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Shutshimi Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . A mix of Parodius and WarioWare, Shutshimi is an action-packed shoot-em-up where each level only lasts a few seconds. You never know what you'll see from one stage to the next. Sometimes you'll be upside down, while other times you'll wear a can of beans. While not the deepest shooter to come out in 2015, Shutshimi is bursting with personality and full of intriguing ideas. Rating: 71%
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  • Review Score:

  • B
Developed as a parody to the popular Gradius series, Parodius was Konami's attempt to bring whimsical humor to a genre known for taking itself too seriously. This afforded the developer a chance to create a more colorful world populated with wacky characters and bizarre bosses. Three decades later, the impact of Konami's experimental shooter is still being felt. Shutshimi not only embodies the spirit of Parodius, but elevates the theme by adding a dizzying amount of variety and levels that last only a few short seconds.

Think of Shutshimi as Parodius meets WarioWare. On the surface it looks like any other parody shooter, it's bright, colorful and filled with sharks wearing sunglasses. But it won't take long to realize that this is no ordinary shoot-em-up. The levels are bite-sized and the rules change from one stage to the next. Forget pattern memorization, this is a game about keeping up with revolving expectations and surviving long enough to earn a high score.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. You play a cigar-chomping fish looking to protect his home from invaders. But don't worry about our hero, because he has a pair of muscular arms and a penchant for firing exotic weapons. This sets up a fast-paced shoot-em-up filled with pixel enemies and a brilliant throwback soundtrack.

Shutshimi doesn't stop there. Each level is designed to be only a few seconds long, giving players only enough time to get used to the changing rules. You'll be able to choose between three items before each stage, but you're only given a few second to choose and the descriptions are purposely vague. This results in an adventure filled with random stages and obstacles, all pushing you to earn a high score.

Sometimes you'll turn into a massive fish, see the world upside down and fight through the stages wearing a giant eye patch. You'll also pick up hats, a ghost rider and even a can of beans that opens up a fart button. No, I'm not joking. And did I mention that some stages are nothing but butts? Yeah, it's that kind of game.

Shutshimi (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

While a fair amount of the changes are superficial, you'll also run into stages that force you to switch weapons or fire slowed-down bullets. Sometimes you'll get stuck with the unruly cannon gun and then have to fight through the level invisible. And just when you think you've seen it all, the game throws our hero into a bouncy castle designed to help us bond with the over-the-top enemies.

Speaking of which, I'm a big fan of the animal-themed villains. It starts with sharks and squids, but eventually bears and cats show up. There are also a number of boss battles, including a yellow submarine, serpent's head and a demonic oil spill. Like the rest of the game, you'll only have a few seconds to take down these bosses. If you fail to destroy them in one go, you'll end up having to fight a tougher, more aggressive version of them a few levels later.

The games are short and meant to be played over and over. It's the randomness and push for high scores that will keep this game fresh long after you've seen all the bosses and obstacles. There's also a four-player mode that turns this into a fast-paced party game.

But as much as I love this concept and visual aesthetic, I found that the shooter quickly became repetitive. You'll see all of the same enemies in the same patterns level after level, which started to wear on me over time. I also ran into a lot of the same rule changes, which made me wish there were a few more variations to survive.

Shutshimi (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

However, the biggest flaw is the game's inadequate leaderboard. For one thing, it's hidden two layers into the Extras menu. And even when you do finally locate it, you don't have a lot of options to play around with. This is the kind of game that should constantly be reminding you of your friend's high scores, pushing you to beat their kill count, survival time and other fun metrics. This is a huge missed opportunity in Shutshimi.

While it's not the kind of game you'll play for hours on end, this quirky 2D shooter is fun because it's constantly changing. It's the perfect timewaster on the PS Vita, and something I'll likely be playing long after I finish this review. But no matter what system you play it on, Shutshimi is an action-packed shoot-em-up dripping with personality and charm. It's an incredible start to a franchise I want to see more of.
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