Game Reviews

Seashine – Shines, but not quite like it should

Star onStar onStar onStar offStar off
| Seashine
Seashine – Shines, but not quite like it should
| Seashine

The best part of Seashine is right at the start. You, a luminous jellyfish, are swimming along, listening to gorgeous piano notes accompany each swipe as you explore a beautiful underwater warren.

When you reach your first fish, however, the game turns from a leisurely stroll through a pretty and monochromatic world into a desperate and panicked fight for survival.

Now, the game has activated. You need to aim for sparkles of luminescence – smaller fish – which you eat to fight against the tide of the ever-depleting light (read: life) meter, and to increase your score. It becomes a race against time to find the next piece of glow-in-the-dark fish food.

And this switch results in a game whose mechanics are at odds with its aesthetic - and with the way I want to play.

Good morning Seashine

Underneath the delightful exterior, Seashine is a free to play endless action game. All the usual trimmings are here: stars to collect, upgrades to buy, and ads to watch.

Upgrades are purchased using stars, which can also be consumed on the fly to buy extra light if you're running out.

The problem, however, is that the upgrades are ludicrously expensive – that or stars are handed out far too sparingly.

Also present – and similarly unwelcome – are sharks, piranhas, and poisonous mushrooms. These all drain your light meter even more, with the sharks and piranhas giving chase and providing jump scares.

These provide an interesting horror twist on the endless action genre, but take away from the game's major strengths: the aesthetic and exploration.

It's hard to fully appreciate the glorious music and art when you've got a killer fish bearing down on you, and, more crucially, the constant pressure to find more light.

Shine on

As a piece of visual art, then, Seashine is astonishing: beautiful, enticing, and thought-provoking – at times even encouraging you to contemplate the transience of life.

But as a free to play endless action game, it's poor. Ludicrously expensive upgrades and an ill-fitting genre mean it feels like a wasted opportunity.

Seashine – Shines, but not quite like it should

Gorgeous art and music make Seashine well worth playing, but expensive upgrades, unnecessary time pressures, and a genre that's all wrong prevent it from being truly great