A couple months ago I reviewed another game by Dahku Creations, titled Chubbins. The game, though coming up short in some areas, offered up strong core gameplay mechanics which resulted in a fairly addicting eShop game. Now, Dahku Creations is releasing another eShop game, titled Soon Shine, this time not just a port of a mobile game – the key feature promoted is the usage of the GamePad. So, how does Soon Shine hold up?
Visuals – 6.5/10
Soon Shine looks pretty decent. There aren’t a ton of actions going on in the background, as your sun/moon appears to simply be drifting upward through a repeating background, but it hits a solid frame rate and doesn’t slow up. Even when there were many different spirits on the screen, hurrying to take out my poor protagonist, the frame rate never dropped. The visuals aren’t anything spectacular, but they aren’t bad either.
There are two aspects of the visuals that I thoroughly enjoyed with Soon Shine: the usage of colors and the design/artwork. This is a game that easily fits in with the Wii U and many other Nintendo games, as far as the look of it goes. Your protagonist can either be a “sun token” or a “moon token,” and I really enjoy the Aztec design of the character. Each also reacts differently when taking out spirits; the sun’s eyes grow larger, while the moon’s eyes appear to be joyful. They are small touches, but they definitely add to the game itself.
As I stated before, the background is simply a repeating scene of moving upward, with clouds and bean stalks filling up the space. When you have your sun token selected, it is day time, while when your moon token is selected – yes, you guessed it – it turns to night. Soon Shine offers decent visuals: a sufficient background with little amounts of actions (ie – a bean stalk on a cloud turning, and the illusion of moving upward in the sky), solid frame rate, and nice little character touches.
Audio – 5.5/10
Basically, there is one song for the launch of the game, with a few more tracks, and backdrops, that can be purchased by accumulating score (more on that in the “Gameplay section.”) They are good compositions, especially for a game like Soon Shine, but I had hoped for some more. The music acts as a background filler while you eliminate the spirits on the screen, and it does its job well. The lack of additional music, however, creates a little aural fatigue while playing: playing the main mode seems to take a very long time, which is not something you want with your game. Music can help to reinvigorate a gaming play-through – musical dynamics, different compositions, and music that fits the environments are much needed gameplay assets. Once the other songs are purchased, it does bring more variety to the mix and greatly helps.
As far as general audio and audio cues are concerned, Soon Shine does a decent job. Whenever you eliminate a spirit, you hear a sort of popping noise. It’s oddly satisfying. When you tap on a spirit that cannot be eliminated – I’ll explain in the “Gameplay” section – it makes an odd scratch track sound, signifying the action can’t be performed. In other words, the general audio usage and cues are well done and fit the game.
Gameplay – 8/10
Soon Shine is a very simple game, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The player is tasked with clearing out any spirits that appear on the screen. There are various types of spirits that offer different scores once eliminated. There are the normal spirits, which are eliminated either during the day or during the night (this is why you will switch between your sun and moon tokens), Dark Spirits (which can only be eliminated during the day, and Light Spirits (which can only be eliminated during the night). The player has 3 options of gameplay: Standard, Purist, and Timed. Each mode finds the player eliminating spirits to gain a better score, and to keep your sun/moon token alive. Standard Mode allows the player to use power up tokens that can be attained by scoring within any game mode; Purist Mode is the same as Standard, other than items aren’t allowed; and Timed Mode gives the player 3 minutes to get the highest score possible.
Times Mode was my favorite, as it gave a solid goal and a limited time; a game like Soon Shine benefits from this type of mode. The other two modes were good, but the problem was that they felt like they took way too long to arrive at a decent difficulty, which is not a good thing when playing a game. When you first start, there is almost no tutorial – the only thing mentioned is that to switch from sun to moon, you swipe across your character. This is a great thing, as tutorials can often feel overkill, but the level of difficulty takes way too long to reach a point of genuine entertainment. Usually games have separate levels, beginning with an easier difficulty, then moving towards the harder levels. Soon Shine is one giant level that progresses in difficulty the longer the player stays alive. If there was an option to begin the level at a specific difficulty, this would remedy the problem; perhaps if the player were to begin on a higher difficulty, each spirit eliminated rewards the player with a higher score.
As the player finishes a level (the level ends when the player’s life bar reaches zero), a score is given. This score acts as currency to purchase power up tokens to be used (not in Purist Mode, mind you), which brings an element of replayability and strategy to the gameplay. They are welcome additions that enhance the core gameplay.
Entertainment Factor – 7.5/10
At the time of this review, there were no online features, but that might change once the game is released, perhaps comparing scores with others online. The one thing that really impressed me was the dedication to using the GamePad: the entire game is played using the GamePad. The player taps the spirits on the screen to eliminate them, swipes across the main character to switch from sun to moon, and can select tokens whenever desired. I was incredibly happy to see Dahku Creations attempting to utilize the GamePad, rather than dismiss it or simply disregard it. This game couldn’t be played the same way on another home console, and that’s a good thing.
I was entertained with the game for what it is: a game that can be played casually while watching something on TV, or to play for a short period of time. And at the end of the day, aren’t games simply to be enjoyed and entertain the player? Soon Shine does that, even in its simplicity.
Overall, Soon Shine is a decent game to pass the time, especially for its price point of $1.99. If you’re looking for an in depth, content-rich eShop game, I would recommend looking elsewhere. However, if you’re looking for a simple game that doesn’t require large amounts of time to be spent in one sitting, though you could do that, Soon Shine is a perfect game to scratch that itch
Overall – 6.75/10