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Shiny (Xbox)

Developed by Garage 227, Shiny was originally released on PC back in August 2016 (it is £6.99) and is now available on Xbox One for £7.99.

Shiny is a side-scrolling platformer game about a robot named Kramer 227 who has been abandoned and left to fend for himself on the doomed planet of Aurora. Harvest energy, revive and rescue other robot friends before the planet crashes into its sun.

There are 20 levels to play through which have been well designed with variable layouts, hidden robot friends which need reviving as well as scattered batteries which need to be collected to restore your energy. Unfortunately, I have had issues with framerate, it stutters quite a bit and at the very beginning of the first level there was frequent screen tearing which was a concern as I watched my robot running in two separate halves, thankfully the screen tearing stopped but regrettably, the stuttering remains a constant problem. Loading screens are quite long and often I’ve thought the game has crashed because the animation stops, then it looks as though the level is about to begin and just goes back to another load screen! I have had problems returning to the game from the pause screen from time to time, below is what happened on one of those times:

I really love the soundtrack, it has been beautifully created and gives you a sense of calm amidst all of the chaos around and adapts to the level as more is going on. The sound effects have been done with a real sense of attention to detail, with lots of metallic noises and “bleep bloops” which is also something I appreciated.

I have tried incredibly hard to like Shiny, even taking a break and returning to it once I’ve calmed down but there are so many aspects to this game that just make me feel so angry.

Some of the levels are so incredibly long and if you die, you start at the beginning. The checkpoints you go past are where you can recharge your battery by holding X and will only allow you to respawn from them if you activate it and use up a charge (even if you don't necessarily need it). If you run out of recharges then its game over and you have to start the level again completely (losing any batteries you’ve collected or robots you’ve revived). Jumping and reviving use up your energy, collecting the batteries will recharge you slightly.

The difficulty of the levels is quite strange, level one is straightforward and could be seen as a tutorial, level two in comparison is absolutely barbaric! Then level 3 is easier and ramps up yet again level 4, it doesn't make sense and I feel that there should be a steady increase in complexity, not a mishmash from level to level.

The controls are incredibly unresponsive to the point where I didn’t actually want to continue playing when I’d reached level 2 (yes, the second level!). I know sometimes I self-depreciate and say I’m not the greatest gamer but I’m actually pretty good (by all means not on a professional level), I have the gift of perseverance and with that, I adapt to a game I play and finesse some of the skills which are required to succeed.

Shiny’s controls are horrendous, now when I say controls I actually mean the jumping (although even trying to lightly tap the LS to turn around can result in you sprinting off to the side, plummeting to your death). Something so simple, such as a press of the “A” button, does not work reliably in this game, it is sporadic at best. There have been too many instances where I have gone to jump and I either haven’t jumped at all, I’ve jumped too high/far or not high enough/far enough. I have even jumped (which didn't register) and then fallen through the bottom of the level and had the game not recognise that I've died so I've had to restart the level myself!

To make matters worse, this issue was amplified on level 4 when you are under pressure to escape the fire/falling rocks and I fail literally every time to make a certain jump from floating platform to solid ground- my robot NEVER jumps, he just slides off. Every. Single. Time. The time I actually managed to succeed, I literally had to stop moving completely and then try to jump. Even on levels where you’re not being rushed, you need to jump with precision to avoid being hit with a blade and still, you run off the edge because the jump didn’t register. Why would you try and implement a speedrun element to a level if the game literally can’t respond properly? It just makes the problems so much more obvious.

Overall, I’ve been pretty disappointed with my time playing Shiny, I love the idea of Shiny, but there is an abundance of issues including the framerate as well as clumsy controls which have been off-putting from the very beginning. If I had to give it a score, it would be 4/10. There is a fair amount of fixing to do but I fear that won’t happen, as the already obvious issues from PC release weren’t addressed prior to its console debut. I can’t recommend it, sorry.

Shiny has a whopping 49 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. A lot of progression based achievements as well as a few more imaginative ones, it’s definitely the kind of achievement list I like! Unfortunately, there are glitched achievements meaning as it stands, the game is not completable. The developers are aware and hopefully, a fix is incoming soon! If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information. 

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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