Shining Tears is an old-school action RPG set in the Shining universe (previous games include Shining in the Darkness and the Shining Force trilogy). You play as Xion, a hero who is drawn into saving the City of Shilidia from a formerly peaceful neighbor due to his possession of the powerful Twin Dragon Rings. This sets the stage for an epic RPG storyline with varied characters and some surprises.
The game is presented using hand-drawn 2D graphics and backgrounds. For battles the players may choose from 8 unlockable companions, each with their own unique powers, strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, the co-op system lets two players cooperate in battles, pulling off special combo moves and leveling up their characters together. The companion you pick changes Xion to the opposite 'soul', dark or light, due to the nature of the Twin Dragon Rings, with correspondingly different powers. In single-player mode the player has their companion AI to help them out of tight spots.