Everyone's favourite hair-whipping half-genie is back for her third adventure. Although it's been around a while, you can now play it on almost every major console. So, let's see if Shantae still delivers the high quality platforming that we're used to.
Before I start, I just wanted to say that I've been a huge fan of Shantae and the Pirate's Curse since it debuted. I even featured it as #3 on my Top 10 3DS eShop Games list and it reached the top spot on my Top 10 Wii U eShop Exclusives list. Why I haven't actually reviewed it until now is a mystery to me. Well, now that I downloaded it on my PlayStation 4 and played through it yet again, I can safely say that it deserves the praise that I've been giving it. In this sequel to Risky's Revenge, Shantae is missing her magic powers. Therefore, she won't be transforming into a cute monkey this time around. However, she teams up with the unlikely Risky Boots to take down an even more sinister foe. As you progress through the campaign, you'll unlock pieces of Risky's attire that allow Shantae to perform some pretty radical moves. The controls are tighter than ever which makes the thrilling 2D platform gameplay all the more satisfying.
Shantae and the Pirate's Curse is the best looking and sounding game in the series so far. Everything comes alive with bright colours, beautiful animations, and cute character artwork. On top of this, the humour is as sharp as ever with tons of self-references, innuendos, and absurd moments. It really is a joy to play. The music is simply awesome with loads of catchy tunes that'll keep you tapping your toes. When you factor in the spot-on sound effects and bubbly character voices, your ears are in for a real treat. Speaking of voices, there are very few clips that play but they always help to flesh out the cast's personalities. Overall, this sequel looks and sounds incredible.
As I've already mentioned, you acquire a wealth of moves throughout your journey. By the end, Shantae can shoot, glide, downward thrust, dash like a madwoman, and quadruple-jump. Considering you start with only the ability to run, jump, and whip enemies with your hair; being able to string together a combination of these newfound skills just feels fantastic. On top of these, you can also purchase a few extra moves that allow you to recover from being knocked back, dash backwards to avoid enemy strikes, and perform a powerful kick. Besides learning fun new tricks, Shantae also discovers Heart Squids that increase her maximum health and Dark Magic that unlocks a better ending. Upon completing the campaign, you can play again in Pirate Mode and earn additional wallpapers. Seeing as there's so much fun to be had, you'll likely play through a few times while still discovering things that you haven't come across yet.
The Shantae series is known for being easy to get lost in and this game is no exception. Although it is enjoyable to interact with all of the characters, figuring out what to do next can quickly get on your nerves. Therefore, you'll probably have to read a guide from time to time which takes away from the fun. Luckily for you, I wrote a comprehensive guide that'll help you whenever you get stuck. Anyway, a side effect of this is that you frequently have to backtrack and that becomes repetitive fast. It isn't that big of a deal later in the game when you have an arsenal of abilities that allow you to travel faster, but it can be rather boring early on. Finally, whenever you save your progress, quit, and reload your save file, your health recovers completely. However, it doesn't recover when you just use a save point. Why do I have to quit then reload in order to get full health? This isn't a huge complaint, but it does annoy me.
Shantae and the Pirate's Curse is one of the best 2D platformers out there. Now that you can get it for almost any console, there really is no excuse for not inviting Shantae into your gaming room.
- + Incredible 2D platform gameplay with tons of fun abilities to learn and master
- + Lively and humorous presentation
- + Lengthy campaign plus great replay value
- - Figuring out where to go or what to do next can be very frustrating
- - Backtracking becomes repetitive
- - Why don't the save spots heal you?