It’s not often that a new game is able to satiate my nostalgia for another game I grew up playing. Sure, there are direct remakes, remasters, and genre mashups aplenty in today’s indie gaming scene, but not many replicate the feelings I had for titles of the past. Shutshimi, on the other hand, takes me on a trip down false memory lane in the most wonderful way possible.
One of the first games I ever owned for the Super Nintendo was Darius Twin, a scrolling shooter I used to play with my sister where you fought giant robotic fish and sea creatures. I have to believe the people at Neon Deity Games were heavily inspired by that series when they introduced the world to Shutshimi, a hectic fish-based shoot em up with the fixings of a rogue-like sprinkled atop.
Let’s get this out of the way from the start. If you’re not interested in a game where you play as a gun-wielding fish with bulging man arms, this title is not for you. The subtitle, Seriously Swole is just the tip of the iceberg of ridiculousness in a game where you will: dress your fish in hats, play upside-down, and even go Super Salmon. Tonally, it’s right up there with some of the most hilarious premises as of late, and it all comes in bursts of hot ten second action.
That’s right. Each level in Shutshimi is a mere ten seconds of underwater survival. In between, you will be tasked with making a quick decision of what item to choose. These upgrade screens also last ten seconds but most of the items are described in a vague or lengthy manner, often making the choice an impulse until the items start to become recognizable. The levels go on forever, or so it may seem, but there are a few bosses who pop up intermittently and plenty of variety to keep things fun and light. I would’ve liked to see a few more bosses before reaching the victory screen, but I was still laughing once I got there. Occasional score milestones reward you with additional lives and even when I did pull a bad item that made things crazy; it was only a problem for ten seconds. The formula is great for casual and hardcore players alike, offering a simple and quirky style alongside leaderboards and randomized madness.
As a PS Vita game, I found Shutshimi great for a quick fix but lacking one component of it’s console counterpart: local co-op. A few rounds in Shutshimi’s four player mode (on Playstation 4) made things interesting. Having to work together while bouncing off one another and dealing with random modifiers made for some quirky situations and kept the room entertained. While it isn’t exactly what I’d call a party game, I was very excited to see people’s reactions when all of a sudden we were playing in a level with floating butts. As with many games of this style, it did not have much lasting appeal, but it is certainly something I’ll have the joy of revisiting every once in a while. PS Vita co-op would be nice, but it’s not a deal breaker. And since Shutshimi is a cross-buy title, I find it hard to complain about it’s one missing mode.
If you’re looking for a quick dose of good arcade-style fun, or in the need of a quick pick-me-up, check out Shutshimi. It won’t blow your mind with crazy next-gen visuals, but it could very well brighten up your day. Though it is a little scant for content at the moment, I found Shutshimi worthy of our beloved Coolguy Jones on the Game Awry Review Scale. It is, after all, a bite-sized shooter where you play as a gun-wielding fish with bulging man arms.