[PlayStation 4 Review] Shio Review
Originally born as a single-man created demo back in 2014, challenging platformer Shio found its way to Coconut Island Games, and is finally available on PS4. Read our Shio review to find out if it’s worth picking up!
The story of Shio is probably one of the most mysterious stories I’ve seen in a video game for quite some time. You play as a nameless person, who doesn’t speak, wears a mask, and who has a mysterious past. There’s also a little girl who’s just as mysterious as the main character, that you wish to uncover information about her, as she seems to be an important part of why your character is doing what it is doing. As you progress through the game, you’ll find bits of information here and there to try and reconstruct the overall story, but you won’t know if it’s real or just a dream.
This game is hard. Brutally hard. All you can do in the game is move with the left analog stick and jump with the X button. That’s basically it for most of the game! You then “just” proceed through the different sections of the levels, going from one checkpoint to another using your platforming skills and jumping from lantern to lantern, since they serve as jumping pads midair. Where it gets hard is when the game starts throwing a ton of hazards at you, such as fireballs, spinning blades and bottomless pits.
It takes a lot of trial and error to reach the next checkpoint, but the game does a good job of putting you back at the last checkpoint right away, with no loading or anything that would get in the way. You can also at any time wear your mask to allow you to travel to any checkpoint you’ve visited before if you feel like replaying a section to lower your time or to try and find a secret room. Yes, there are secret rooms in this game, and these will considerably ramp up the difficulty even more than what’s on your regular path.
The visuals of the game reminded me a lot of the excellent Guacamelee, although not as colorful. The game takes place in what seems to be an ancient Asian village, and the result is quite pleasing to look at, as a lot of details were added to really make everything pop, both in the foreground where you are and in the background which complements the action.
I’ll say it again: this game is hard. I’ve only spent time on the “normal” difficulty (there’s a harder one!), and the game has been challenging right from the start, providing a lot more deaths than your typical platformer. But the thing is, it’s just as fun as it is hard. There is a great sense of accomplishment when you finish a section you’ve been struggling with, and when you don’t you’re so quickly back in action that you just go at it again until you’ve mastered it!
That kind of platforming made me think about two games when I played it, that could give you an idea of what to expect. The first one is Guacamelee, mostly for the difficult platforming sections it had at a few spots (specifically that notoriously difficult climbing part to get an orb). And, in a totally different style, it also feels a bit like the hard-but-excellent OlliOlli, minus the skateboard tricks obviously – it compares to that game for how you just instantly respawn never stopping until you manage to get to the end of it.
As for the trophies, there’s some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there’s nothing that can be missed, as a lot of trophies will unlock naturally while playing, and the others can all be achieved by replaying sections (like the trophies for beating a set time for chapters and for the whole game). The bad news, as you probably guessed, is that it’ll be haaaaaard!!!
Coconut Island Games have released a truly satisfying game in Shio. If you like difficult platformers, you’ll have a blast with this one. It doesn’t have a big story to keep you glued to the screen, but it more than makes up for it with some solid gameplay mechanics and platforming sections that are challenging but also highly addictive.
This Shio review is based on PlayStation 4 copies provided by Coconut Island Games.
Price: $12.99 USD