The platformer genre has been evolving at a rapid pace recently, with new releases getting increasingly challenging and atmospheric and developing rich storylines that add whole new layers to games with relatively simple premises. Shio has all of these elements crafted to a wonderful degree to create a really well-rounded and absorbing game.
It doesn’t immediately explain a lot about the world in which you find yourself. Instead, you adjust to the way the game universe works as you move through it, and collect pieces of a deep and lovely story that adds a lot of heart to the game.
This means that there is no real explanation for why you need to leap over big gaps in the ground and avoid fireballs just to get around town. But without those elements, there wouldn’t be much to the game, so it’s easy enough to forgive.
You find the first piece of the story almost immediately, with the discovery of a journal, which introduces you to a character whose life is gradually revealed to you as you progress through the game. This mystery doesn’t have a huge impact on the actual gameplay. However, it does encourage you to push into the more difficult areas of the game to find the clues that have been scattered around in hard to reach corners. It also draws you further into the game world and adds an extra element of motivation to it to get through the next platform.
Shio is a decently challenging game. It’s easy enough to pick up when it comes to the controls and the general premise, which overall is quite simple. It doesn’t utilise every button the Switch offers, but it really doesn’t need to. You can do pretty much everything you need with just a couple of buttons, but that doens’t mean it’s going to be especially easy to beat.
The game requires you to have a sharp eye, as you need to be quick and accurate when it comes to the moves you make. You are rewarded for doing especially well – pieces of the story can only be found in particularly difficult places, and there are exclusive areas that you are only allowed to explore if you’re playing in the harder mode.
Its art style is beautiful, with gorgeous backgrounds and a lot of subtle detail in the world. This is compounded by wonderfully eerie music, which blend together to make for a fantastic environment to leap and smash through.
Whether you’re in it for the challenge or you want to play through at a more relaxed pace, Shio is a wonderful game to get lost in.