REVIEW: Shutshimi

When your hero is a cigar-smoking fish with human arms and the muscles to back it up, you just know a game like Shutshimi ($1.00) is going to come after you. If Super Amazing Wagon Adventure was the modern day, hyperventilating re-telling of the Oregon Trail, then Shutshimi is the shooter equivalent of a game jacked up on steroids (come on, you know that fish is juicing), humor, and TL;DR gameplay.

Like SAWA before it, Shutshimi specializes in sample-sized servings of kinetic gameplay, served up in randomized and disparate pieces that somehow manage to form a coherent package. You’re never in the clear or in total control of your fate. Just as you settle into one style or type of weapon, the round is over and the game forces you to switch up your approach and tactics.

Everything in the the game happens in ten-second increments, and it’s more than just a unique hook or bullet point for the back of the game box. Here, that caveat makes perfect sense, stemming from the long-held belief that goldfish only had a few precious seconds of memory (they don’t; in fact, they’re quite clever). Truth be damned, though, if it makes for quick, intense firefights.

Waves end whether you shoot or kill anything, followed up by a ‘shop’ round, where you must choose from a trio of temporary powerups or powerdowns. This can range from a new weapon (shotgun, lasers, etc.), defensive items (fishbowls are life in Shutshimi, saving you from certain death) or…. er… party mode (lots of flashing lights). Either way, it doesn’t come easy, as each effect is hidden somewhere in the often-humorous description. This too, is made all the more thrilling by the short time allowed to select. ‘Read fast and choose wisely’ is the best advice.

Shutshimi - Screen

Even with the constantly-changing modifiers and loadouts, the emphasis is always on shooting and keeping the challenge dialed up. Boss fights provide that test, multi-round affairs that see you whittling away their health over a series of waves (or in one go, if you’re awesome like that), broken up by regular rounds / shop visits. The game’s difficulty options are tiered, allowing you extra lives to get your feet wet (…get it?), before throwing you into the deep end of the pool (…get it?) on the higher settings and tougher fights.

Playing on medium difficulty and above (‘Heartless’ is truly heartless), the game tracks your scoring records and saves progress towards a number of awardments and unlockables. You can don a number of fancy hats that give your fish a certain style, or open up a few other extras if you’re sufficiently skilled (….I …I am not).

That doesn’t change the fact that Shutshimi is one seriously badass fish. Sure, it’s random and all over the place, but that’s exactly what makes it fun and worthy of your time. No two gameplay sessions ever play the same. It takes a risk in throwing the ordinary shooter conventions aside, ultimately relying on its charming, schizophrenic style and challenging gameplay to win you over. And it does. This fish comes highly recommended.1


Review on Indie Gamer Chick

  1. This review is also featured at Indiepitome 

66 thoughts on “REVIEW: Shutshimi”

  1. You guys have the right idea. Avoid things like New Control Scheme, grab things like “Brand New Home”. I’ve definitely taken inverted controls to preserve a hat and/or weapon I’ve liked though. Sometimes the key is to make the negatives work for you… they only last 10 seconds after all.

    The Boomstick is shockingly effective on bosses (even the sub, who has “resistance” to it), but it requires you to play VERY risky, especially if you don’t have a fishbowl shield. But if you can get Boomstick + damage increase on a boss, it gets ugly real fast for them.

    20,000 was around my highest at one point for a long time, so I definitely believe you guys can do it.

    (sorry I keep posting new posts, I can’t “reply” to anyone but myself for some reason lol)

    1. I got the comments so they only go one level down, so you do want to reply to yourself (or whomever is the original poster). Either way, it’s all good. It moves the comment to the top, and the recent comments widget makes it easy for people to see where the latest reply is.

      Tell you what, I like the idea of the boomstick (although you guys should add a ‘broomstick’ powerup, just to mess with Soosh 😉 ), just not the close range of it. And like you said, if you don’t have a fishbowl, it’s really a tense trade-off. Good for risky players, of course. That’s the kind of depth I like, too. You want to keep a good item? You may have to sacrifice for a round or two in order to hold onto it. Smart stuff.

