Shu is a charmingly simple 2D platformer for players of all skill levels starring Shu and a handful of other hand-drawn characters trekking across six gorgeously crafted lands. Playing as Shu, your goal is to outrun the end of the end of the world, making your way to the peak of an ancient castle where you will battle the beast who threatens destruction!
A malevolent force appears in the distant sky, and your grandfather warns of its dark prophecy. He stresses the importance of the tallest tower of the ancient castle, which plays a mysterious role in the fight against this beast. Suddenly, the beast engulfs everything in sight, and as your grandfather prepares to fight it, he instructs you to head for the ancient castle. Soon after, the beast crushes your grandfather with its giant hand—and fearing the same fate, the surrounding villagers scatter. It’s up to you, and the brave villagers you find along the way, to reach the mysterious castle and save the world from the wrath of darkness!
In Shu, you’ll find straightforward platforming that takes you from point A to B, and it’s nice to play a platformer that feels relaxing and forgiving. On your way to the castle, you’ll travel through six unique areas filled with gorgeous backdrops, like misty jungles, windy deserts, and ancient ruins. Each area is split into sections, with checkpoints scattered throughout. In total, you’ll play 21 distinct “levels,” and in this regard, Shu may seem like a relatively brief game—but for the price, it really packs the content, and we’ll get to that in a moment.
As you journey through Shu’s gorgeous world, you’ll have the special ability to glide, but you’ll also need to rely on the unique abilities of the villagers you’ll encounter along the way, like ground-pounding, wall-jumping, and even the capability to walk on water. And you should always be prepared for an invasion of the beast, which can happen quite suddenly and without warning. When this occurs, the creature and its billowing darkness follows you with an open mouth, hoping to catch you with his evil chompers. And if/when this happens, you’ll be transported back to your checkpoint, thankful that this title is forgiving enough to offer checkpoints.
So aside from basic gameplay, what other content do you get with Shu? For starters, there’s an opportunity to collect butterflies and baby chicks, which are scattered throughout the game’s levels. And every item you’ve collected remains in your file for good, so if you ever replay a level to try to collect everything, you only need to go for what you missed before. This small but appreciated detail makes backtracking much more fun and enjoyable. On top of all this, you get a special timed mode with a leaderboard, perfect for anyone who likes to speedrun their platformers!
Overall, Shu’s gameplay is exciting and relaxing at once, and we love that you get to experience your adventure at your own pace. The only thing we’d change about gameplay? We wish there were a co-op mode. We feel this is a missed opportunity, especially since you’re often playing alongside NPC partners anyway. But nonetheless, Shu is a super-fun platformer for one player, and perhaps we can hope for a co-op update in the future.
GRAPHICS & SOUND
Shu’s presentation is stunning: its smooth graphics run like silk on the Switch, and its music pairs incredibly with each scene of action. (We especially love what plays when the beast starts to chase you—it’s dark, menacing, and perfectly panic-inducing!) Even the game’s sound effects, like character movements and the collection of items, are charming and add a deeper level of immersion. The hand-drawn characters are a serious plus as well; their precise running, jumping, and climbing is just as fun to watch as it is to control.
If you’re looking for a relaxing and enjoyable platforming experience, Shu is for you. Its simple controls make this title accessible for all audiences, and it’s a definite Nintendeal when you consider the content alongside the price tag of just $9.99.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Coatsink Software
Developer – Coatsink Software
Price – $9.99
Genre – Platformer, Action, Adventure
Size – 3.0GB
Nick and Sarah are the ultimate gaming couple. Nick is a Super Mario Maker 2 enthusiast, but working with Nintendeal has fostered a love for tough-as-nails indies such as Enter the Gungeon, Celeste, and Cuphead. Sarah prefers sim games like Animal Crossing, Don’t Starve, and Stardew Valley, but she challenges herself by grinding Slay the Spire from time to time.