Shu, from the context of the opening cutscene, is about a group of anthropomorphic bird people on the run from a menacing cloud of darkness…with teeth. You, Shu, are tasked with gathering the splintered remains of your clan. It’s a platformer that both looks and plays like the recent Rayman games. The characters are hand drawn, beautifully animated, running in 3D environments making Shu and the other birds pop. It’s not as jarring as seeing a cartoon in reality, but the one thing that is off-putting about this style is the size of our heroes compared to the levels, making it hard to see and forcing me to oftentimes stand next to my TV, as grand as it is.
Along with this small gripe, the controls aren’t as tight as the aforementioned Rayman adventures. To compare it to another platformer it’s like LittleBigPlanet: loose and floaty. There are even checkpoint similar to LBP that saves your progress, but gives you an allotted amount of lives that if snuffed out, means you have to restart the level. It’s five every time and they’re replenished at each station. Due to the controls and cheap structure of the levels, it can be difficult and frustrating to navigate, harshing the game’s inviting allure.
Bad comments aside it’s also an inventive platformer granting players access to new abilities throughout the entire adventure. Shu begins alone only able to jump and glide. Across each set of worlds she’ll encounter two survivors, each with their own special quirk whether that means smashing through wood, walking over water, activating pulley systems, or what have you. It keeps players on their toes with a few other surprises as well. With that said there are way, and I mean WAY too many chase sequences that make the already taxing checkpoint system more infuriating. It’s not fun pure and simple.
Shu is an astounding piece of art with a lot of blemishes. For it’s willingness to try new things I applaud its mechanics albeit with generally loose controls overall. The checkpoint system accompanied with the chase sequences and cheap obstacle deaths keep Shu from becoming as iconic as Rayman, or even Sackboy. Fortunately Shu is short to those hungry for a new platformer despite some flaws plus the extras are a nice bonus for speed runners.
Shu Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: I was provided with a review code for Shu.