The Switch has seen plenty of indies find success on the platform since the console's launch back in March. Now Coatsink Studios is aiming to contribute to this by bringing 2D platformer Shu to the Switch, with the previously released Caverns of the Nightjars DLC included in a purchase.
With gameplay somewhat similar to aspects of platformers like Rayman Legends, the premise has you climbing up an ancient mountain whilst attempting to outrun the oncoming storm and rescue friends along the way. Taking Shu for a test-ride, the art style immediately stood out to us and has transitioned beautifully onto the Switch. Due to the characters being hand-drawn very little composition is lost, meaning that whilst on the go the difference is barely visible. Being swept up in the breeze as you traverse the obstacles, you’ll realise why the Switch is an ideal home for Shu. Expanding onto a large TV is nice, yet perhaps it’ll be on the move where Shu will truly shine.
Sprinting across the different terrains there is certainly a rhythm to playing Shu, which bodes extremely well when using the Joy-Cons. Rumble outputs signify the impending storm getting closer whilst adding to the tension of the scenario. Combine this with the atmospheric music, and it will be interesting to plug in headphones and get lost in the world altogether. Learning to glide efficiently around the wind-patterns is also key for progression and is something that the triggers let you ease into.
At EGX this year, Nintendo Life got the chance to play the demo and then sit down with co-Lead Designer Jonathon Wilson to discuss Shu’s port to the Switch.
Shu is still scheduled to be coming to the Switch in 2017, is this still correct?
The idea is for Switch to have it out before the end of the year. It will be digital, it will come day one with all the DLC we’ve done for it as well. So you’ll have the additional worlds, you’ll be able to invest in leaderboards, time trials just like the base package did in the original game.
Can you tell us more about the DLC called Caverns of the Nightjars, which is included with the Switch release?
Yes, weird name but yeah. That will be there from day one. You play through the game and it unlocks at the end. Purely down to the fact that, playing the game first will help because you’ll meet all the characters and learn how to use them.
Is there anything you can tell us about the content?
So the changes fundamentally are that if you’ve played the base game, you obviously always have villager sets. There is always two characters you’ll encounter in each world which give you two different abilities. So what we do is we use different combos, so in the DLC it will be the same characters you already met but you will be using a different formation. You used to have Okoro and Keela in world 2 where you wall to wall jump.
So what we do is take Lati from world one and Keela from world 2, so you now have wall jumping like a flower blooming. The difference with that is that in the world of the game they are both seen as sisters, so it was nice to marry them together. It gave us more gameplay variation to change the style of games you’re going to play through.
What was it like porting Shu to Switch as opposed to other consoles?
We tried a few things first. The Switch has more power than the Vita - so we knew that kind of thing. We also knew we wanted it to be as high of quality as we possibly could. So we took what we had from the PS4 version of the game which allowed us to optimise it a little a bit. The challenge was not getting it running because that didn't cause many problems, it was the optimisation side because obviously every platform reads things differently. The controls came down to a new method because you have docked, undocked, but it is always duel Joy-Con as well so you need the two set of face buttons to play properly.
Are there plans for Coatsink to develop more specifically for the Switch?
So as developers ourselves, it is a platform we are interested in. We wouldn’t be looking at porting other people’s games if not to learn from it. We are looking to learn from it, learn to develop for it and understand what is possible on the platform. It’s the co-op and local multiplayer side of it which seems to be the biggest sell of this device, which led to us to look at our most recent partnership with PHL - ClusterPuck99.
Wrapping up with the Switch version of Shu, are there any special features to look forward to, like HD rumble?
It does have rumble, we put that support in. Each Joy-Con can do the rumble by itself. It’s more apparent when you have the controllers in the dock; it's used mainly for power activation, a little bit of rumble when you are being chased by the Storm and menu navigation. It’s that little bit of feedback that grounds the player a little more.
A huge thanks to Jonathon Wilson and Coatsink for taking time out to chat to us and show us the game. Shu is scheduled for release before the end of the year on the Switch eShop.