Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition Review

Bigger, better, purpler

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PlayStation 4 on

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition is also available for Xbox One and Switch

ESRB Teen rating

WayForward's fourth game in their popular 2D platforming series has a swanky new version complete with oodles of DLC. So, shampoo your hair and get ready to whip through a magical world yet again.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition screenshot 1
You better find some sunscreen, Shantae, or you'll shrivel up like a raisin!

Same great game...

Seeing as I already reviewed Shantae: Half-Genie Hero back in 2016, I won't go in-depth about the core game featured here as you can read my full Shantae: Half-Genie Hero review if you're completely unfamiliar with the game. In short, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero features familiar and highly enjoyable gameplay where you whip enemies with your hair, use magic spells, and transform into more than a dozen creatures such as a bat, mermaid, mouse, and even a tree. This is the first game in the series to not feature retro style pixelated visuals and instead opts for a cartoon quality aesthetic with some very cool 3D effects. One thing I didn't praise Half-Genie Hero enough for in my original review is its phenomenal soundtrack. It's quality stuff that'll get stuck in your head for days so if you can get your hands on the physical edition with the Risky Beats soundtrack then you definitely should.

Lost? Read our Half-Genie Hero step-by-step guide

As I was preparing for this review by playing through Half-Genie Hero again, I decided to write a guide. I broke it up by highlighting the essential steps so you can easily find your way without struggle. Therefore, if you're planning on playing this through for the first time then make sure to bookmark my complete Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Walkthrough right now!

Of course, the issues that I had with the original game remain in this Ultimate Edition, too. More specifically, you're forced to backtrack through the same areas multiple times, figuring out what to do next can be frustrating, and compared to other Shantae games, there sure isn't much challenge. All of that being said, it's still a great game that 2D action platformer fans will love.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition screenshot 2
If there were a Shantae shoot 'em up spin-off, I'd buy it!

...now with loads of DLC!

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition includes tons of DLC that basically has you play through the same stages but with different characters and costumes that dramatically change the core gameplay. Pirate Queen's Quest has you play as Risky Boots and gives you the freedom to choose which stage to tackle next as you gradually improve her abilities. This mode reminded me a great deal of the Mega Man series with its stage select and unlockable upgrades. Next, Friends to the End has you switch between Bolo, Sky, and Rottytops who each have abilities that they'll need to perform in order to progress which adds a fun puzzle dynamic. Finally, there are three Shantae costumes that feature their own campaigns and play-styles. Ninja Mode has you running and slashing through stages like Strider, Beach Mode forces you to keep applying sunscreen, and Officer Mode plays a lot like WayForward's Mighty Switch Force series.

All of this DLC adds a ton of variety to the established gameplay formula as some modes are more puzzle oriented while others are more action-packed. However, I am kind of disappointed that the DLC doesn't feature any new stages. Instead, each campaign merely has you traverse the same stages but with new mechanics. Don't get me wrong, the new campaigns are great fun and worth playing through, especially if you're a big fan. That being said, it would have been awesome to see at least a couple new environments.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition screenshot 3
Risky Boots takes yet another risk in her boots

If you still haven't played Shantae: Half-Genie Hero and you love 2D action platformers then purchasing this Ultimate Edition is a no-brainer. However, it might not be worth double-dipping for those who already have the vanilla version and its DLC.

  • + Same fantastic game that's oozing with charm, great music, and fun gameplay
  • + Includes tons of enjoyable DLC
  • + DLC features loads of gameplay variety
  • - Not worth getting if you already own Half-Genie Hero and its DLC
  • - DLC doesn't include any new stages
  • - Same issues as the vanilla version
8.3 out of 10
Gameplay video for Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition 4:45
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