Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, a game created by WayForward, is the third instalment in the belly dancing, half genie’s series. Shantae has been around since 2002, where you could find her in her first game on the Game Boy. Although, the series has frequently found itself being console exclusive, the audiences have enjoyed it with such vigor that Shantae has been able to fulfil their wish and dance her way on to other platforms.
The game is a classic 2D side-scroller, a style that is not so popular any more, yet always feels familiar. Also classified as a Metroidvania platformer, this game is injected with fun puzzles and action, which is brought together by an enjoyable story and cast of characters. You will spend time with Shantae for about 10 hours, if you make it through the whole game, but she is great company, so it is time well spent. The premise of the story is Shantae, who is half genie, has been stripped of her magic and resides in a Scuttle Town, after she has taken the role of being the town’s guardian. After this town comes under attack, the population are depending on Shantae to save them, and she does not want to let them down. However, whilst Shantae has her hair, which allows her to be on the offensive, she must strike a deal with Risky Boots, her enemy, to save her town.
Throughout the game, Shantae visits six islands, which all bring a change in pace and scenery. The difference in enemies and environments keeps the game from losing its momentum, even as you run back and forth over the islands to solve puzzles. Talking to the locals is enjoyable, as they all add their own little spark to the story, but constantly having to go back on yourself to solve a puzzle, all while fighting enemies you feel like you just fought, can be discouraging at times. However, the game is rewarding so your efforts are not in vain.
Each island has a piece of ‘pirate gear’ you must utilise to progress through the island, which makes the game feel more varied too. During her time on each island, Shantae has to fight through a dungeon, which provides a small challenge. You practice fighting and using Shantae’s pirate gear throughout the island, enough that you will feel ready to face whatever the island’s boss throws at you.
This series is known for its art style, and Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse does not let the series down. Whenever an important character speaks, they stand in the foreground, so you can see their expressions and speech boxes in HD. This engages the player more, allowing them to distinguish which character is which, so this is common practice in older video games. Each character is drawn brilliantly, each having their own style, although they all have their own magical side. Shantae even changes outfits in the first 2 minutes, making the game feel more realistic then most. The scenes and levels are all appealing; as soon as you start the game, you can see the artists worked hard to bring an aesthetically pleasing game to life. The music is light and funky, but remains in the background, choosing to set a tone over dominating the scenes.
Overall, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a welcome addition to the series. It is charming and fun, and continues on a road that fans want to be on. Although, the series has not differed much between the last game and this one, the game is worth buying, both if you are a long time fan, or someone who just wants a fun game to pass the time.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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