After a delay that saw the developers refocus the game’s mechanics and boost the speed-run angle, indie studios Coatsink and Secret Lunch have announced the release date of their hand-drawn platformer for PC and PlayStation 4, Shu.
Shu will be available for digital download on Tuesday 4th October 2016. A version for owners of the criminally unloved PlayStation Vita (hi to you both, by the way) is planned for later in the year.
You’re bounding. Leaping. Sprinting and springing across a sharply stylised 3D landscape, as you out-run a viciously destructive storm.
That’s the set-up for Shu, which is a fast-paced platformer that’s designed for beauty and built for speed-running. You play as Shu, a hand-drawn character who has to collect a collection of goofy-looking villagers that remind me of anthropomorphised bird-like Pokémon (just me?). They’re hand-drawn, too, each adding new abilities to your roster.
I’ve always had a thing for hand-drawn video games, I’m thinking The Banner Saga, Jotun, and Don’t Kill Her here. We seem to have a resurgence in hand-drawn animation in gaming, in the same way it became fashionable after years of CGI movies (I blame Toy Story).
I love hand-drawn games for the same reason I dig on old Disney films: I can see care and charm peppered all over the screen, and I dream of squirrelly geniuses hunched over their desk, chipping away with strokes from a sharpened pencil, bring madness to life. I’m drawn to hand-drawn games like a kid watching Saturday morning TV. It’s the nostalgic romantic in me.
Continuing the old-school theme, Shu takes its inspiration from games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Donkey Kong Country – influences that bleed through in launch trailer. Throw in some time trials, leaderboards and levels that are focused on speed-running and the game could be competitively enchanting (or enchantingly competitive).
Shu is released on 4th October for PS4 and PC, and supports Cross-Buy once the Vita version is released.