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Shing! dev diary reveals how the 2D beat-'em-up trades buttons for analog sticks

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A new dev diary for the side-scrolling beat-em-up Shing! (opens in new tab) explores how the developers are working to modernize and expand the genre, without making it overly difficult for newcomers to pick up and play. Developer Mass Creation also revealed the release date today, announcing that the game will be out on August 28.

What makes Shing! stand out from other games of similar style is that it eschews buttons in favor of a two-stick scheme: The left analog stick moves your character, while the right performs attacks. There are also no preset combos—you simply string moves together based on stick movements instead. Characters can be swapped on the fly too.

The approach to Shing!'s visual style is very interesting too, as the developers have put a priority on clarity over attempting to emulate a 3D look in a 2D space. Characters move up and down on the screen as well as left and right, but their size doesn't change to reflect distance and perspective, and attacks that aren't quite in line will automatically "snap" to the target. 

The goal is to allow visual complexity without sacrificing clarity: Even though Shing! isn't limited by 2D sprites as beat-em-ups used to be, doing it this way "makes the action way easier to read," game director Grzegorz Kurek explains in the video. 

Shing! supports solo play, as well as local and online co-op for up to four. It's available for wishlisting on Steam, and you can find out more at mass-creation.com (opens in new tab).

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.