Golf games are my passion, whether they’re realistic simulations of the sport or whimsical putt-putt courses. When I learned about Joon Shining, a game that puts a unique twist on traditional golfing games, I was eager to try it out. The game’s stunning scenery, spanning various worlds, and straightforward objective make it a perfect choice for hours of challenging fun. It’s an enjoyable experience regardless of whether you prefer a leisurely pace or want to conquer the difficult levels. However, if you’re someone who easily gets frustrated or strives for perfection, be warned that Joon Shining isn’t a walk in the park.
Joon Shining follows the journey of a young magician named Joon, who embarks on an adventure to save the rare and valuable dodo birds from extinction. To achieve this goal, Joon must use magic to transport dodo eggs back to their nests in the fewest number of steps possible, using golf-like mechanics to evade obstacles, traps, and monsters along the way. As you progress through the game, you’ll travel through different worlds and themes, encountering a variety of unique obstacles. Although I found the story’s combination of elements somewhat confusing, it didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the game.
“The mechanics of Joon Shining are presented in a clear and easily understandable manner.”
The game places a strong emphasis on fostering a tranquil atmosphere, which greatly enhanced my overall experience. I found the graphics and music to be incredibly soothing and therapeutic, even during frustrating gameplay moments. However, some levels were overly cluttered, making it challenging to navigate and avoid obstacles.
Joon Shining presents stunning worlds to explore, featuring themes such as undersea realms, ancient battlefields, and the enigmatic “Celestial Void.” Each world introduces unique elements, offering diverse challenges to master and investigate. For instance, I particularly relished the gravity shift in the “Ocean Land” world when transitioning between underwater and terrestrial environments.
The mechanics of Joon Shining are presented in a clear and easily understandable manner. Similar to other arcade golf games, the objective is to determine the angle and trajectory for sending the ball — or dodo egg in this case. For this reason, the learning curve of the game is very small, and it is easy for anyone to learn how to play Joon Shining quickly.
Additionally, players can utilise different spin techniques to control the ball’s movement, such as using topspin to make it stop earlier or backspin to keep it in the air for longer. Joon Shining also features power-ups that can be found in various levels and worlds, including rings that increase the ball’s power, bubbles that propel it further, and elements that can be toggled during flight. There are also obstacles like burning objects or explosives that can be utilised to expedite travel across the map.
“At any point during the level, the player can restart and try again.”
Encountering the obstacles in this game was a refreshing departure from other games I’ve played previously. Players receive three hearts per level, which can be depleted by various traps and hindrances. Losing all three hearts results in restarting the level, while previous strokes are retained. The obstacles include fire, sharp objects, and dangerous fans, all of which can consume one of the hearts. Falling into water also results in restarting the level. In my experience, I encountered a vexing living bush that would pursue and obstruct my ball, decreasing the power of my shots and heightening the difficulty level.
I appreciated the novel challenges posed by each obstacle and the fact that they didn’t become overly repetitive as the game progressed. However, the frequency of these new obstacles meant it took more time to understand or navigate through each one and ultimately took longer to get through each level.
Fortunately, if a level proves to be difficult and the player is unable to avoid obstacles such as water or living bushes, there is a solution. At any point during the level, the player can restart and try again, which can be a helpful tactic when striving to achieve a Par or better on challenging levels. I found myself frequently using this option to improve my own personal scores.
“On occasions, I had difficulty navigating using the WASD keyboard controls”
From my perspective, this game was quite challenging. While I managed to complete the tutorial levels and score par on most holes, I found the actual levels to be much more demanding, with achieving par almost impossible. I even ended up being nearly 10 shots over par on some levels. As a result, I decided to approach each level as a unique challenge and ignore the par completely. Ultimately, I found the game to be more enjoyable when I focused on the thrill of getting from the start to the end of each level, rather than just trying to meet the par requirement.
On occasions, I had difficulty navigating using the WASD keyboard controls, resulting in errors. I sensed that my efficiency and coordination could improve if I had more controls to manage with my right hand. Nevertheless, after switching to a controller, the game’s navigation became significantly easier.
Joon Shining is a game that offers great value for money at US$ 19.99 / AU$ 29.99, providing numerous hours of entertainment. Personally, I find it to be a game that I would happily revisit whenever I need to pass time. Nonetheless, I do think that the game’s absence of multiplayer functionality is a missed opportunity, especially since multiplayer is a prominent feature in most golf games. It would be delightful to have a multiplayer edition of Joon Shining, as it would enhance the game’s overall enjoyment by enabling players to compete with friends on challenging levels and share a good laugh together.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC; code was provided by IndiEXP.