After much success with pretty much everything they do, Tencent seems to have decided not to pursue sure hits and big marketing successes, and instead brought us something innovative and very much interesting. Nishan Shaman is a beautiful game based on rhythm, and while it is quite short, something everyone seems to be complaining about, it certainly is a possible tap into this new method of gameplay building.
Nishan shaman is a free to play game, with quite the unique gameplay style. It is a little rhythm game about Chinese mythology, which feels very intimate and personal, quite unlike Tencent’s other hits.
You play as a female shaman who is set out to rescue the spirit of a little boy, who’s been taken away by mythological beasts.
The shaman, controlled by the player, must use her magical drum to protect herself against various attacks from demons and mythological creatures. Now, the player does so by taping on the screen at the moment in which he wants the defense to spring up, but since it is the beat of the drum, it is only as short as that single drum hit.
So, in order for the magical defense to be perfectly timed, you are given music, and the creatures attack you, or more accurately, pass through your barrier, only at certain points in time – the end of every songs rhythm loop. And, if you want your defense to work at that precise moment, you are to tap the screen at the exact moment indicated, which is just slightly earlier than the end of the beat loop, but you are still tapping in the rhythm of the drum.
So, this game seems to depend on your timing and sense of rhythm, as much as it does on your perception and response times.
As if the rhythm tapping game mechanic was not enough to impress everyone, this game’s visuals are simply stunning. It resembles Chinese traditional paper cut-out art style. The flow of the visuals is also quite peculiar and corresponds to the rhythm of the tapping, and together gives this game quite an impressive and unique gameplay style and feel.
Hats off to Tencent for this…shall we call it an experimental title, which is a success by anyone’s margin. Nishan Shaman doesn’t feature enough material to be played for long, but it doesn’t seem to be developed with that in mind. It presents us with a new and innovative gameplay style, which could be a gateway to something new, and it’s the usage of music and rhythm in particular in the very gameplay you experience.