For a small French indie studio, Enigami seem to have managed to nail the style and production quality of a low-end Japanese AAA JRPG with Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom. From the character designs and cutscene directing, to the voice acting and combat flow, Shiness does a really good job at capturing the heart and soul of the colourful mascot JRPGs that came before it.
Shiness is an action RPG that takes place on a world shattered into several celestial islands when it kind of, but not fully, exploded. Each of these different celestial islands contains different races, with differing languages, customs and unique, interesting design styles.
The game’s combat takes place in 3D real-time battle arenas most closely resembling something like a Naruto fighting game. While the demo I played through was mainly focused on simple melee attacks and a button used for both blocks and directional dodge rolls, later sections of the game I watched played hands-off included an almost overwhelming amount of combat depth. The developer demonstrating the game was absorbing energy based on the colour of the energy wall around the encounter, swapping out team members mid-fight, using elemental projectiles that could be thrown out quickly or charged and more. The melee attacks felt satisfyingly weighty, and dodge rolls were responsive once I got the timings down.
While the plot and dialogue seem pretty light-hearted, digestible and goofy, the combat system looks like it’s going to have more than enough for players to sink their teeth into. It’s just a shame that jumping from the start of the game to 40 hours in left me so overwhelmingly confused about the combat system’s overall progression path.
As someone totally up for a cheesy and campy action RPG, I’m certainly keeping my eyes on Shiness as it approaches launch.
[Disclosure – LPVG’s hotel and travel costs were covered while attending the above press event. This included travel from London to Paris and one night in a Paris hotel].