat — just for the wrong reasons.
Shing! Is more than likely going to divide people because of its repetitive combat, bad writing and bloated boss encounters. Still, if you enjoy hacking away at legions of nasty monsters who are ready to put up a fair fight, combat that requires good reflexes, and can look past some noteworthy grievances, then this one might be just for you. The Switch port may not be the prettiest, and it does stutter with the framerate occasionally, but it’s still a perfectly viable option.
Review code supplied by PixelHeart.