I’ve finally played Shantae: Half Genie Hero…
And I’ve got to say, I love it! I’m not sure if it’s because I’m coming off the heels of 2 RPGs (Dragon’s Dogma and the Trials of Mana Remake), but playing an awesome 2D platformer was so refreshing. This game kind of reminded me of the Mega Man games, which I am not good at, so I’m surprised I enjoyed it so much.
Anyways, why did I love this game? The aesthetic, while simple, is beautiful. The animations are fluid, and I thought it was cool to see all the NPCs have a little “bop” as the music plays in the hub area. In the stage select area, I didn’t need Sky, Shantae, and Wrench to be going through their animations while selecting a stage, but I’m here for it. The way everything is animated brings this game to life! The visuals, I fully believe, will not be considered “dated” for quite some time.
The gameplay is fantastic as well. Inputs were snappy and the upgrade system was much appreciated. Choosing between the strength of spells, while not unique (The Final Fantasy games immediately come to mind), was also a nice touch. I did have one issue though: I never felt the NEED to use the spells. Sure, they were useful, but I was able to power my way through most of the game barely touching them. Which brings me to another point: difficulty. As a whole, I thought the difficulty was fine, steadily ramping up between stages. At times the combat was a bit on the easy side since the game is VERY generous with healing items. The way I like to play these games, I like to defeat all the enemies as I progress, which gave me a TON of items. On some bosses, I wasn’t worried about taking damage because I had plenty of supplies to keep my health up. I suppose in the future I could impose a rule on myself to limit their use.
Healing items cannot, however, help you with platforming. I’ve played many platformers, and there were times that put my skills to the test (don’t even get me started on the tower in Tassel Town the BEFORE you defeat the boss). This brings me to the main mechanic in this game… dancing. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but the amount of obtainable transformations is crazy. In a game with this many transformations, I thought naturally, many would be useless (and if you count the transformations you get from the snake merchant, some are). But when going back through the stages to collect anything I missed, I found myself using most of the main ones. The way the stages are designed so you don’t forget any of your transformations is commendable.
At the time of this writing, I’m playing through Risky’s campaign “Pirate Queen’s Quest” and enjoying it as much as the main game. I don’t intend to go through all of the other modes right now, as my backlog is brimming with titles. I’ll potentially check those out in the future when I inevitably revisit this title. This was my first Shantae game, and it certainly won’t be my last.
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