Shing! Review - Teenage Regular Ninja Humans
Updated: Jul 7
Shing! is a co-op brawler that, on original release, had some kind of right stick-based combat system that seems to have been widely disliked. This was removed in a later update and it now uses a more traditional system based on button and stick inputs together. It will be quite familiar to anyone who has played any other brawler. The only major gameplay differences at this point are that there's a big focus on deflecting projectiles to defeat certain enemies and that you can freely swap characters at any time, which effectively gives you four health bars to divide between however many players you have.
The rest of the gameplay is solid, but doesn't do anything to stand out. You don't unlock any new moves or abilities, so the only variety in what you're doing comes from enemies or stage hazards that force a new approach. Characters also don't have any major differences between them, which feels like a missed opportunity to inject some variety. It would've been cool for each character to have their own special, at least, or for there to be team attacks for co-op. None of this is a huge deal since the stages do a god job of keeping things fresh with frequent bosses and environmental hazards, but differentiating the characters a little more could have elevated the game to a higher level.
It certainly doesn't have the same variety issues with music or graphics. All of the stages have very different looks from each other and the music does a great job of setting the atmosphere. There aren't a huge variety of enemies, but they often enter the stage in surprising ways or have several different minor forms they can appear in. Even if most of this doesn't really shake up the experience much, it at least keeps everything looking fresh as you advance through the game.
Writing will be more divisive. It takes a very self-deprecating approach to humor that's fairly well done, but won't be for everyone and isn't necessarily what you'd expect from looking at screenshots. Most of it is hidden in lore rooms that are easy to skip if you're not interested, but also easy to accidentally miss if you do want to see them. It also very much needed more combat dialogue recorded - you will hear the same few lines a lot even though the game is only a few hours long.
Core combat is fun enough that I'd probably come in around an 80% if this review had already covered everything important but, alas, multiplayer is a bit buggy. In a 3.5 hour 2 player campaign on Steam Decks, we encountered several issues with players or projectiles turning invisible for one player, frequent troubles with extreme load times when restarting a level, and a couple times when restarting a level caused players to be kicked from the session. These are annoyances if you're playing at a difficulty level where you don't need to restart often, but could be dealbreakers if you're intending to really push yourself.
So, it's a solid, but familiar brawler with some unfortunate stability issues in multiplayer. It was right about the perfect length to hold my interest, although if I'd bought it at full price I might have been a little underwhelmed. I'd recommend it if you're looking for an arcade-y multiplayer game and have someone to play with. Based on how sparse the leaderboards are, I don't think there's much hope of finding public games to join.
Time to beat: 3-4 hours.
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