Shantae: Half Genie Hero Ultimate Edition Review (Steam)
Does Shantae grant all your wishes?
Shantae: Half-Genie Ultimate Edition is an action platformer by WayForward. Originally released in 2016,the Ultimate Edition mixes the main original game in with all its extra additional DLC that it has accumulated over the years into one big ol package!
Shantae is a mystical genie that is charged with the duty of taking care of the entire town and making sure main street is free from any harm and any enemy that tries to take it down or attack it,be vanquished. As you are waiting for something to actually happen, something really does happen! the city is under attack and its up to Shantae to get to the bottom of it.. or is it? for the town has now hired a SECOND genie in her place.
Will Shantae be able to prove that she is genie enough to stop this threat or will the newly hired genie prove that she really is obsolete and is no longer needed?
The game play of Shantae Half Genie hero is what I would like to categorize as addicting. It might not be the most in depth platformer that I've ever played,but the amount of variety in the levels and enemies that you come up against in this game make it not only stand out,but also stands atop some of the greats out there that the industry currently has to offer. Yes,even 2 years after its original release. It's still one of the greats.
Shantae pulls you in with its charm,its story and its engaging characters who are brought to life by their easy to like humor and personality. Some of the very first characters you will meet in the game will stick with you in your mind all the way to the end credit screen. But there is a lot more to this game than what I just told you, oh yes, let's dive right into what I mean.
Most of the game requires you as Shantae to scroll left to right across the game screen and take down enemies in your path by whipping them with your hair and attack their weak points for massive damage(like giant enemy crabs). Its straight forward,however, along with environmental hazards such as cannons shooting at you and having to make tight jumps and precise movements,it can get pretty tricky.
Each level will require you to do something different and I won't give away all there is to discover in fear of ruining everything the game has to offer to newcomers,but something I'd like to touch upon is how each level can go from platforming to an on rails level. It makes the game pretty exciting.
For instance, early levels you will find yourself moving left and right,up and down moving from platform to platform,simply trying not to die and that is fun and all,its very entertaining. However that just by itself wouldn't make the game really stand out too much,that is until you get to the on rail levels that require pin point jumping and timing down conveyer belts that shantae and you must navigate through by jumping over barrels and timing jumps over cliffs,all while controlling how fast and how slow you wish to move. It can get extremely intense.
While all of that is very exciting, I feel like newcomers to this game will find one core aspect of the game rather cumbersome and that is the use of backtracking. Yes in Shantae you will have to do a lot of backtracking by going back to specific areas to complete a certain task or head back to the main street square to talk with other villagers and residents to see what you have to do next. To some people this might get tedious, but the traveling is made a lot easier and a lot less annoying by allowing you to take a flying bird to any location you wish at any given point in a blink of an eye. It's not a fix but at least its some sort of remedy to the situation.
The more you progress in the game, the more skills and abilities you will require that will aid you on your adventures and allow you to move through levels quicker,get through obstacles that you couldn't get by before or even aid you in coming up with strategies against specific boss fights that you might not have thought of beforehand. These skills come in the form of dances for Shantae. After acquiring a new dance, it will allow Shantae to stop time for a short period or even change into a specific animal that will allow new ways to move around the world.
I won't explain all of the powers in details because I like to leave my viewers of my reviews with at least some sort of mystery to solve themselves so they can get as excited or hyped up as I was. However, I will touch upon two of them for the time being and those are the dances of the crab and the dance of the monkey. The reason why I want to speak about these two real quick is because they were actually two of my favorites.
When Shantae is able to do either of these dances, which both can be acquired either by making your way through the storyline itself or by purchasing them from the in town shop using your in game currency, you will be able to transform into that specific animal. For instance when using the monkey dance, you will transform into a super cute as hell Monkey that allows Shantae to jump higher and farther than she could in her human form,thus allowing her to access areas she normally couldn't or jump out of the way of enemy bosses that you couldn't dodge before in the same manner.
With the crab dance, this will of course turn you into a..well..you know,crab!(there's a joke here somewhere,but i refrain). As a crab you will be able to bypass certain sections of levels that may have water or tunnels where there is water access. This can even be useful if you wish to stay away from tons of enemy fire above you and just want to relax and skip having to fight a horde of enemies. You can just do a dance,turn into a crab and float your way to freedom. Its cheap but effective!
The main game's story itself will run you about 6-7 hours depending on how many times you die and how much of the games side quests you wish to do,plus how much of the game you actually want to explore and experience. Which in the case of the Ulimate Edition, you will have a TON of content to play and complete, but that will be explained later in the review, so keep a look out!
There's so much that can be said about the environments in this game, but I just gotta sum it up with ''Wayforward being Wayforward''. These guys know what they're doing and they know exactly how to make games and their art style,environments look absolutely superb. Everything about the games environment,its character animations is just gorgeous and while,yes, it is a simple side scrolling platformer, I couldn't help but stop and look at the world around me and take the time to pay attention to each individual character in the game to see all their unique personalities for myself.
The music offered in Shantae is just as good. Ranging from up beat type of sound to eerie and mystical type of sound in some areas,at the end of your playthrough, I guarantee you that you will be humming at least one of these tunes in your head the next few days or even a week from now,yes,the music is that good. If you're in luck and got the physical release on console,then you already know this because you got the physical soundtrack as well, kudos and good on ya! you rock!
Since this is the Ultimate Edition, there is a damn good amount of replayability for you in this game besides all the main story content and 100% completing all that has to offer. All the extra content will easily get you another 4-5 hours max play time if you decide to venture into it and experience everything the game has to offer. Such as:
Hero Mode: In this mode all costumes and unlockables are there right from the beginning,making the game a breeze and an easy cake walk for the people who just want to play and not have to work for it. Good for casual players.
Hardcore Mode: This is the mode that most people that play this game are going to want to try and tackle. This is for people who want the most challenging part of the game and feel like dying hundreds of times just for the sake of doing so. Its the most fun mode,but also the hardest time you will have in the game by far. Worth a try!
Pirate Queen’s Quest: A New story starring the enemy,Risky Boots!
Friends to the End: You will swap between multiple characters in order to save Shantae in the nightmare realm from certain doom.
At the end of the day Shantae: Half Genie Hero Ultimate Edition is really like its name says it is,the ULTIMATE way to play this game. From its engaging game play,to its level variety,to its characters,to its sound,to its animation, there is nothing about this game that I can say is bad. The game is a pure joy to play and anyone who has STEAM/PS4/Switch and other platforms it resides on, you need to buy and play this game and give it a whirl.
you will not regret it!
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is out now!
*Review code provided by WayForward