Shu review for PS Vita, PS4, PC

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Coatsink Software
Developer: Coatsink Software
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No

When it comes to reviewing Shu, it’s tempting to repeat what I wrote just a few days ago about Skylar & Plux, and simply subbing in “2D platformer” everywhere I wrote “3D platformer.” After all, my basic feelings about both games are pretty similar: they’re both short, and they both do things relatively well within the confines of their genre.

However, there’s a big difference, and not just in terms of the number of dimensions: Skylar & Plux stood out for simply being competent at what it did, without doing anything spectacularly well. Shu, by contrast, does some things exceedingly well.

Admittedly, much of this is simply cosmetic. Shu is a very pleasant-looking — some might even say “cute” — game. The characters are delightful, from the adorable main character to all his little friends; even the villains and dangers are liable to make you say, “Awww.” Likewise, the music strikes a good balance between being frenetic enough to get you to keep going, while at the same time not being so obtrusive that it harshes the overall friendly vibe.

But it’s more than just aesthetics. The controls feel fairly tight, which is important considering there’s the odd part where you need to move with a bit of urgency. Shu’s world is also designed pretty nicely — the levels are fairly lengthy, and they’re all full of secrets and treasures just waiting to be uncovered. To bring things back to what I was saying just a few lines up, some games have big worlds, but forget to fill them with things; that’s not a problem here.

None of this is to say that Shu is an all-time classic platformer or anything. At this point, roughly thirty-plus years into the genre’s existence, I’m not sure what it would take to be classified as that. It is, however, a well-made platformer that’s sure to please people who like those things, and it’s pretty darn cute, to boot.

Grade: A-