Doesn’t shine so bright

First glance at Shiness The Lightning Kingdom is that it seems like a charming and fun game and at times it is, but at other times I failed to stay gripped for very long at all.

Playing as an anthropomorphic dog named Chado with the pronunciation of Shadow you crash land on a planet setting off on a journey through different worlds to bring peace once more. The game starts out with narrative text explaining the shiness and the elements known as air, earth, fire and water, then proceeds on to an animation cutscene then followed by a comic book strip to narrate what’s going on. The first issue I ran into here is that it all happened so fast and I failed to grasp the story; it doesn’t help that the on screen subtitles don’t even match what the characters are saying which threw me off and only added further confusion especially as some of the on screen text disappeared before the character could finish what they was saying. Once you grasp the story you will see it as a typical plot common in most JRPGs; while definitely something we haven’t seen before it doesn’t win anything for being different.

As you take control on a forest island you take a glance at the aesthetically pleasing surroundings; the game looks great and it’s art style is reminiscent of games such as Dark Chronicle and Eternal Sonata. As Chado and Poki set out you will learn a bit about the combat which is a real time fighting style using a mix of punch and kick to take down foe. You can fight many enemies but you will only be fighting one and the others will join the fray after the previous have been slain. At first the combat is comfortable for the most part, you are given healing items but you won’t find yourself using them until later on in the game where combat becomes more tricky and elemental weaknesses will come into play aswell as many enemies will continually throw out attacks forcing you to take a step back and switch formation. Switching characters is useful as each have their strengths against certain enemies. You can also do devastating moves such as Hyper Combos allowing you to pull off a special attack by putting in the right button combination.

Pulling out rocks out of thin air our hero can use these to hold down switches to open new areas. Down the line new characters will be introduced who will also have their own abilities to overcome obstacles. The puzzles start off simple but get more in depth as is naturally expected as the game progresses. For a game that focuses on combat and exploration the games camera doesn’t always work well in the players favour; I have had it stuck in an annoying place and for the most part it will be left alone especially in combat as you cannot do anything until it is over so if this happens you will just have to try and get through in one piece. There are various perks which can be obtained throughout the game; these perks which can be bought from shops and found in chests. Each elemental Shi attack has an element and depending on the colour dome battle of which you are in you are able to replenish Shi as long as the colour matches that of the element.

While the visuals are pleasing to look at; the sound and music is also well done and are it’s best features going. Some of the characters voice acting could be better. The menu screen is also one of the nicest, cleanest and most easiest to navigate that i have ever seen in an RPG. The game definitely has a lot of potential and with the amount of effort that has gone into certain parts of the game it is a shame that others are severely lacking.

A PlayStation 4 Review code was provided by Focus Home Interactive