[Beyond PlayStation] Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition Review
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, the fourth game in the beloved series, released thanks to a very successful Kickstarter. It got some considerable expansions (Pirate Queen’s Quest and Friends to the End), that have now been packed together. Learn more in our Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition review!
You’ll be following Shantae, half-human / half-genie and full-time protector genie of Scuttle Town. She wakes up one day after having a nightmare about a greater darkness which, it seems, can only be defeated by her. Without spoiling too much, her uncle is building a machine called the Dynamo which would defend the town from any potential attack. Sheâ€™ll travel through the middle-eastern themed world gathering pieces while helping other people while proving to herself that she’s capable of defending the land from darkness.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero looks really good. The 2.5D style is very appealing, and it gives the game a very dynamic feeling. Your adventure will be full of colorful and charming environments. And then there’s the soundtrack! It does a great job at hyping you up as you take on the mix of electronic and East Asian sounds, and youâ€™ll find yourself wanting to continue running around, whipping your hair, flying, swimming and stomping through each level before facing the giant bosses at the end of every stage!
The gameplay is varied, and you have access, through your hip dance moves, to various transformation to help you solve puzzle and fight your way through wave after wave of enemies. It does feel a bit slow at first, but as you progress in the game, you’ll notice how the transformations will speed things up as you explore new areas and those you’ve already visited but that now offer you new paths to travel thanks to the transformations you’ve unlocked/purchased. For example, the monkey transformation will make you move faster and jump higher, while the elephant is stronger and can destroy heavy rocks on your path to uncover more secrets.
Each level has many things you can collect, most of which can’t be obtained during your first run through a stage. While it can be a bit tedious to repeat a level when you obtain a new transformation, I dove into it as I searched for every collectible to complete the game at 100%! You also gather gems that can be used at the local (and traveling) merchants to buy power-ups, becoming the strongest half-genie of the land! Youâ€™ll learn new powers, attack faster, teleport through levels (a power that is very useful since it greatly reduces the time spent on collecting everything), and you can sometimes even purchase new dance moves!
After completing the main storyline (which took me 8 hours at a steady pace), new challenges awaited for me, all taking places in the same land and levels, but with a new twist :
- Hero Mode : Replay the main storyline but this time you start with all your main transformations!
- Hardcore Mode : This mode is for the most skilled platformer players who love the retro-difficult-game era! I gave up before reaching the end of the first level….
- Pirate Queenâ€™s Quest : Play as the skilled and athletic pirate Risky Boots, Shantaeâ€™s nemesis, and discover the other side of the story, this game mode adds a slew of new gameplay elements.
- Friends to the End : Play as Shantaeâ€™s friends Sky, Bolo and Rottytops who have no choice but to get together and save Shantae from the darkness! It introduces a fun swapping mechanic between the 3 characters.
- Ninja Mode : What if Shantae had a ninja training? Be prepared for this fast-paced and arcade-style playthrough. Jump, dash and slash as a shadow warrior!
- Beach Mode : Shantae puts on her bikini and is ready to work on her tan! A literal race against the sun where youâ€™ll have to find sunscreen bottles or jump in the water to protect yourself from the fiery sun of Sequin.
- Officer Mode: You can activate or disable blocks to switch-up the world around you and solve puzzle through your journey to arrest every villain!
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition is a very interesting game to explore, with solid gameplay mechanics and a ton of DLC now available in a single release. I had a great time listening to the soundtrack, discovering each transformation, smiling during the funny dialogue exchanges, and hunting for every collectible. This is not a hard game to play, and once you start to obtain new transformations you’ll get into a nice rhythm that will keep you playing the game from start to finish, ready to do it again in one of the extra modes! For me, the main campaign and the Pirate Queen’s Quest are the more fun modes you can play, but with so much content to choose from, there’s certainly something in here for all players to enjoy.
This Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition review is based on a Steam copy provided by WayForward.