Shiness The Lightning Kingdom Review
Lately, I’ve wanted to spend my hard earned dollars on indie games as opposed to AAA releases. I feel like more heart and soul goes into an indie release, and when they are really good, I want to tell everyone. Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom is one such game, and outside of it not being available on Nintendo Switch, I think it is a fantastic experience.
Action RPG games are pretty frequent now, but finding one that is less Japanese and more Western is fairly difficult. I love the Tales of franchise, and have always wanted something similar, but less anime and more cartoony. Shiness delivers on that want for me, and from beginning to end, I found myself enjoying almost every minute of it.
You begin the game playing as two protagonists – Chado (pronounced Shadow) and Poky – who’s ship has just crashed in an surprisingly unfriendly, distant world. Chado ability to speak with the local spirits sets him on a quest that…we won’t spoil here. Safe to say, the story does a better-than-average job at getting you to play through the 15 hour story; there was never a time where I A) wanted the game to end, or B) wasn’t somewhat intrigued by the outcome of the story.
What I like about Shiness over other action RPG titles is how fast everything feels. Unlike games like Tales of Berseria, when going into combat in Shiness, and when finishing combat, you don’t wait for a load screen. Everything is fluid, and it’s a great, fast paced experience.
The game thrives on it’s combat. Early on, the game might feel like an average run-of-the-mill hack and slash, but you will quickly learn that strategic movements are a must if you hope to advance against some of the games tougher enemies. Through dodging, parrying, using melee attacks, and using magic attacks, you will quickly learn that playing as ANY of the playable characters in Shiness is equally as enjoyable.
When in combat, swapping between characters is really quick, and unlike other action RPGs were multiple characters from a single party fight together, the Shiness always focuses on 1-1 sequences. If you fight 3 enemies, you do so individually. I find this approach puts the game in your hands completely, rather than banking on what your AI companions might do.
My initial draw to Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom wasn’t actually the combat, however, but the way the game looks. Whether exploring towns, beaches, or lush forests, everything in Shiness looks fantastic. Exploring the fairly large open world – broken down into significant hubs – is enjoyable, and never feels like a task. Whether you are fighting enemies, solving puzzles, or collecting resources to trade and buy with, every corner feels like it serves a purpose, which cannot be said for other like-minded titles.
For the most part, everything in Shiness is pretty awesome, but there are a few letdowns. When perusing through the reviews of others, I’ve seen a mixed reaction on the comic book style cut scenes. Unfortunately, I fall on the side of disappointment. Although the cut scenes are colourful and well detailed, I would have liked to see a different way of pushing the story forward. Since this is an indie developed title, I fully understand that cost restraints are a thing, and how the story gets told in cut scenes might have been a casualty of that.
Overall, Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom is a fantastic title that definitly deserves your time and attention. if you are looking for a short, yet incredibly rewarding action RPG experience, you don’t need to look any further: this is the game for you!