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Found 3 results

  1. Jason Clement

    Review: Shantae and the Pirate's Curse

    Developer: WayForward Publisher: WayForward Platforms: 3DS, Wii U (in December) Release Date: October 23, 2014 ESRB: E 10+ Shantae and the Pirate's Curse has been a long time coming. The debut of a new title in the series is a pretty special event, not just because they're exceptionally fun and well-made, but also because they don't come often. Having released some 12 years ago, the original was one of the very last Game Boy Color games, and arguably one of its best. It would be another 8 years before the half-genie returned in Shantae: Risky's Revenge on DSiware in 2010, and now, 4 years later, the story that began in the first game is finally coming to a close. Does it live up to the high expectations set by the first two titles and send the trilogy off in a suitably epic fashion? Yes, I'm happy to report that it absolutely does. For anyone that hasn't played a Shantae game yet, be forewarned—Shantae and the Pirate's Curse is not an ideal starting point for getting into the series for the first time, mostly because the game picks up after a major spoilerific plot twist happens at the end of Risky's Revenge. If you intend to go into the story wanting nothing spoiled, stop reading now and go play the first two, or at least Risky's Revenge. If you've already played the latter mentioned game or don't care about spoilers, read on below. The game begins with a bang, literally. Picking up on a plot point that was first developed in Risky's Revenge with one of its ancillary characters, this scenario provides for one of the most entertaining introductions I've experienced in a while. It does a great job of throwing you right into the action and reacquainting the player with Shantae's moveset, all the while kicking off the story with some major gusto. After the situation resolves to a point and things calm down, a new threat emerges; one so big that it sees Shantae having to resort to a reluctant team-up with the villainous pirate Risky Boots. The whole fiasco, as you might have guessed, involves the titular Pirate's Curse, which would see a revived Pirate Master (Risky's former superior and pirate master) threaten to take over the world. To help prevent his return, Shantae must travel to 5 different islands with the aid of Risky and her boat in order to defeat the source of dark magic in each island's Den of Evil. Pirate's Curse's gameplay continues the same action-platformer vibe with a splash of Metroidvania (i.e. heavy exploration and backtracking) that Risky's Revenge had before it, though with one notable change. Due to the events of the previous game, Shantae is no longer a half-genie with magic and thus is relegated to just using her hair and various support items to attack; that is to say, there are no dances and such to be learned this time around. Instead, Shantae will get to act a bit more like a pirate as she acquires different weapons and items of Risky's that will give her new abilities to help her progress through the game. Due to the fact that each of the islands you visit are only accessed from Risky's ship, the game does unfortunately lose some of its Metroidvania feel and instead feels a bit more linear rather than interconnected like the previous game. However, each island has its share of unique story and gameplay scenarios which really help to deter from that fact. It should be noted that at least two of the islands are very similar thematically, which I found slightly disappointing. Still, they do have very different story arcs that play out, and each island's Den of Evil is also different in look and design. Speaking of which, the level design throughout is just as sharp as ever, with plenty of clever scenarios and laybrinths that will test your mettle. None of the Dens of Evil (this game's version of dungeons) are truly that difficult to figure out when it comes to actually getting through them, but they're full of challenging platforming sections and also make great use of each area's new unique item that is acquired by Shantae. There are also interesting quests and scenarios (usually fetch quests in nature, but disguised well) that play out before Shantae will have access to a given island's Den of Evil. Though sometimes the nature of the task you need to perform isn't always entirely clear (I was stuck on one or two occasions briefly), the game generally tries to give you a hint without holding your hand at the same time. This installment in the series also keeps up the trademark off-the-wall humor, and while not every joke is necessarily hilarious, more often than not the writing is often very witty and funny. There is also some mild character development to be found with certain characters, which was great to see. The supporting cast of Bolo, Sky, Uncle Mimic, and Rottytops all return to lend a hand in some way or another, and even characters introduced in Risky's Revenge are developed upon and get some time in the spotlight. And while the story's plot about reviving the Pirate Master may be a little cliche in nature, it serves as a good conclusion to Shantae and Risky's story arc over the past two games. Of course, I have to bring up Pirate's Curse's visuals and presentation, which are, in a word, outstanding. Though it uses the same pixel art style that originated with Risky's Revenge on DSi, WayForward was able to use the 3DS's extra horsepower to give the visuals some extra oomph. Beautiful, detailed, multi-layered backgrounds and foregrounds aside, one of the most interesting new visual additions is the use of stereoscopic 3D to help character portraits appear as though they're popping out and have depth to certain areas of the body; it's a fantastic effect. The development team really went all-out to make the game look as alive as possible with its art direction. Even Shantae herself will become more ragged looking and tired as her health wears down; a small detail but one that really helps sell the experience among other things. Jake "Virt" Kaufman also once again contributes an excellent soundtrack that manages to stands out just as much as the visuals. Despite some minor flaws, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse is extremely well-made, fun, and sets the bar for quality third-party titles on 3DS eShop. Its outstanding presentation and visuals are the cherry on top to a rollicking adventure that lasts longer than previous games, clocking in at some 7-8+ hours or so by the time the credits end. If you need to know whether it's worth playing, the answer is absolutely, though make sure you play through Risky's Revenge first to get the whole story. And be sure to savor the experience while it lasts; this may not be Shantae's last handheld adventure (the upcoming Half-Genie Hero is console/PC-bound only), but it may be some time before we get another title like it again. Pros + Great visuals, use of stereoscopic 3D + Compelling level design, both within Dens of Evil and out + Most amount of content in a Shantae game yet; worth the $20 price tag + Charming writing and humor throughout Cons - Some quest objectives aren't entirely clear, may be confusing - Use of a "world map" makes it a little more linear (level design-wise) than Risky's Revenge was Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Shantae and the Pirate's Curse is one of the best eShop titles out there right now and sets the bar for quality for future third party games to follow. If you enjoy action platformers and Metroidvania titles, don't miss this. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable 3DS eShop code provided by WayForward.
  2. Next week 3DS owners will get to experience the long-awaited sequel to 2010's Shantae: Risky's Revenge with the release of WayForward's Shantae and the Pirate's Curse when it releases on the eShop. After the events of Risky's Revenge, Pirate's Curse sees Shantae teaming up with her nemesis Risky in order to save Sequin Land from a deadly curse, but whether she can trust her is another question. Players can also look forward to brand new weapons, tools, monsters, and more to experience throughout. While the game is also slated for release on Wii U, WayForward has mentioned that that specific release will come at a later point. And of course, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (which will be available on a large number of platforms) is still on the way as well though more will be announced about its release at a later point. Shantae and the Pirate's Curse sails to the 3DS eShop on October 23rd for $19.99. Source: WayForward Are you excited for this Shantae sequel?
  3. It was almost two years ago that WayForward expressed their interest in bringing the original Shantae for Game Boy Color onto the 3DS's Virtual Console service. Since then, they've remained pretty quiet about it. Thankfully, Matt Bozon of WayForward has given us an update after so long! You can view the tweet below: Hopefully it includes the GBA enhanced features and brings down the price of physical cartridges! The third game in the series, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, will also be releasing for 3DS sometime this year. Will you get Shantae when it comes onto the 3DS Virtual Console?