Ever wondered what it would be like to be a fearless warrior? A warrior who will charge head-first into battle without concern because he has a huge arsenal of weapons and a sweet set of biceps at his disposal? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, yeah? Well, that’s exactly what playing Shutshimi is going to allow you to do! Great, right?
Oh, there’s one ‘catch’—you’re gonna be a fish.
When I first took a look at Shutshimi, I honestly had no words. The idea behind it was just so random and unorthodox. Booting it up for the first time, I tried to go in with an open mind, but I couldn’t help but think: “There is no way this is going to be fun.” Boy was I wrong!
Your goal in Shutshimi is simple: you are a bright orange fish who has super strength and a gun. Using your strength and weaponry, your job is to take out enemy marine life and destroy huge bosses. Sounds simple enough, right? Hardly.
Shutshimi is an arcade title in its purest form, meaning that your number one goal is to survive—there are no checkpoints. With a seamless multiplayer feature allowing for up to 4-players to play simultaneously, getting the highest score possible is the overall objective. You will be dropped into wave after wave of enemies, with each engagement lasting merely a few seconds (seriously). All you have to do is take out the enemy sea creatures without getting damage yourself. There’s no health bar, only a life system. Each hit you take results in the loss of one life, so as already mentioned, survival is key.
What makes Shutshimi special is the fact that you’re never going to find yourself playing the same levels twice. Every time you start a level, there’s a change. When you complete one wave of enemies, you are immediately transferred to the Shop where you have 10 seconds to select one of three items. Whatever item you select, it will have an effect on the following level. For instance, you may select an item that transforms your normal gun to a rapid-firing machine gun, while another item will give you your own fish bowl which absorbs a limited number of hits. You can even combine these items together, making for an even wackier experience.
Shutshimi is also very big on unlockables, which further pushes you to keep on trying even after what feels like 1,000 consecutive “Try Again” screens. The game features over 30 unlockable Hats (what?). Don’t worry, it’s just not just a fashion statement. Each hat has a different set of ‘Hattributes’ which further alter the already insane gameplay. While it may seem like a small feature, I found myself trying to unlock as many Hats as possible simply out of curiosity to see what changes with the each different Hat. Indeed, this feature proved to me that the developers were having a whole lot fun designing the game.
The randomly-changing nature of the title, combined with the fact that the whole point is to get the highest score possible, makes for an interesting and rather addicting combination. Shutshimi definitely has a lot of charm to it. The game doesn’t take itself seriously, so neither should you. It’s a ‘go with the flow’ kind of experience.
This is emphasized further by its presentation. Not only do the enemies have wacky designs (laser-shooting sharks that wear sunglasses?!), but the game is constantly blasting bursts of color and explosive sound effects at you. This is complimented by its retro visual-style and fast-paced chiptune soundtrack, bringing the game right in line with titles from the 16-bit era by which it is inspired
Shutshimi is definitely one of the weirdest games that I have ever played. Even though it’s an indie game, I still found myself genuinely surprised as to how weird it was. But that is not a bad thing. The whole experience allows you to have fun and even get a little addicted due to frustration. Unlocking the Hard Mode proves this even more. It definitely seems more than appropriate to tip my hat to the folks at Neon Diety Games, as they did an amazing job with the game. While the ‘shoot-em-up’ genre isn’t new, Shutshimi has managed to take an age-old formula and make it its own. Not bad at all.