by Derk Bil
previewed on PC
A new language
It is hard to believe that everything that we have seen of Shiness (pronounced by the guys of Enigami as ĎShynessí) so far was all achieved with just the Kickstarter budget, which was a few bucks shy of $140.000. For an Indie game, this blend between RPG and martial-arts style fighting certainly looks impressive.
Equally impressive, and possibly a tad crazy, is the fact that the developers have created a special language just for Shiness. The developers demonstrated the language by exchanging a few lines which I obviously did not understand a word of, but sounded cool nonetheless. Since the entire game is narrated in this Asian sounding language, and the developers donít expect you to learn the words yourself, speech in the game will be fully captioned. Due to the unfamiliarity of the sounds, the effect is a little disorienting at first. After a while, it does create the sense that this is truly an immersive fantasy world, one inhabited by furry animal-humanoid hybrids.
The world has been just through a major cataclysmic event, breaking up the land into giant floating islands. The game takes you through some very impressive vistas and traces of the event do not always seem obvious. Your adventures take you through a huge open world that is filled with dungeons that can be explored. If you stick to the core quest only, it should keep you occupied for about 15 hours but if youíre really looking for something to do and pursue all the sidequests as well, you can stay busy for at least 50.
Grown up quests
A game of this scale would blow if all it did was offer your run-of-the-mill type quests. According Enigami, Shiness is proving to be an effective platform for addressing grown up issues in a playful manner and this will carry over in the various quest lines. The team did not offer any specific examples but given that the world is inhabited by different kinds of furry creatures as well as humans, I think it is not unlikely that racism and respecting racial differences will be one of those issues.
The RPG aspect of the game is inspired by games such as the Zelda series, but with a number of twists to really make the game stand on its own. Youíll be able to play the game by using four different main characters, of which the demonstration focused on the mouse-like Chado. Besides martial arts, he also knows how to manipulate elemental Earth powers which allow him to perform special tasks such as hurling boulders at levers. Eventually, youíll have the full gang assembled and you will be able to solve more complex puzzles by choosing the right companion for each specific task.
Where the RPG element is in the tradition of the Zelda games, the combat pays tribute to titles such as the Naruto series. Combat is fast-paced, using a flashy combo system and dynamic camera movements. Here too, the element that your avatar controls will feature prominently and open up special moves that are unique to the character.
Labour of love
It became quite clear that the developers live and breathe their upcoming game, maybe thatís also why its production values are so far beyond what you would expect from the Kickstarter budget. It will be a while still before we can basque in the beauty hands on - the game is scheduled to be released early 2016.