Shmups don't have to be serious and this game is proof of that. With an over the top premise and unexpected twists throughout, you'll keep swimming and shooting just to see what happens next. But enough of that, let's dive in!
Shutshimi stars a cigar smoking fish with muscular arms who is trying to recollect the story of how he defended his home from invaders. It's your job to play through his memories in order for things to make sense. However, it'll come as no surprise that nothing actually does. You'll find yourself blasting away snorkel-wearing bears, sharks with sunglasses, kitties in underwater vehicles, and an array of oddball bosses. You may also come across some obscure game references from such titles as Pig Eat Ball and Rain World. It's ridiculous, hilarious, and above all else; fun.
Amidst all of the craziness, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how simple it is to play. You basically move around and use one button to shoot. Where the gameplay makes itself stand out is in its item system. After every ten-second-long stage, you're presented with three randomly assigned items to choose from. Once you pick an item, it'll more often than not change the gameplay significantly. Items correspond to different weapons, hats for your fish to wear (some of which offer abilities), and loads of miscellaneous absurdity. You only have a limited time to pick an item and it's not clear what effect it'll have. They do come with descriptions but they're mostly convoluted so you never really know what's about to happen (unless you've memorized everything which would take quite some time). The screen could turn upside-down, an underwater thunderstorm might start, a rave can break out, but whatever happens is bound to make you smile even if it makes the next stage more difficult... that is until the novelty inevitably starts to wear thin.
After playing for a while, you'll start to get used to the insanity and you're not left with much more than that. The limited variety of enemies that you battle again and again overstays its welcome much sooner than you'd hope. At first, shooting at all the nutty creatures is enjoyable, but after you destroy your hundredth shark in shades you'll start to feel the monotony kick in. Unfortunately, there aren't many modes to keep you busy either. You can only select from three difficulty settings and challenge the bosses in a timed boss rush mode since all of the other content is superficial at best. This content includes checking off acquired hats and earned achievements as well as the ability to watch all the enemies have a party. At least the chiptune music fits the festivities.
On the plus side, Shutshimi can be played with up to four local players simultaneously. This is by far the best way to play since it adds a lot of excitement to the overall experience. Not only is it just plain fun to play with your chums, there are multiplayer-exclusive items that amplify the revelry. These include tethers that keep everyone together, the ability to bounce far away from each other upon contact, and magnetism that repels you from your pals. Also, reaching for that high score when you're working together is much easier than trying to do it solo. For these reasons, I'd say that Shutshimi is a great title for anyone looking for a crazy game to enjoy with friends.
Shutshimi may not be the best shoot 'em up, but it's certainly one of the zaniest. For those looking to have a fun albeit brief time with friends then this is definitely a worthwhile purchase. However, keep in mind that if you want a shmup to get lost in by yourself then Shutshimi might end up being too thin of an experience.
- + Large amount of items offer plenty of gameplay twists that keep things fresh
- + Hilarious use of random humour
- + Up to four players can shoot together
- - It starts to become very repetitive after the novelty wears off
- - Not enough enemy variety
- - Lack of tangible content