Highs of ten degrees today, showery rain forecast – the United Kingdom is hardly known for its tropical paradise credentials. The country’s definition of summer is a soggy barbeque on a damp beach, wrapped up in woolly jumpers and protected by a windbreaker. The sun is certainly an elusive figure.
Us Brits obsess about it. The weather’s the go-to topic when we meet someone new – “nice day we’re having today,” “unseasonably warm, no?” The moment the sun shows itself there’s cause for national celebration. The newspapers report on it, people start walking around half naked and the rest get enough of a taste to fly off to warmer climates for an extended session of heat.
With that context, it shouldn’t surprise you that a UK iOS developer is behind the aptly named Sunshine – Here comes the Sun!, a game all about the rejuvenating rays of Apollo.
Created by Quantum Sheep (owner of the best splash screen in the history of gaming), Sunshine sticks you in the shoes of the Sun. You’re a happy-go-lucky figure whose role is to light up the world. To do so, you use your rays as weapons. Watch out Ozone, I’m coming for you.
Threatening your warmth and happiness are Clouds (big surprise) – no, not those white fluffy ones we stare at on long summer days. It’s the dark, brooding ones which block the Sun, spreading misery through dull days and chilly temperatures.
Sunshine is essentially an on-rails shooter. The Sun, as it does in reality, moves across the world’s sky in a fixed orbit. As you’re kept on track, you’re tasked with shooting down the randomly spawning Clouds trying to make it past your gaze. The more you shoot, the more points you get – those that make it past your shots have a negative impact on your score. Also threatening your leaderboard position are innocent bystanders and nature. How convenient. You don’t want to zap the birds or trees, and doing so will earn you a slap on the wrist.
Gameplay-wise, it’s pretty standard stuff, but where Sunshine really shines is with its charm. The cheerful main character is guaranteed to make you smile. Its cartoon visuals are painfully cute and if you’re not beaming by the time you finish, you’re officially dead inside. Hear us? Dead. Inside. From the silly collectable hats the sun wears (you’ve seen everything when you’ve seen the sun wearing a fez), to the game’s uplifting soundtrack, Sunshine has a fun factor of 30. We’re not sure on a scale of what though. So, don’t ask.
With so many games focussed on pushing the boundaries of technology and realism, it’s extremely refreshing to see a game that puts its emphasis on having fun. Sunshine remembers what made games so popular in the first place: silliness, escapism and fun.
Fun in the sun if you will.