By Desiree Bonilla
Ever wanted to just lie down with a bag of chips and a drink and play a stress-free game for a bit? Well, Shio is probably the game for you. When you indulge, you feel very calm. There’s never a point in the game where you’re stressed out. I feel at peace when I play this game.
The game starts off with Shio, a man with a wooden mask over his face, lying down. You begin by running to find Shio’s mask and a journal. The mask’s purpose is to restart a chapter or checkpoint. The journal is to see the pieces you pick up from work, or notes, which usually just appear. Now, the only thing Shio is able to do is jump. He is also able to double jump, but only when he is hovering over a lantern.
The lanterns in this game aren’t meant just for decoration. They are meant to help you reach another checkpoint in the game. When you are near a lantern, you need to press X on the Playstation and then X again to be able to jump higher onto another platform or another lantern.
Of course, there are some challenges that makes the game more exciting. Cannons will sometimes throw fireballs in your direction or in the direction of the lantern. You will have to time the precise moment when to jump and double jump. Sometimes the fireballs will be thrown in groups. There are also big wheels that have spikes on them that you will have to jump over, as well as planks of wood that turn into fire if you stand on them too long.
As you move forward in the game, you will see that the checkpoints aren’t as close together. They seem to be farther apart, and at times it gets frustrating because if you make it extremely far and die, from a saw or fireballs, you will respawn and have to do it over again from your last checkpoint. Fog will sometimes show up, making it harder for you to complete the section.
There are times when Shio will force you to walk at a slow pace. This happens as a sign that the game is going to become more challenging. You will see that there are not any fireballs or saws to jump over.
The reasons I enjoyed playing Shio were its calming atmosphere and its very beautiful Chinese design. The checkpoints would usually be by some Chinese houses filled with little orange lanterns. What creates the calming atmosphere are the gentle sounds and original music, which isn’t really loud; it’s very peaceful. Shio himself is silent. In the end, the reason why may surprise you.
Desiree Bonilla one of our New York Videogame Critics Circle interns, part of our ongoing partnership with the Bronx’s DreamYard Prep School.