Those looking to get ahead must test their platforming prowess with Riyko Games’ new title Shard. The controls and objective might be simple, but does this title enough for newcomers and veterans alike?
A single screen platformer at its core, what you see in Shard is what you get. Players must collect a number of shards in a level to open a portal. Get to the portal and repeat until all levels are conquered. Simple, right?
However, the platforming in this title makes this far easier said than done. Don’t expect any sort of advanced maneuvers with its control scheme – players will be able to take advantage of a floaty jump and a dash mechanic, but that’s about the extent of what players have to use to achieve this objective. The same goes with the level layout for each stage – some areas have points of no return or alternating spikes, but players will no doubt get into a groove sooner rather than later. While it does provide a sense of comfort that is basic at its core, it also leads to a lack of variety.
The controls mostly work as they should, but it can be tough to judge certain elements. A poorly timed jump or dash will grant a player a one-way trip to a wall of spikes or a bottomless pit, but the learning curve only accounts for so much. The aforementioned floaty controls lack the fluid nature found in established platformers like Celeste and Super Meat Boy, which will no doubt lead to a number of accidental deaths.
There’s no need to worry though, as lives are as plentiful as the day is long. Even the most epic of failures will not set players too far back, with the penalty for death being the shards reset and players starting at the beginning of the stage. There are certain spots that will place people in an unwinnable situation, so sometimes suicide through the conveniently placed Reset button is the answer to all of your problems.
The 28 levels that make up Shard are bite sized in nature, quickly disappearing from memory once everything is over. Levels can be wrapped up in a manner of minutes, and one level unlocks the next in a menu akin to a mobile game. Unfortunately, there are no achievements or leaderboards to keep people coming back – this is most certainly a one and done type of title without legs.
Don’t expect memorable setpieces, aesthetics, or anything else noteworthy – outside of the atmospheric sounds of a waterfall and other flourishes, there’s not much here. The same goes with its color pallette, which comes across as overly minimalistic. The presentation found here is a bland one that is inoffensive in the truest sense of the word.
Shard is an inoffensive platformer that doesn’t leave a lasting impression. Its floaty controls are far from game breaking, but they lack the level of polish found in the established leaders of the genre.