Shiny The Firefly Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Shiny The Firefly Review



Over the last few years I have noticed a severe lack of games being advertised for a child’s market. Whether that is through sheer ignorance or a total disinterest due to my age, beard and love of computer game violence, I am unable to tell you. Yet upon reviewing the following game an obvious revelation entered my mind. The market is well established and thriving for the genre on a stunningly obvious platform we tend to use daily, known as the App Store. Titles like Candy Crush, Angry Birds and Tiny Wings have dominated smart phone screens whilst being enjoyed by children and adults simultaneously but few have entered the competitive marketplace known as Steam.

Shiny the Firefly is a platforming game produced by Spanish developers Stage Clear Studios. It was originally released for the application market in March this year, having its presence felt on both the App store and Google Play. Earlier this month the game made a bold decision to release on Steam, adding to its potential revenue sources and capitalizing on the platforms acceptable price range, charging almost five times as much as mobile versions. For the cost, the game offers little more then gamepad controls, steam achievements and trading cards.

The story is simple to say the least. Shiny, our friendly faced, firefly hero is ambushed suddenly by the terror of a garden sprinkler causing panic amongst his family. Whilst Shiny managed to avoid the blast of water, the babies didn’t so they get washed away leaving the lone firefly. Your job is to journey into the depths of the garden, whilst facing the creatures that live there, to rescue your kin before it’s to late.

The game consists of thirty-three missions broken into three level sets each being progressively harder then the last. Throughout them you have to navigate a garden platforming maze utilizing plants and natural hazards to your advantage to save fireflies and escort them to a big plant found on every level to take them away.

Different objects have unique capabilities towards defeating enemies and solving puzzles. Examples include a berry you can throw by clicking and dragging in the desired direction and huge rocks you can speed into by double clicking to move it. This is where the majority of the game mechanics are located and as you play further into the game, you are allowed access to further abilities to extend the game play possibilities.

A mechanic used for the purpose of collecting your babies is the light coming from your backside. You have the option of switching it on and off yet from sections of the game I played switching off your light is pointless. Not only do the tiny fireflies follow you but it lights up the area to the extent that its adds more atmosphere. Perhaps the developers just wanted to reinforce the fact that the insect you play is a firefly and not some deformed bumblebee.

The art style is simplistic but adequate. The countless garden environments attain a certain atmospheric quality to it whilst differentiating foreground and background elements with colour. I believe the use of several shades of similar colours contributed to this effect, using darker greens for unimportant features and lighter for key ones, leaving the levels looking aesthetically pleasing.

The way the game controls shows the original intentions of the developers. It acts and feels just like it should be played on a touch screen. Everything is mouse controlled, making it slightly awkward to dodge certain obstacles when you need to progress quickly. This happens often with odd raindrops. The mouse clicks become jerky and unresponsive at times possibly showing the developers rushed attempt at preparing a Steam game.

The music is repetitive and consistent through the game creating a rather annoying background noise. Unfortunately the music isn’t even that great leaving a mediocre song replaying over and over again. Luckily, either through the focus of game play or my brain preserving what little sane brain cells I have left, you fail to notice the music a few levels in. The sound design of the creatures was adequate, adding in soft sounds whenever your character is in pain or by saving another firefly.

You are judged on how many fireflies you save, your time against the par and your collection of coins. This is the extent of the replayability. Although I believe this is enough for a platformer like this I have doubts as to if anyone will make the effort. Certainly on a tablet device or phone you will complete a mission to kill time when traveling or on break at work. But to sit at home and choose to play this rather then another game is unlikely.

I am well aware that some adults do play this title but the design still leans towards a title created for kids. The aesthetic of coulorful backgrounds and cheery soundtracks with an extremely simple story clearly creates a child-like experience and this is why I feel this game will fail to capitalize on the full application audience. It corners itself into a younger market that relies heavily on a parent’s influence and although some may download it, many will choose games they can enjoy to, like Candy Crush.

Unfortunately, this game shouldn’t be on the Steam store. With controls lazily implemented whilst the developers boast about new additions like Steam achievements and trading cards it is amazing how they have the audacity to charge a lot more then the app store. This is becoming a problem in the gaming industry. Many creators focus on unimportant features rather then fixing the game play allowing players to actually enjoy their game. I feel Stage Clear are just capitalizing on the popularity of Steam in order to receive easy money.