  2. No way, I’d never laugh at those scores. They’re both over the 9000 required to unlock the special menu item and enough that you probably beat all three bosses. It was only after 9 months of continual playtesting (and knowing like the back of my hand what every item does) that I was able to do that. I’m honored that you guys would spend that much time with our game — I know how hard it is.

    I can say that one of the features we’re working on adding is leaderboards (and I will sit out from participation, so no worries about outlandish dev score-spiking). From what I know of scores from people who play and having watched people in the past, you’d both be on them with those scores, so stand proud.

    Out of curiosity, did you have a configuration you tried to get during each play through, or did you kind of let the game dictate your playstyle with its random nature? Certain hats are much, much better to have (super saiyan, viking helmet) than others and can make a huge difference.

    1. Well, not really a configuration, but I always try to avoid the broomstick for those boss battles. And if there’s a fishbowl available I’ll take that over everything else. Plus I always try to spot the key words while reading those descriptions during the shop rounds, to avoid things like inverted control scheme or Party mode.

      And those damn monkeys, they can be such a pain. But nothing beats wearing shades during a boss battle 😀

    2. Well, thanks, that soothes the ‘wound’ of low scoring somewhat. 🙂

      Leaderboards will be welcome! I just hope enough people get on to play the game that the scores will spread out among a larger group. XBLIG is a fickle popularity contest with games, as you know.

      I didn’t really have a set configuration either. As you said, the randomness of it doesn’t really permit it. I guess I should have focused on the hats more than I did. That’ll be a tip I keep in mind for that impressive, 20,000 score run I envision…

      I did try to avoid certain items and attacks, though, like the boomstick (Broomstick, Soosh? Did your version of the game have witches and / or Quidditch1?) and inverse controls. Growth hormones and the fish bowl were items I always went for, too, as they allowed extra hits. I’m one of those ‘safety net’ types that play better knowing I have lives in reserve, while when I’m on my last fish, I get all reckless and suicidal. I’m odd like that. :/

      1. Harry Potter reference, in case anyone was confused. 
    3. Broomstick, Soosh? Did your version of the game have witches and / or Quidditch?

      Oh yes, indeed, there are witches in the game. And if you defeat them you get a cool broomstick. Gee Tim, everyone knows that.

    4. @Soosh: You know, that’s not a bad edit, actually. You could totally put that witch in the game, and it wouldn’t be out of place with the rest of Shutshimi You’re still a liar, but not bad. 🙂

      @andregurov: That’s automatically the clip that plays in my head whenever I hear ‘boomstick’. Even if somebody hasn’t seen the movie, they know that quote. Classic cinema.

    5. Ok ok, I admit, I wrote that broomstick comment before I had my second cup of coffee, so was technically still half asleep.

  3. Hey Soosh. I am indeed the soundsmith. I’m glad you enjoyed the sounds, everything is made from scratch in Famitracker. There’s a secret song I don’t think anyone has discovered yet that you need a specific combination of powerups to find… 😉 It may be a bit easier to try for once we release the 1.1 update we’re working on. We’ll do an announcement once we solidify the features we’re adding.

    My highest score was 225,786… once you get the right combination of powerups (and do your best not to lose them via randomness) you can really do some damage. That said, there are times I don’t make it past the second boss… that’s the nature of random item generation haha

    1. Always had a weakness for chiptune-like music. And, good ol’ Famitracker. Well, I never really used it, was more into ModPlug Tracker tbh. And there’s an update coming? Cool, I’ll keep my eyes open.

