This is Gaming Cypher’s PC Review (done by Brandon Clayton) of hand-drawn platformer Shu by developer Coatsink.
Shu is an amazingly vivid and gratifying 2.5D platformer title that offers much to both the casual player as well as a more seasoned gamer seeking to push themselves with timer based levels.
The game itself takes place after a dark storm attacks Shu’s small Cliffside village. The player then finds themselves traversing five different zones—each complete with its own unique set of progressively more challenging levels and varying encounters and mechanics. Right away, this game meets all expectations. It’s easy to get into and get the hang of but also challenging enough at times to keep even a experienced player interested. Shu also features an action component as well, making it more thrilling than an atypical platformer. Periodically throughout the different levels the “storm-monster” will begin chasing Shu until you reach a safe zone at the end of the level. If caught by this storm, you are forced to restart at the closest checkpoint achieved. When the storm is combined with the challenge of navigating the level it can make for exciting and overall enjoyable gameplay.
Speaking of checkpoints, every time you start a level you begin with five lives, which upon reaching a checkpoint are reset to five. This means that even if it takes four attempts to reach a checkpoint, you’ll be rewarded with five more lives to continue on to the next one. However, if you fail to reach a checkpoint before all your lives are gone, you’ll be forced to start the entire level all over. In this way Shu can seem forgiving when it comes to learning the levels, but don’t push your luck or you’ll find yourself starting all over again!
While you might think Shu is more of a lone-wolf, think again. Throughout the various five zones, you’ll need to link up (literally) with some handy companions. These friends all bring varying abilities to the table necessary to navigate the levels. Some of these abilities include smashing objects blocking your path, opening and closing flower platforms, activating various levers for platforms and even water walking. Learning how and when to use these companions’ abilities along with Shu’s adds another dynamic to the play style. With the addition of these companions, I felt that as I progressed I had to learn to utilize a new ability which helps keep the game refreshing and engaging as well as offering new challenges.
From a graphics prospective, I had no problem running this game on high settings and getting over 60 frames. It also plays beautifully; the scenery and art style unique to this game make it very aesthetically pleasing in my experience. In addition, I would suggest playing Shu with the sound on! Not only does the soundtrack in this platformer sound great, it also has a way of immersing the player in this cartoon like landscape and in my opinion is worth checking out.
Overall I’d say that if platformers are your thing, then Shu is well worth looking into. The only drawback that I noticed with Shu was that a few times, due to how sensitive the controls were, I would land right on the edge of a platform and slide down the side onto an invisible ledge. Although, this happened so rarely that it didn’t diminish my game-time in the slightest and I’m sure with a future patch this would be corrected. All in all, the developers at Coatsink Software seem to have produced a really well-polished game that does exactly what any decent platformer should— be frustrating at times, but also feel gratifying when completing a difficult challenge. In this regard I happily give Shu a solid 9 out of 10 rating.
Watch the Shu gameplay video:
Shu is now available for PS4 and PC on Steam.