Publisher: WayForward Technologies
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Release Date: June 8th, 2017 – Nintendo Switch
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Wii U, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Xbox One, PC
If you happened to miss Shantae: Half-Genie Hero when it released this last holiday for most current system, you have a second chance to catch back up with a release on the Nintendo Switch. While we wait for Nintendo to bring us a platformer with a certain plumber, WayForward has tried to fill the giant void. Shantae may not be able to be a full Mario replacement, but it certainly brings us plenty of magic of its own.
While Shantae plays like a traditional 2D platformer in many aspects, it brings a twist to the genre with the titular character’s magic dances. Shantae can transform into various things, such as a bat, a monkey, an elephant, and even a tree that can shake around and provide heart restoring fruit. You’ll use those abilities to navigate through a handful of levels while facing off against some unique and entertaining bosses.
Probably the biggest disappointment is the lack of stages. The game tries to make up for this with larger, branching areas. You won’t just be visiting a stage once, you maybe going back two or three times to find everything. Not only will you find new dances that will let you explore further, you’ll unlock new powers for those dances that will allow you to access even more areas in the level. It borderlines on being a little to repetitive, but the vibrance of the levels themselves and the uniqueness of the dances and their powers keeps it mostly fresh each time you go back.
Any platformer fan will quickly be taken by Shantae from not only a gameplay standpoint, but the story and characters behind. Being a “soft-reboot” for the series, it’s a great entry for anyone jumping in for the first time. The only annoyance you’ll truly find is the game’s length, simply because you’ll be ready for more by the time you hit the end. But in that case, we’re pretty sure you’ll just come back for some more anyways.