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 Review: Shantae and the Pirate's Curse (Wii U eShop)

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Dash
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PostReview: Shantae and the Pirate's Curse (Wii U eShop)

One Game You Shan’t(ae) Miss



           Shantae has had an interesting history. The first one came out on the GameBoy Color in 2002 to have a generally good reception, and the second one in the series, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, came out eight years later in 2010 (2011 in PAL regions) as DSiWare. The third game in the series, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, is a continuation of the previous games in the series, but did Wayforward make it live up to the acclaim of the first two games or does it fall short?


           Even though Shantae has lost her powers as a genie, she’s still determined to protect Scuttle Town in any way possible. In the case of Pirate’s Curse, this means teaming up with Risky Boots and travelling to five islands containing a Den of Evil in order to prevent the Pirate Master from gaining power once more. Some aspects of the story will be confusing to newcomers, since near the beginning the game assumes that the player has also played the first two games in the series, but this doesn’t barricade potential enjoyment. The stories of the previous games aren’t tied heavily to this game, and if you haven’t played the first two games, this aspect shouldn’t be one holding you back from playing this. The quirkiness and comical nature of the story will be sure to result in grins during some dialogue sections. The story gives the game more of an identity, and though it may not be the selling point of the game, it’s nice to see a game with a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

           Shantae is a Metroidvania, though it goes off the beaten path in some aspects. Though Shantae stays on the same island in past games, in this one she traverses multiple islands. Gems (among other things, such as items and hearts) can be found by defeating enemies and destroying pots and can be used to buy upgrades to your items, plus you can buy usable items such as food to restore health. The most basic attack is whipping her purple hair at foes to do some damage. Later on, in one of the Dens of Evil (which work similarly to how a dungeon would in The Legend of Zelda), you’ll get other items that will function both as weapons and tools to assist your progression. Typically, in order to get to a Den of Evil, you’ll have to complete some sort of task that will require you to backtrack to a previous area to find something, then come back to finish the task. You’ll use your different items to anything from glide to run super fast, and the mixing up of the unique enemies and islands continually keeps the gameplay fun and exciting.


           The replayability of Shantae is also reminiscent of other Metroidvanias, giving you something to do even after the game is over. Heart Squids are spread throughout the islands Shantae can go to, and finding four will extend your health with a new heart. Cacklebats, a deranged version of Tinkerbats, are spread out over the islands and contain a dark magic that is released after you kill them. If you find and defeat all twenty Cacklebats, you’ll even unlock a different final boss fight. Different wallpapers can be unlocked for the menu once certain requirements are met. This game also encourages speedrunning, and it’s possible to beat the game quite quickly, if you’re into speedrunning. While it only takes about 8-10 hours to beat this game the first time (depending on skill level), you can put another couple hours trying to find everything and even more time honing your skills for a speedrun.

           Some of the smaller parts of Pirate’s Curse really help everything come together. The 16-bit graphics are detailed and very nice to look at, and the comic-styled pictures of the characters that come up when talking are also very crisp and fit oddly well over the 16-bit graphics. Some of the art is recycled, but this didn’t matter too much to us. The music is also wonderful, with some very catchy tracks by Jake Kaufman that we occasionally paused the game just to listen to. Wayforward also included a lot of fanservice in this installment, which is welcomed by many. These smaller parts of the game really help the light overall mood of the game and made the experience much more enjoyable for us.


           Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a great experience that anyone with a Wii U should look into, as it is an especially well polished and captivatingly fun and charming to the very end. It may have a few minor flaws, but they are small in number and extremely easily overlooked. For $19.99, some consideration may be required, but keep in mind the replayability and sheer enjoyability of this game. Those that love Metroidvanias shouldn’t even think twice about downloading this, as Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a shining example of enjoyable and entertaining 2D platforming and action.

9.25/10


Review copy provided by Wayforward.
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Review: Shantae and the Pirate's Curse (Wii U eShop) :: Comments

Excellent Review @Dash. I'll have to pick up the 3DS version when I have a chance.
I really need to get into this series now. The bar to enter is so high with the price though. I wish I could have a demo, or a sale as I bet I would be a fan for life and end u buying the rest at full price...

Excellent review, Dash!
I'd recommend one of the first two titles first for 2 reasons: One, the price point is not as steep as Pirate's Curse, and two, you may get into Pirate's Curse better if you have a better understanding of the characters and such coming into it.
 

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