      I’m just wondering how long it takes to achieve a score of over 200,000. My personal best is around 10,100, which looks so pathetic compared to your scores 😀 Well, at least I can say that I most likely hold the record for the shortest game ever on Heartless, it lasted about 3 seconds 😀

    2. So, 225,786, eh? Yeah…. Yeah… you win. I got nothing. Bet you guys had a good laugh at our expense, thinking we were hot shit for hitting 13,000. 🙂

      Then again, developers and / or play-testers of a game always get ridiculously-good at it. That’s far, far beyond my capabilities. I’m with Soosh, though, looking forward to the update and any new stuff that gets added. Gives me an excuse to go back to it and try to achieve a more modest goal… like 20,000. 😎

  4. The internal dev high score at Neon Deity is over 200,000 in Normal mode… so if you guys wanted a target to shoot for, there ya go 🙂

    1. Hey, are you not the one who’s done the music for Shutshimi? Cool soundtrack, man. 😎
      And 200,000, is that legit? Hey Tim, do you think we can beat that? Yeah, I don’t think so either.

  5. You’d think I’d learn. I had (shamefully) skipped this review – I mean, it’s about goldfish! And is a shooter! That just sounds full of fail! – and then I discover it is not only HIGHLY recommended, but there are 47 comments (well, 48 now) about it. Typical Xbox indie: what appears mediocre is great, and what looks slick is generally execrable.

    Having been responsible for millions of goldfish deaths every year (as feeder fish, sadly) I owe it to all the carp I’ve sacrificed to try this game. I’m fairly certain my scores will reach nowhere near the heights of Hurley, Soosh et al., and the goldfish will have their revenge in my epic failure.

    1. Not just a fish, mind you, but a fish with human arms -and- a cigar! Guarantee you’ve never seen one like that in your travels. And yeah, you better pray for leniency after all the souls you’ve sacrificed. The ‘sharks with freaking laser beams’ will take that revenge for them. 😦

      More quirky, fun stuff. I use ‘quirky’ a lot, but it fits nicely here as well. Quick arcade-y gameplay in shooter form, and you get better the more time you put into it. That’s really all you can ask for.

  6. @Tim: Break out that little memory eraser pen of yours, Agent K, because 13,801 (Normal, 33 Waves)! Boom!

    And I’ve just sold the pen on eBay… damn… DAMN. How am I supposed to top that? sigh

    Powerful you have become, young padawan.

    Well done!

    1. You’re still the pro at the higher difficulty. ‘Heartless’ is definitely the way to go for scoring, but I just couldn’t get there without having extra lives.

    2. So, what was your score again… 13801? Ha….

      Well, I’ve got some news for you 😀
      I was not able to top it yet 😦

      Always thought I should’ve signed up for Jedi Academy instead of joining the Empire:

    3. Haha. Always loved the spot-on impersonation of ‘Cops’ in that one, from the the dialog to the speech mannerisms.

  7. I’ve been visiting and reading just not commenting due to as Tim said plate is full and honestly not playing indie games ATM. I even went so far as to delete them all off my hard drive.

    As you see I have a new name. I started my own pages here to showcase my poetry. Been spending time getting it all organized and trying to figure out how everything works here on WordPress. I have 3 poetry books in the works that I had put to the side for over 7 years but I’m back at it again. Dreams of a child trying to fulfill before I leave for the forever dream world.

    Still playing video game but with less time I chose to cut out the Indies even though my heart is still into them and I plan on getting back into them sometime soon. I still visit this site everyday and multiple times a day.

    1. Ah, I see. Far be it from me or anyone else, even videogames, to hold you back from a dream, so you’re certainly excused. I understand the feeling, as I’m living out part of a dream every time I post a review. 🙂 I admire Poetry; it’s one of the few ways us Humans can write about and (try) to make sense of the world around us. Good luck on the journey, man.

      I think the new name, now that it leads to your WordPress site, was what got it caught in Moderation. ‘First time’ comments get flagged, but you should be fine from here on out. Oh, and while the WordPress tutorials and forums are pretty excellent at answering any questions / problems you have, feel free to drop me an email if you need help in figuring out how certain things work. I’m no expert, but I do excel at ‘pushing a bunch of buttons’ and ‘clicking a lot of options’ until things work. 🙂

    2. Thanks Tim I appreciate the offer. That makes sense for the moderation thingy. Thanks for following me as well both you and Soosh…thanks guys for your support.

