321950_largerI have to admit, I'm a sucker for graphics. Sure, gameplay may be the most important aspect of any videogame, but you simply don't want to play with it if it looks like the back end of a dump truck.

So there I was, looking around on the internet for games to review, and out jumped Shiny the Firefly [$1.99] from Spanish outfit Stage Clear Studios, and whacked me properly in the teeth with its pixelized perfection. This game is pretty. Seriously, it's like playing a Pixar movie.

The animation of the hero himself is just gorgeous. Shiny has a multitude of facial expressions, which are beautifully realized… you'll always know exactly how Shiny is feeling. I can honestly say this is the most emotionally linked I have been to a character in a videogame in a very long time, and he's an insect for crying out loud. Every visual aspect of this game has been buffed to a level of shininess usually reserved for the rich and famous.


Right, enough about what it looks like, what's it all about? Shiny the Firefly was outside playing with his thousands of babies (he's a bit of a player) when suddenly a nasty sprinkler sprayed into life and wetly distributed Shiny's children around the garden. It's a simple yet oddly touching story, almost reminiscent of Finding Nemo, only with no fish… and thousands of babies.

Anyway, the aim of the game is to, of course, find and rescue your babies from the three (more to come) areas: Green Garden, Croak Pond and Sharp Railing. Whilst the names aren't exactly awe-inspiring, the levels themselves are well thought out and require quick thinking, excellent timing and reflexes and a good pile of grey matter to get the job done.

mzl.utlspqbvTo control Shiny, you simply tap on the screen to where you want him to fly. Shiny can land on surfaces and hide behind flowers to avoid enemies and hazards such as waterfall, and he can dash via a double tap to escape enemies, break walls and shift blocks.

To complete each level, you'll need to follow the onscreen indicators to collect your babies. Once you locate your six-legged children, you need to switch on your butt-light so that they can follow you back to the exit… but, be warned, the light also attracts enemies, so be careful when you use it.

You have a set quota of babies to collect during each stage, however collecting the minimum number won't earn as many stars, and honestly, could you live with yourself if you left even one of those little cuties behind?

To help rescue the babies, as well as his stealth abilities, Shiny can pick up seed pods and hurl them at enemies. This seed shooting comes in handy during the boss battles too, which you'll find at the end of each world.

Shiny The Firefly is, for lack of a less clichéd term, a true breath of fresh air in the App Store. The visuals are gorgeous, the environments immersive and the feeling of joy when you rescue your little tykes can only be equaled by saving all the Lemmings in the game of the same name.

I have honestly been looking for something bad to say about this game but I can't find a single thing. Even the IAP is totally fair, used simply to unlock all the levels if you can't be bothered playing all the way through, but trust me, you'll want to play it all.

Shiny The Firefly has it all – slick controls, puzzles, epic boss battles… but most of all, it has my heart. Awwww.

TouchArcade Rating

  • TheFrost

    Played this when it was released an I agree with the review... But from the second paragraph and beyond only of course.

    • MantaNZ

      There was a bit more to the first paragraph but it was a little naughty and got edited... Tee hee hee.

  • Mr. Grizzly

    Wow! Instant buy!

  • benjitek

    "...but as with sexual partners, you simply don't want to play with them if they look like the back end of a dump truck..."

    It's settled then, tech review writing isn't how the bozo who wrote this piece is going to make his fortunes... 😉

    • bigrand1

      OK, then. With this game and review, we're shown that, and also on a good note, if games can look like that on the IOS, console games are indeed dead.

      • PureRumble

        Not with this pricing model no it aint. I mean come on 2 bucks only for a game of this caliber?

        Im guessing on a console it would cost something like 40 dollars?

        As long as its like this im guessing devs will always have a good eye out for consoles as an alternative market for their hard work

        And ios gamers on the other hand wont see so many full fledged console games

        Man how do those ios game devs that dont take to consumable iaps live really, only by bread and water??? 🙁

      • Mister Bump

        Don't be silly. Maybe ten years ago! Sure, if this was on XBLA or PSN it might be $8 or $10, but $40?!? For a pretty short old school 2D shooter/puzzler? I guess you haven't owned a console for a while...

      • Headup Games

        Hi there, I am the Managing Director of Headup Games, we published Shiny and other games such as Bridge Constructor and many more, in close partnership with our development partners. You are right, the pricings of premium titles on the mobile platforms is extremly tough, but it's all about reaching a huge mass of players (which is very hard if you are a smaller company like us). So what I personally do, also this seems to be the best for any mobile developer out there: I let my friends know about a good game when I find one, word-to-mouth is really important. Another thing which I deem to be fair is to pay more often for the same game on several platforms, I have e.g. bought The Impossible Game by now on iOS, Android, and PSN, and I feel it was worth every cent.

  • http://www.rzdesign.nl/ Ricardo de Zoete

    Looking good! Going to get this as soon when I get my iPad back rom it's repair 🙂

    • PureRumble

      Aaaaaah! U broke your ipad? Blasphemous! Infidel! 😛

  • joaquin_ondamoon

    Sorry, but where's Mal Reynolds?

  • Torque2k

    First time poster here, but I felt compelled to let the editors know that Karl's reviews have been really entertaining reads! Nice to see TA kicking it up a notch or two.

    • MantaNZ

      Why thank you! Now, TA, let's talk pay rise... HAHAHA

      • MantaNZ

        Haha, first time poster makes it look like me who wrote that! I can confirm that it was not... But I am thankful for the kind words 🙂

      • Torque2k

        You got my PayPal account info, right? Wait, is this the public forum? Well, call me later, anyway.

      • http://www.polygame.co.nz/ Karl Burnett


  • Bruno Del Frate

    The presentation is awesome, the design is excellent, but I don't like the controls. That firefly is too slow, IMHO. I keep using those little speed bursts, but the cooldown time makes them frustrating to use.
    I feel that the game would be much better with swipe controls, or a virtual joypad.

  • http://www.nx8.name/ nx8

    How good this article is! I like it. I will share with my
    friends. I hope that many people also have hobby the same as me.

  • Robert Cummings

    Really cool review, going to check it out 🙂

  • johnny.90210

    This game sucks, touch control like ******!

  • http://kizi-yepi.kizi2.com/ kiziyepi

    I really hope to" Shinny the firefly " will come soon in Vietnam . I
    watched this introduced video , it's so interesting and attractive to players.
    Thanks so mu

Shiny The Firefly Reviewed by Karl Burnett on . Rating: 4.5