Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Shutshimi (Wii U eShop) Review

This Tuesday morning sees a brand new Wii U eShop game getting the SuperPhillip Central review treatment. It's Shutshimi, a game that released in the fall of last year on the PlayStation 4 and the Vita. Now, the Wii U gets the game, and here's my review of this absolute blast.

Seriously sweet.

There's something in the water supply of the development team of Neon Deity, and whatever it is made them make this awesome and brilliantly insane game. I mean, what else can you call a shmup where fish have muscly humanoid arms; wield machine guns, mucus spewing weapons, and cannonballs; and don an assortment of fashionable hats? Well, Neon Deity calls it Shutshimi, and this ADHD sufferer's shoot 'em up is seriously awesome.

Shutshimi is no typical shmup. You don't play through long levels, blasting wave after wave after wave of enemies. Instead, each round last ten seconds exactly, and pits your fabulously fit fish against multiple enemy types-- sharks that shoot lasers from their tops and bottoms, kitties in little space ships, bears that somersault, squids that have their own flight patterns, and more kooky foes to blast to smithereens.

Kittens, and sharks, and bears, oh my!
In between each ten second round is an intermission of sorts, the same amount of time. Here, you have to quickly select between one of three power-ups to be used in the next round. It's a shame you're rushed if only because the item descriptions are so darned funny. Regardless, power-ups can give you positive bonuses like wearing a protective fishbowl shield, having an array of smaller fishies surround you and shoot a steady stream of bullets, or becoming equipped with one of many hats that have different abilities to them. Then, there are bonuses that may hinder the experience, such as slower movement, inverted controls, or no friction when moving, resulting in sliding around with every push of the d-pad.

Adding to the craziness are power-ups that turn the entire round into a rave party with flashing strobe lights and colorful spotlights moving all about. There's even a power-up that turns the whole round into a truce, having your fish bobble about in a bouncy castle, ricocheting off enemies as if they were pinball bumpers. Of course, not one to keep Shutshimi from being too uninteresting (I am being facetious here), there's also a power-up that turns the background and all enemies into moving butts of various sizes. I felt bad about shooting the poor defenseless butts while they were down on their luck and handicapped. After all, they already had cracks in them. (Insert Ed McMahon from his Tonight Show days' "Hi-ohhhhhh" voice clip here.)

A life lesson to behold: sometimes all you need for peace in this world is a bouncy castle.
Every five rounds you are pitted against one of six bosses. Well, technically it's just three with two versions each. Regardless, here the ten second rule is still in effect, so if you don't manage to take down the boss in one round, you'll have to survive around five rounds to continue where you left off. Once all six bosses have been defeated, you have essentially "beaten" what could be considered Shutshimi's campaign.

We all shoot at a yellow submarine. Yellow submarine, yellow submarine.
To add to the replay value when high scores aren't enough, you can play Shutshimi with up to four friends. That's four times the fish with muscly arms! Additionally, there is a hat encyclopedia that makes a note of each and every hat you've worn in-game. These range from Viking helmets and cop hats to more spirited and creative hats like sparkling gold hair that makes your fish reminiscent of certain Dragon Ball Z race, a yellow flattop haircut and American flag tattoo that according to the hat's description "goes with everything", and even some indie all-stars like Commander Video and Shovel Knight. Alongside trying to collect every hat in the game, you can also shoot to complete Shutshimi's list of achievements, which are a lot of fun to go after. Some can even make you change the way you play the game.

When one fish with extremely large human arms isn't enough, call in for re-fin-forcements!
While Shutshimi's arcade shmup sensibilities won't have you playing dozens of hours with it, it is a blast for the several hours you'll be playing it. The ten second rounds are perfect bite-sized chunks to keep you feeling like you're making progress, and the power-ups are constantly changing how you're playing each round. The gameplay is as great as the humor, and seeing that I cracked a smile and even chuckled on multiple occasions (and that's no easy task), that is a high honor indeed.

[SPC Says: B+]

Review copy provided by Choice Provisions.

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