    3. Hey, the artist formerly known as ImTheMetalLord, nice to see you around, and welcome to WordPress. And have no fear, it’s not rocket science, it’s actually quite easy to use.

      So Poetry it is? That’s cool. Well, personally I’ve never really been into this stuff, but what do I know? 😀 But I’m willing to give it a try and will follow your blog. 🙂

    4. Poetry huh, I used to write that, I even won a 1st place medal when i was on high school. I always wanted to be a writer. Some ppl mistake poetry as romance or that sort of thing, the The Divine Comedy (Dante’s Inferno‘s inspiration) book is a complete poem, although I have not read it. Well is not never late to catch a dream, not all strippers can climb the pole with no hands, but with some effort they can reach all the way to the top. This site is like a little community, even if the game if not worth it… the review and the comments always make the day. Even if Tim choose a next gen console to review I dont own, I know will be worthwhile visiting the site. Good luck on the books Dream Poet.

    5. Definitely great to have you guys here to keep the reviews company. I’m proud of the site, but more proud to have an awesome group of readers to share it with. 😀

      Okay, enough sentimentality. A tad off-topic, and at the risk of ruining any ‘cred’ I have, but did anybody play Dante’s Inferno besides me? It wasn’t a great game, by any means, but I kinda liked it just the same. Glad I waited to rent it, but still, it was OK for what it was.

    6. I actually bought the game, and the worse version of it. Last gen I was between the PC and PSP, I get that version. I actually enjoyed, the game play was ok but the story was amazing, I even watch the animated film because I was hook with the story. I have not read the book because… well I like to read, but that book is gigantic. And the transition from Italian to Spanish or English will not have the same impact for a book based on poetry. I will love to see sequel for the other 2 parts, purgatory and heaven. I think that the game would have work better in a Telltale style of game, thats the best way to experience a story like that.

    7. The animation was pretty cool. Wow, I had completely forgotten there was a PSP version of Dante’s Inferno. I’ll bet that was a rough version. Still lament buying that system near its launch. The only really good game I have for it is Persona 3 Portable. Took a chance on the Vita, and that system has done surprisingly-well. Second time was the charm.

      Telltale doing a storyline for it could be cool. They’ve got the skill, and they’ve done a good job with The Wolf Among Us so far. The game would definitely do better to focus on story. It tried too hard to be God of War with the combat, but the surrounding atmosphere was solid. The translation would probably keep me from enjoying the long poem too, but maybe one of these days I’ll get around to it.

  8. You know what a goldfish have in common with strippers? The memory loss, you throw a stripper a dollar and she become your best friend, your goddess, 10 second later she forget all about you, unless you give her another dollar. So, after reading the review, I went to try a demo, but, I download the PC demo, I was planning to buy on PC to have it forever, but, my PC cant run it? WTF!!! I have played other XNA games, and more sophisticated games on my PC but I cant run this. I read somewhere that some ppl have the same troubles with Terraria, that even some super computers cant run it. XNA is a tricky engine let me tell you, not very good compatibility with graphics cards, glad I tried the demo first, I will get this on Xbox when i put some money on my MS account, maybe at the end of the month I have spend too much money on PC games. It got a competitive score system I can see that, is an added bonus for me. This was totally a surprise, I though this game would suck, I enjoyed the demo. As they say, XBLIG is dark and full of terrors, but it also have its pleasures.

    1. You know, I really gotta start keeping a record of all your stripper analogies. There’s some real golden nuggets of wisdom in there. 🙂

      XNA games are a tricky batch on PC. I was able to run the Chasm demo just fine, but couldn’t play Astralis or SKH Resurrection, among others. It doesn’t help that my PC is ancient, either. Like you mentioned with the compatibility issues with graphics cards, that’s really a big reason I never got into PC gaming. I much prefer putting a disc in a console and just pressing start.

