It’s funny that the word Onomatopoeia – where a word sounds like the thing you’re describing – sounds nothing like a word that’d sound like the thing it’s describing.
That’s the English language for you, though, love it or loathe it. Shing! is the sound of a sword being drawn from a scabbard, and the (to be fair, pretty low-effort) title of a new weapon based brawler from developers Mass Creation.
Cutting to the chase, the notable aspect of this game is that attacks are assigned to the right analogue. That’s right, gone are the reassuring, responsive clicks of buttons, replaced with mushy movement and 30 degrees of travel.
The reason buttons are traditionally used for fighting games is pretty self explanatory: you employ force that makes contact on your pad; your little fighty man or woman employs force that makes contact with someone’s face. Synergy! Striking with the stick isn’t awful, by any means, but Shing! doesn’t particularly justify its inclusion, either.
Let’s rewind a bit. Shing! Is a side-scrolling fighting game where up to four players can scrap with Orcs and other beasties in a high-fantasy-meets-feudal-Japan setting. Along with the weapon attacks you can block, and perform a serviceable parry, with the analogue stick attacks allowing for angled blows that can be used to juggle opponents or strike them when they’re down. Not very noble, but needs must.
Some enemies use powers such as energy shields and fireballs. You can parry the latter to destroy the former, and defeating some of the little monsters grants you use of their power for a short duration, which is pretty neat.
Rounding-out the features is the ability to swap characters on the fly, similar to the Capcom Vs fighting games. The health bar of the inactive player doesn’t replenish, but at least it gives you four ‘lives’ to mess around with in single-player.
Aesthetically, Shing! Is a pleasing if unremarkable indie, with chunky graphics that ape kids’ TV shows. Cartoonish as it is, the look is complemented by some really good tunes – rock mixed with classical Japanese strings and woodwinds. I often forget to pay attention to music in games (I find it all to blend into one most of the time, which is why I loved Death Stranding’s sparse but effectively-deployed tunes) so Mass Creation deserves two thumbs for its catchy beats.
A decent story isn’t exactly crucial in this kind of hello-face-meet-some-steel experience, which is good… as Shing!’s is overly jokey and lame. All that stuff’s tuned-out in the melee, though, and the moment to moment Combat’s engaging enough for a laugh with mates.
Lightweight as a bamboo training staff, Shing! may be flimsy entertainment, but is also a solidly average time-filler that benefits from party play. If you like online four-player, the recent(ish) release of Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara should be your first port of call. After that, give this a go.