There need to be more games about fireflies, with the often neglected insect having rarely been given the chance to shine in the gaming space. With Shiny the Firefly that’s all set to change, Madrid’s Padaone Games having chosen to port the adventure-platformer to Wii U, taking flight after an earlier release on iOS and Android by creator Stage Clear Studios.
It begins with a sorry tale, where we learn that Shiny has lost thousands of his babies after they quickly dispersed when a water sprinkler unexpectedly appeared in the garden that they were playing in. As any parent would, he quickly darts off in his quest to return them to safety – and that’s where you come in.
You’ll flutter through individual stages as you look to reunite Shiny with his children, a blue bar always indicating how many are lying hidden in each level as well as the minimum that you must fine. While explorative by design, blue dots help your efforts by showing the general direction that they lie in, with another green dot marking your end goal.
While dewdrops, hoses and water will threaten your progression through the undergrowth, the babies will only follow Shiny’s flight path when he’s lit up. Caution is necessary, however, as even though they closely stick behind you they can still meet a grizzly end if they fall foul of surrounding hazards. That Shiny’s light means that enemies will spot him more easily heightens this risk, although you can safely park them at the level’s end one by one to ease the burden.
Not everything in each stage is there to work against you, collecting floating coins filling a meter that, once full, allows to perform attacks on nearby enemies – whether that be mosquito swarms, ravenous toads, patrolling wasps or wandering centipedes. Physics-based design elements similarly works in your favour allowing you to nudge loose rocks to block pipes spouting water, or prevent incoming enemies from reaching you. You can also boost to break through crumbled rocks, and gather seeds to fling at unsuspecting critters.
It takes strategy to succeed then, especially if you want to secure yourself the three medals that you can be rewarded with at the conclusion of each level. This tasks you with collecting all coins, baby fireflies and completing the level within a specified time limit, although it’s an annoyance that there isn’t a clearer way to track your progress with two of these while actually playing the level aside from pausing all the time.
The subdued soundtrack attempts to mimic the player’s curiosity for their surroundings, although often meanders and doesn’t particularly drive or add to the experience. But it is Shiny’s animation that pleases most, the firefly’s mood shifting as he reacts to the dangers around him. Sadly environments themselves are fairly plain, and you’ll see the same assets repeatedly used throughout.
The Wii U GamePad welcomes Off-TV Play, also opening up the chance to enjoy the local co-operative play. Here, the player using either a Wii U Pro Controller or Classic Controller Pro will control Shiny, while the other wielding the GamePad can use the touch screen to hit enemies and collect coins to help. It’s more thoughtful implementation than most Wii U titles achieve, allowing two players to coordinate their efforts to succeed.
Shiny the Firefly takes steady flight on console, but, in retaining its mobile origins, remains a quick burst experience for you to repeatedly dip into over time. However, lengthier sessions reveal how little variance there is level-by-level, and risks boring the player all too often.