      No online scores for Shutshimi if you pick it up on the 360, unless you count leaving a comment here with your score. We’re on the honor system here. 🙂

    2. Why thank you, is good to know my wisdom is well received. As for the game, and I’m not joking in this, even a computer from the 90′ should be able to play this game, so its kinda ridiculous that it not even start up. And yep, PC is a double nipple boob, it got a large around of games, mods, but system requirements can make you fall. One of my most anticipated games is Asylum, made by a argentino group name Sendscape, and I’m a bit afraid that my PC would not be able to play it. I’m not gonna upgrade either way, as long as I can play most of the indies I’m ok. And the indies are conquering the consoles, so, probably next year I will make my jump to next gen, Im quite behind in games to play in this gen.

    3. You’ve got the same problem I have then— crappy PC. I’m hoping I can upgrade to a better one sometime this year though. More so just so I can finally play some of the more prettier indie games on PC. Though with the PS4 gathering up just about every upcoming indie developer and game, there’s probably no reason to bother. The Xbox One has a good slate of games coming up too, but they’ll need to catch up to Sony as it currently stands.

  9. On iPhone this is only showing in the flippy gallery on top, not in the review list. Just letting you know sir.
    Also, now I gotta try it. Skipped earlier, feel like a bad person after seeing you praise.

    1. It’s on the main page now. I had it ‘featured’ in the slider, since it’s going to be a leaderboard game, but by doing so, that meant it didn’t show up in the feed. Should be all good now.

      I’d give it a go. Imagine Super Amazing Wagon Adventure, but underwater and less Atari-y, and that’s Shutshimi. 🙂

    2. Bah! You’ll get your duel, but it’ll have to wait til later. I get to spend the day moving heavy furniture. It’s going to be fantastic!

    3. Wrong Reply button, eh? Happens to all of us. 😀
      And no worries, I’m still stuck at 8097, your chance to catch up. Have fun with your furniture 😛

    4. Yep! Dammit, I usually catch these slip-ups, but that went the whole day without me noticing. Oh well, I’ll have to leave my error as it stands.

      I got 9398 on my third game tonight, 27 waves in on Normal, so that’s your new target. Doubt I’ll ever duplicate or top that. 🙂 Tried Heartless for a few rounds again, but I just couldn’t catch a break. I need to have that extra life as a backup!

    5. 9398? Not bad, Mr Hurley, not bad, indeed… but not good enough. 😛

      Don’t know how I’ve done it (probably luck), but I proudly present my new high score: 10081 (Heartless, 22 waves)

      I hereby request that the game should be renamed to Sooshimi 😀

    6. Wha…? How did? That’s not… I mean… …Damn. Damn. And now his avatar is rocking the dark shades, thereby proving his coolness. Well done, sir, well done. I guess this means I’ll have to step my game up even more.

      Don’t worry, that’s just all talk… probably.

      ‘Request denied’ on that name change, of course. 😉

    7. I was just lucky, didn’t even realise my score until I returned to the main menu. And my new avatar looks like a bearded version of Agent K from MiB.
      Regarding the request: I somehow expected that. Well, it was worth a try.

      PS Haven’t seen ImTheMetalLord around here in a while.

    8. I see the resemblance. So long as you don’t wave one of those flashy, memory-eraser pens in my face, we’re all good. Tried (in vain) to take down that score. Couldn’t even break 9000 again, but I’ll give it another try later on. You’ve won this round.

      As for ImTheMetalLord: I noticed. Little sad not to see his name pop up in the site notifications for awhile. He’s got a full plate of stuff to deal with, probably, not enough time to visit this corner of the internet. Releases have slowed down, too, of course, so not as much to sift through or comment on.

    9. So long as you don’t wave one of those flashy, memory-eraser pens in my face, we’re all good.

      Only if you’re able to beat my score. Not to rub it in, but I doubt I’ll ever have to do that. 😛

      On the other hand, I haven’t played it since yesterday evening, so there’s still a chance for you to catch up. I’m spending most of my spare time on my next couple of blog posts, it’s gonna be epic (well, compared to my previous ones at least).

