The debut title from Garage 227, Shiny, is a non-violent platformer with an understated narrative. In a time where platformers have their own gimmicks such as speed, time manipulation, or difficulty, Shiny contains a distinct lack of any such gimmick except for perhaps energy management. Contrary to the title of the game, Shiny is particularly plain.
The game begins with a brief cinematic depicting a human abandonment of a planet destined to collide with a nearby star. This planet, however, is left with “dead” robots who depleted their energy to prepare the humans for their travels. The game’s main character, Kramer 227, sets out to gather energy, charge his robotic friends, and escape the doomed planet. The game’s narrative is quite subtle, and its charm must be discovered, but it is decent enough to get you started in the early goings.
At its core, Shiny is a platformer. You navigate levels vertically and horizontally with naught but a jump and later, a jetpack. In doing so, you must also avoid any hazards, collect power-ups such as energy spheres, collect batteries, charge robots, and maintain your own levels of energy. To keep Kramer 227 energized, players will have to find checkpoints that act as generators as well as batteries. Actions such as jumping or activating your energy sphere will result in a loss of energy. When your energy hits zero, you will restart at the checkpoint.
With just 20 levels of various sizes (some are abnormally short) and difficulty, Shiny is a short game. The game’s pacing does an okay job in terms of introducing new power-ups before throwing players into the fire (sometimes literally). Unfortunately, the game does have its fair share of glitches and mishaps. Perhaps the most egregious of them is that the start of a certain level can result in instant-deaths for Kramer 227, reoccurring randomly with respawns.
The level design of the title is hit and miss, with some being designed very well, and some simply not. For example, certain levels require the player to die to return to checkpoints and take alternate paths. Furthermore, the jumping ability of Shiny is quite particular. Players must judge their momentum and jump strength before making a floaty-feeling jump as adjusting mid-air is not quite viable. While the game plays well over time, this adjustment does take a little getting used to. On top of it all, the game had a couple occurrences where rescuing robots was not detected, and a few trophies appear to be broken at the time of playing (trophy conditions were met but did not activate).
“Shiny is an average platforming title that despite its various issues, can result in a fair bit of fun.”
While the game’s aesthetics are acceptable given the game’s various settings, they could be called another but shiny. Despite matching the game’s overall tone, the title features some generic graphics. Furthermore, the game’s camera had a couple different issues at times. Firstly, certain areas where Kramer must be to collect batteries were very close to walls, resulting in situations where both the batteries and Kramer were unable to be seen. Secondly, players can move the camera around using the right thumbstick, though while on moving platforms this causes the camera to shake.
Overall, Shiny is an average platforming title that despite its various issues, can result in a fair bit of fun. Though the game is quite short, players can return to specific levels to collect things they may have missed. While some of the gameplay issues are inexcusable (such as the trophies), Shiny’s understated narrative is quite charming to an extent. Though Shiny may not be the best platformer on the market, the game does have its own value to the medium.
*** A PS4 code was provided by the publisher ***
- Subtle, charming narrative
- Well paced
- Camera issues
- Outdated graphics
- Plethora of minor issues