Originally posted October 25th 2015 on the Seafoam Gaming forums
Thanks to Choice Publishing for the review code.
Title: Shutshimi: Seriously Swole
System: Playstation Vita/TV
Release date: 8/25/2015
The main game/story
In this horizontal shooter, you take control of one of five different goldfish with memory problems, who are tasked with defending the seas from a mysterious group of invaders! The main focus of this game are the incredibly short “waves” you must survive in order to get to each of the bosses, which usually last around 10 seconds. Before each wave, you must choose a powerup to equip, and with limited time to choose between the powerups, every decision matters, otherwise you might end up with a crazy ability!
This game uses a classic 8-Bit artstyle, similar to many other retro-inspired games out there. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be all that unique, just feeling like yet another 8-Bit game with nothing mindblowing to see when playing the game. However the real charm in the graphics come from the big, pixelated artwork, which looks really nice and shows off the charm of the game quite well, even if you only see them in menus, which give off a very slight Cho Aniki vibe to this game.
Music and Sound:
Lovely retro melodies that sound really nice, but suffer from being short. It’s understandable considering the length of the stages, but some of the songs I heard in a few waves sounded so good I honestly wished it could have played for longer, which is a minor nitpick in all honesty. The good news about this OST is that you can even change between two retro soundfonts in the options to add a bit more emphasis to the music if you so desire! Definitely the prime example of “short yet sweet”.
The main goal of the game is simple: Survive. Shoot all enemies in sight, while avoiding their attacks in the short amount of time each wave has to offer, otherwise you’ll lose a life with just one hit with things progressively getting difficult as the game moves forward. It sounds like an incredibly simple take on the genre, but thankfully the shop system keeps things fresh, due to the whole random nature of it. You see, upon clearing each wave you are required to choose between one of three options. They can range from hats that give you random abilities, items that can weaken or increase your strength, or silly items like one that makes the next wave a dance party. (Yes, this is really an option) After every few waves, you encounter a boss and you must deal as much damage as possible to it before it retreats, which will remain when you reach the boss again. Once a boss is destroyed, a new one will take its place after completing a couple more waves, and so on. There is indeed an ending to this game, although the game is actually quite tough, so I unfortunately couldn’t beat it myself, but it’s difficult in a good way.
The risk and reward aspect of the shop helps add a ton of replay value and strategy to the game. Will you go with a hat that looks an awful lot like a Pokemon Trainer hat, or will you go with an item that looks rather suspicious and may flip the entire game upside down? Will you get an item that will give you a powerful laser, or an item that will give you every single weapon at once for a wave? There are so many possibilities, and it was quite surprising how much depth this title has to offer. With achievements to unlock, a mode that makes the game even harder by giving you only one life, and a boss rush mode, Shutshimi has a lot of replay value, and you can even compare scores with other folks on the PSN’s online leaderboards! The best part about the PSV version at least is that it’s cross-buy and cross-save, meaning if you are on the go and want to save your scores to the big screen, you can easily upload it to the cloud and download it on your PS4 if you have one. (Which this reviewer currently does not, although I can verify that the cloud data can be used as a helpful backup tool)
In conclusion, Shutshimi is a rather odd game. What it lacks in terms of art style is more than made up for by the addicting nature of this game, along with the amazing music. It’s one of those games I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did, with it literally coming out of nowhere and me being blown away by how much replay value it has to offer. If you are looking for a game that takes “short, simple fun” to a whole new level, then Shutshimi is definitely the game for you, and if you have a PS4 and a Vita/PSTV, then this game is an even bigger steal at just $9.99. I give Shutshimi an 8 out of 10