      And I think you should try Heartless more often, that’s the mode where I get my high scores from.

    10. Damn you! I was literally THISCLOSE to making a run on that score. Had 9100 leading into the shop round, then accidentally (more like didn’t see it until I pressed the button) picked the ‘Party Time’ mod right before the boss round. Got obliterated. No high score for me. 😦

  10. Holy crap, this game is FUN. Seriously, played it for like an hour and absolutely love it.
    And although you will die a lot (like in SAWA) it never gets frustrating (unlike SAWA, which can get a bit annoying at times). And my Xbox is happy too, haven’t touched it the whole week.

    1. This man speaks the truth. And a happy Xbox means a happy home. 🙂

      Oh, and I see your point on SAWA, but I honestly didn’t mind dying in that game either. …Well, maybe a little. Certainly the fish is more forgiving.

    2. Technically, SAWA is more forgiving, you start with three dudes with four health points each, while in Shutshimi you get one or two lives, depending on the difficulty (haven’t tried Easy yet because, c’mon, that’s for pussies, mwahaha). :p

      And I even skipped my daily Roguelike session in favour of Shutshimi (swapping ASCII for 8-Bit, yay), trying to top my high score of 3512, but no luck (damn dragon). I normally play two games on Normal, followed by one or two on Heartless (and yes, Heartless is hard).

      So yeah, this game came as a nice surprise, didn’t expect it to be that good after reading your preview from last December and watching a couple of early gameplay videos on Youtube.

    3. Always, always, swap out ASCII for any-bit! 😛

      SAWA gives you more health points, but those enemies hate your very existence, while Shutshimi‘s crew just kinda want to see you dead. Except for the bosses. The dragon was / is a pain. Easy mode gives you four lives, I believe, but you don’t get to keep any hats you earn, and your score isn’t recorded in the records. Also, it ends at a certain point, meaning you’ll have to boost it up to Normal if you want to see it all.

      My high score is sitting at 7,7XX. Not issuing a challenge to you, per se, but that does sort of mean I’m better than you :p

      Oh, and the review is back on the main feed now. I’ll leave it off the slider until a few more reviews get posted. Sorry for the confusion, all.

    4. You might be right about SAWA, that game really hates you at times.
      Oh, and just had another quick game: 8097 (17 waves on Heartless). I challenge you to a duel, sir. 😛

  11. Love your violence in ten-second servings? First to respond to this comment earns a copy of Shutshimi, courtesy of the good people at Neon Deity Games.

    1. Muchas gracias. Oh and btw this review doesn’t show up on the homepage. There’s this slideshow thingy at the top of the page and right underneath that you’ve got the review for Gear Head, with Shutshimi nowhere to be seen.

    2. Yeah, that’s the downside of using the slider to feature a game; it doesn’t show up in the post feed. Not a fan of that. I’m using it to highlight the recent leaderboard additions, which Shutshimi will eventually be a part of, so hopefully people who visit the main page will see it in the slideshow and not think the site has gone dark. 🙂

    3. That’s weird, I clearly remember seeing the previous two reviews on the front page.
      Got the code, thanks again, and thanks to Neon Deity Games. Gonna kill some evil fishies now.

    4. You mean underwater birds, dragons, and cats? Then yes, you will kill plenty of them. 🙂

      ApocZ was the last game I added, and that was right around when I switched over to this new theme, so that’s probably the article you saw on the main page. If you were to go back on posts in the feed now, you wouldn’t find it. It’s definitely an odd quirk for the theme.

      Conversely, If you head over to Indiepitome, I kept the review off the slider, so it sits at the top of page, while the review for Eufloria Adventures, which I just posted yesterday, only appears in the slider. Leaves a strange gap, for sure. Given that most people find sites / reviews through search engines, it’s not much of a problem, but I agree, visually, it looks silly to anyone that checks the site on a regular basis.

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