[PlayStation 4] Shing! Review
Shing! from Mass Creation is a classic-style beat â€˜em up on PlayStation 4 with a group of ninjas under your command. Learn more in our Shing! review!
Shing! is a side-scrolling beat â€˜em up on PlayStation 4 from developer Mass Creation in which youâ€™ll be controlling a group of ninjas to battle an army of evil Yokai demons that have invaded your world, and which is destroying everything in its path. You can take on this one as a single-player experience or enjoy the multiplayer for up to four people.Itâ€™s been dubbed by its developer as a beat â€˜em up 2.0, but does Shing! bring anything new to the experience worthy of said moniker?
Traditional beat â€˜em ups are button mashing experiences. For these types of games, players usually have access to a mix of light and heavy attacks, and some combos to add to the gameplay variety. Shing! changes this formula by having all of your attacks be controlled with the right analog stick. Flick the stick to jab, and you can mix in quarter turns, and half turns – similarly to how youâ€™d control a fighting game – to pull off a variety of different attacks. Is this a case of innovating for the sake of innovating, or does this change the beat â€˜em up genre in a good way?
What sounds like a good idea on paper does, unfortunately, turn into a mess during its execution. Having to constantly flick or spin the right analog stick to attack with the same frequency youâ€™d be frantically pressing buttons leads to some rather quick finger fatigue. Extended gaming sessions may be out of reach for all but the most dexterous thumbs trained through years of honing its craft playing fighting games. The direction your character is facing can be controlled with the direction that you move the right analog stick in. By only slightly missing the starting point of an input, your character ends up turning away from the action, leaving it open to attacks. The difficulty curve is not very forgiving, so youâ€™ll need some extra patience to take on Shing!
From the moment it starts, it sets very high expectations with an absolutely gorgeous hand-drawn opening cinematic. While it wouldâ€™ve been a very expensive process to apply that same style to the way the game looks when you play, this does not mean the generic demon designs are to be given a pass. There is some backstory to each of the four main characters, and switching between them to avoid being knocked out or to recover from health drops can be a strategic and satisfying affair, but theyâ€™re not an interesting bunch. The writing of the game largely falls flat, with moments of deep reflection ruined by some very cringe writing.
There may be an audience for a beat â€˜em up with fighting game-style controls, but for me, this does not feel like an evolution of this beloved genre. Sidescrolling beat â€˜em ups like this one are largely driven by their tight controls and beautiful sprite work, and Shing! has neither. What it does have are endless hallways of enemies that feel repetitive and bland. Shing! is out now on PlayStation 4 for $19.99 USD.
This Shing! review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Mass Creation.