The ID@XBOX program have allowed more studios the ability to launch their games on the Xbox platform. Garage 227 is the latest of those; hailing from Brazil, it marks the first time a Brazilian studio has launched a game on the Xbox One.
First of all, I have to make it clear… Shiny is a mess. From the introductory cut scene, I was welcomed by vigorously flashing shadows and jolting animation, whilst the premise is explained. After humans evacuate Aurora, you are left abandoned on the doomed planet. After sticking your robot hands in the electric fuse box, you essentially become Machine Jesus. With the ability of resurrection, your job is then to collect batteries and save all your buddies before the planet is left victim to the sun.
Load times are not only horrendous, but also unpredictable. Sometimes I would enter a level within 30 seconds, while other times I would be left lingering; while it appeared to have loaded, it would instead have re-entered the loading screen. Once you’re dropped into the level, the texture popping is also inconsistent, depending on the length it took to load in the first place.
I tried to let this all slide, thinking hey, Chris, maybe it’s a fantastic platformer. The short answer to that… is also no. Abe’s Odyssey was a game that caught my attention when I was growing up. With Shiny I immediately saw a resemblance, which is shocking considering Oddworld is 20 years old. It just looks bland. The level design is very simplistic. Rather than introducing new obstacles to combat, they simply change the skin colour. There’s only so many falling platforms and mechanical pipes you can handle before boredom consumes you. Garage 227 do try to mix up the different environments for Kramer to explore, with some introducing different powers ups that you can use to progress through the level. These power ups can only be used on the level you’re on, not allowing you to carry them over. So, while a little refreshing, the power ups are too few and far between throughout the game.
While Garage 227 tried to produce different aesthetics for each of the twenty levels, there are some design choices that nearly derail the game completely. Around halfway through I was greeted with a wall of lava, presumably meant to be both visually stunning and a way to camouflage the platforms ahead. Camouflaged the platforms definitely were… it was such a bright piercing contrast to everything else about Shiny, that I had to check it hadn’t left a permanent scar on my eyes or my plasma TV. Again, much like the previous flickery shadows, I let this slide, waited while it loaded… then loaded again. I want to say that Xbox Gamer Review should be thankful that I don’t have epilepsy, because once entering the next level I was ambushed by a seizure worthy light display. I just don’t know what Garage 227 were trying to achieve; you can actually see the different light elements that stayed fixed at the bottom of the screen whilst you try to progress through. It turned what was an already awful experience into a potentially traumatic one.