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Shine: Journey of Light – a pleasant and relaxing side-scroller

Pleasant side-scroller that’s more experience than game

Price: FREE ($4/£4 for full version)
Size: 563 MB
Seller: Fox and Sheep
Platform: iPhone / iPad


The thing about SHINE is that for a game, it knows it’s super easy. In fact, it has so little qualms about it, it goes to extensive lengths to avoid referring to itself as a game.

It sets itself up as the antidote to frenetic platformers and says its vision is to immerse players of all ages. And you know what, it does a great job of it. The music is atmospheric and retro space-agey, while the graphics have a hand-colored feel.

The graphics have a unique hand-drawn feel to them

It also has a premium feel – from its professional voice over to its 40 levels (fully unlocked via IAP). While it’s not difficult to traverse or complete levels, it urges you to keep an eye out as you go for little bits and pieces to enhance the experience.

The aim to SHINE is simple, pick up the glowing orbs to stay alight – and alive

Oddly enough, the game mechanics are essentially Flappy Bird, with the speed and difficulty ramped down from a 10 to a 1. You take control of a ball of light which the intro explains is used to brighten the night sky, but now, just one remains, and it needs to find the others. The answer to where they’ve all gone is answered quickly enough – it turns out they’re all underground.

The levels come with some pleasantly uplifting messages…

So, to the underworld, where you use your finger to guide the ball of light, ever so slowly, through landscapes like the woods, picking up and absorbing other balls of light along the way.

The main aim is to pick up enough light to guide the way. Veer too close to accompany vegetation or the floor, and you might lose some and risk your journey to the next level. But really, it’s that simple.

One of the few dangers – some falling rocks which trapped us until we went out

So, let’s talk a little more about the soundtrack because it really is the brightest gem in the SHINE crown. It’s been created by acclaimed film and TV composer Christian Maier and anyone can listen to it via streaming platforms and iTunes, which we sincerely encourage you to do.

It does seem a shame that so much of the beautiful artwork spends so much time in shadow

SHINE isn’t groundbreaking, and while it’ll probably experience an initial surge, we’re not sure it’ll receive a mass audience due to its nature. It’ll be an incredibly rich and rewarding experience for a certain type of iPhone user, but a bit of an unfulfilling once for regular gamers. Either way, we’d say there’s definitely at least something for everyone – and even better that it lets you start the game before paying for the rest.