Shuggy is a busy bat going about his daily life. By an unfortunate twist of fate, one of his relatives has passed on and left him a large disused mansion as an inheritance. Shuggy decides that it is worth the journey into the countryside to check it out, and so his downward spiral into the dangerous depths of his new home begins.
Adventures of Shuggy is a puzzle/platformer with the heart of a casual game. Its pacing and difficulty level is at about that of bejeweled. If that pleases your sensibilities, then I would recommend this game very much to you. If you are a hardcore platforming fan with Super Meat Boy parkour reflexes, just listen to me for a second before clicking away. I had a lot of fun with this one, even though I really loves me some frantic platforming.
This game brings together a lot of elements that you might find in other games, but it does so in an endearing and clever way. Your goal is always to collect all of the gems in any particular level to obtain a key which unlocks two or three more levels. Shuggy starts out the game with a simple walking and jumping level, introducing newbies to the very concept of platforming, then a few mechanics swiftly become available to you in each succeeding level. Now, there is no character progression in Shuggy, he doesn’t aquire new skills for keepsies. Each mechanic or new ability is bound to the particular level that it is featured in. That is, once you enter an area that uses level-rotation in order to solve the level, your action button is bound to that role, and once you have left that area, you are plain old Shuggy once again.
The boss battles are a little disappointing. There is nothing grandiose about them, they are easily predictable, and they are oft times too easily beaten. I know I’m going on about how the casualness of this game is one of its charms, but I feel as if level bosses should be a challenge no matter what game you are playing. At the very least they should be harder than the levels leading up to them, and they are just not up to par.
There are a few overarching areas that Shuggy must travel through in order to bring order to the old house with their share of specific mechanics in each: This clever bat can use the aforementioned level-rotation ability, in which you use the action key to turn the entire playfield to access previously inaccessible platforms and gems; He can make use of temporal ghosts of himself which mimic what he has done in the past few seconds (these are mostly switch puzzles); He can get help from AI-controlled friends in order to progress through certain gauntlets; Shuggy might herd Shmus, which are little blobs of nervousness and jump whenever they are touched, in order to unlock cages that gems are set inside of; He can even use a tethered ninja rope to swing and rappel through certain levels.
Now, having all of these mechanics only available to you when doing specific levels is a bit like having to walk into your living room to be able to sing or into the foyer to use a wrench. It doesn’t make a whole lot of logical sense, but this is a big old house with its share of secrets and mysteries after all. Character progression is not what Adventures of Shuggy is about, nor is it about flashy, difficult, or speedy gameplay. It is simply a cute romp through a dilapidated mansion on a quest to return it to habitability.
I would recommend this game mostly to casual gamers who are tired of match-3 games but still want their quick coffee-break gaming fix. I would also recommend this game to people who don’t see platformers as a challenge to their manhood, to those who can sit back and enjoy jumping around in fun little arenas collecting gems.
Adventures of Shuggy is available on XBLA and Steam for 800 points and $9.99 USD, respectively.