Developer: Game Dynasty
Genre(s): Platformer, Adventure, Action, Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 25/11/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Shiro is a brief action-platformer about a girl on a quest to find her sister. I navigated various environments, fought evil creatures, and learned how to leverage floating kanji. Is this journey worth partaking in? Find out in this Rapid Review.
Watch Out Above!
The story in Shiro is incredibly simple. I rode a zeppelin with my sister, Shiro. Out of nowhere, malicious creatures attacked my ship. Though I fought them off, my sister got captured by an evil witch. This was the entire plot until the end. It was simple, but I found many of the story elements confusing. I never understood why I was visiting the locations I did. Nor did I understand how my character knew where to go, as she was just a random girl. It was not necessarily important but knowing additional information about the world and my character would have immersed me in the world further. Even though the story is not crucial in gameplay-focused titles, I still value continuity, and I wanted to understand why I travelled the places I did.
Even if the story is lacklustre, solid gameplay can more than compensate. Unfortunately, I did not find the deep gameplay I was yearning for.
I initially had very high expectations for the title. I was immediately taught how to jump, roll, and attack. Teaching me everything upfront led me to believe there would be more expansive techniques to learn in the future. Sadly, I was mistaken. Even though my abilities were simple, it felt good to move the character. She was slow, but her jump felt powerful, and her dodge roll was fun to use. Her attacks were boring though. There were no active inputs, and it was easy to press the button without thinking about the enemies at hand. Still, there was a lot that could be done with the simple character.
Even though the character was sufficient, the game featured weak enemies. Each enemy was incredibly simple. With such a powerful dodge, I was anticipating facing tenacious foes. Instead, I fought measly skeletons and trolls. Sure, they served their purpose, but they were not challenging, and I quickly learned their patterns.
Moreover, there was only one boss in the game, and it was also underwhelming. I was not able to damage the boss. I broke targets around her to finish the fight. It was an interesting first fight, but once I realized it was the only boss fight in the game, I was disappointed. I thought Shiro would have ended in a brawl between my character and the witch. Unfortunately, in the end, I simply watched a cutscene of my character saving her sister, and the witch escaping unscathed. This was anti-climactic and devalued the hardship I endured on my journey. Even though I wanted more climactic fights, the enemies were still fun to face off against.
Bouncing Through Air
In addition to avoiding enemies, I dodged spikes and dangerous saws. Frequently, in doing so, I was able to ride inside kanji. These functioned similarly to barrels from Donkey Kong Country. However, in Shiro I could never gauge where I would land. The direction I launched my character seemed to impact the launch distance from these kanji. This made it challenging to land and made them frustrating to use. Additionally, these were seen constantly throughout levels. Thus, instead of serving as a breath of fresh air from the platforming, at some points, they were the primary form of transportation. Having an inconsistent element reoccur frequently was frustrating, but I was able to figure out the sections. To make things worse, occasionally there were blind falls that led into these kanji.
Even though there were constant death traps, checkpoints were placed constantly. Even though it seems helpful, I found it detracted from my experience with the game, as I was never forced to master the mechanics. It appears every challenging section was separated by a checkpoint, and thus death had little to no penalty.
The lack of challenge was a constant issue throughout my journey. The enemies were not challenging, the checkpoints were practically overlapping, and the game was incredibly brief. All three of these issues would have been remedied by introducing additional difficulties, or a new game plus. Unfortunately, without these features, the game feels too simple.
Still, the game is enjoyable as a brief and simple experience. There are some areas that break up the monotony of the game, such as free-falling and shooter sections, but largely the game is a bit underwhelming. There is a solid foundation here, but there is also substantial room for growth.
The sound and visuals in this game were nice. Especially considering the price point, I thought the pixel art was lovely. There are some scenes where the visuals truly shine. Moreover, the atmospheric soundtrack was a lovely addition. There were different songs for the different environments, a feature I greatly appreciated. It helped give each locale a new identity. Shiro had style.
Overall, while Shiro is nothing to write home about, there is certainly plenty to appreciate here. There is a great atmosphere and some solid foundation for mechanics. However, it is also important to note the brevity and simplicity. Even though it is not perfect, I am glad I got to play Shiro.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can purchase Shiro from the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.