Indie game studio Mass Creation’s latest, Shing!, is a side-scrolling, co-op beat’em up that was released on August 28 for PlayStation 4 and PC. For Nintendo Switch owners, you’ll be happy to note that the game was officially released today so you’ll be able to take Shing! on the go. Shing! can be played either solo or with a group of up to four players. Currently, group play is limited to local co-op only but online multiplayer is said to be added in the future.
Shing! delivers a classic beat ’em up adventure true to what fans love about the genre while adding a few twists of its own. Pull off angled combos, counters, aerials, parries, and more in fast-paced, freestyle combat with a unique control system built around the right analog stick (although you can swap to a more classic layout where you attack with the buttons instead). Your party of wisecracking ninja warriors each has their own strengths, and you can swap between them in an instant to chain attacks, revive allies, or strategically bank power-ups for upcoming bosses or challenge rooms.
Shing! is a game that seems very story-driven. You can immediately feel that right away with its gorgeous hand-drawn animated intro as well as its many cut scenes and voice-overs. In the first 30 minutes alone, I could tell that there was something deeper to explore going forward.
In terms of art, I will say that I think it is very well done. The hand-drawn elements have a very anime-like feel to them while the in-game stuff is very detailed and impressive. The environment is very colorful and vibrant. The developers did a great job making it as lively as they could. Character designs too are pretty good with some interesting designs. Again, very anime-like which I approve of.
The audio in the game is also very good. I like anything with full voice-overs and a kickass audio track. Both are exceptional with the audio track really kicking things into high gear, especially during action sequences. You have to have exciting music when you’re fighting and Shing! delivers that. The sound effects are also really good and not a moment goes by where there isn’t some kind of sound being made.
Of course, the meat of the game is the gameplay and without good gameplay, no amount of gorgeous art or audio is going to make the game great. Luckily, Shing! also delivers in this area. The fighting mechanics are fast and fluid with most of the controls assigned to the thumbsticks. The left thumbstick moves your character around while the majority of fighting moves and combos are controlled via the right thumbstick. The top shoulder buttons are also used for blocking and evading and Shing! tries to keep normal button presses to a minimum. The controls seem intuitive and combos are not too difficult to pull off.
You can however switch to a more classic style if you choose so and forgo the right stick all together and assign the combat to the buttons. It does make the game a tiny bit easier to play as you just end up button mashing.
If you play solo, you’ll be able to swap between the four characters on the fly. You just use the directional pad to choose the character. If you play with others, you’ll all have to decide who plays as who. I do like the fact that each character seems to have their own unique style of play, so I recommend mastering each, especially if you’re playing solo.
With that said, Shing! is a masterfully crafted game. The art is amazing, the story seems good, and the gameplay is deep and intuitive. It certainly is action-packed and I love the co-op aspect of it, especially local co-op. Local co-op is a feature that we don’t see too often anymore and when we do, it’s a real treat. I love being able to play games with my family so any game that I can add to my library with this feature is surely welcome.
Received game from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.
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