Over the past 2 weeks I have been completely absorbed in the enchanting world of a game called Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. This game was released in the North American region on October 23rd 2014 for the 3DS and on December 25th that same year for the Wii U. As of this review it has yet to be released in the PAL region, but it is scheduled for release in that region on February 4th 2015 for both 3DS and Wii U, a few days from now. So what is Shantae? Well it’s a platformer developed by Wayforward Technologies, a developers known for creating other great platformers like Contra 4, A boy and his blob and Mighty Switch force, all great platforming gems, right? So there’s no way this developer can do wrong with such a pedigree below their belt? Lol well let’s get into it and find out. 😉
When I first got Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse I was actually in a bit of a pinch and to be quite frank I may have picked up this game by default. You see I can be quite an indecisive shopper when it comes to buying new games, even ones that I know that I’ll like. My indecisive nature was not helped by the fact that there was a sale going on, on both the eshop and PSN at the same time that i was trying to decide on if i should get this title. Both sales had great games, some that I probably held to a higher status than this game, but as it turned out I ended up waiting too long to decide what game to get and most of the other titles were taken down. Sorry Ryu I didn’t get Shin megami tensei IV. With all the other titles gone the only game I knew I really wanted was this game and so I got it. So yeah maybe I only got it by default, but It turns out that I’m having more fun with this one than I may have had with many of the others. I know for sure had I gotten another JRPG it would have been put on the side line, because I’m still playing a few others that I got may year ago, and I tend not to play more than 2 JRPGs at a time. What helps shantae beat that horrible faith is that it is a light hearted game that does not require too much of my concentration. I can easily pick it up and play for a few minutes, put it down for a few days and come back to it and not worry about forgetting important story details and such. It also helps that the games graphics are quite pretty.
The 3D is used nicely to emphasize key female features (I mean boobs). It also adds an artistic depth to the otherwise 2D world.
The game’s graphics are a strange mix of cute Pixar stylized art with a mix of ecchi manga style to it. This means that the characters are all designed in a beautiful way that make them pop on the 3DS screen, especially with the 3D on. With that being said I feel I should also stress that this game is pretty ecchi in appearance. It’s no Minamoto-kun Monogatari, but it does have a very appealing sexualized way of portraying the female characters. There is even a story point in a level that the developers came up with just to get all the main female characters in these very appealing Egyptian outfits.
The explanation each girl give as to why she is in that level is so bizarre that I couldn’t stop myself from face palming. This however should not spoil your interest in the game. Because it does not have a story that I would remotely consider logical or realistic. So don’t take it seriously.
There are little details like shantae’s hair getting all messy the lower her health gets. (hmm.. by that logic my health is always low)
The story of this game begins with our main character waking and going out to find her town under attack by a villain known as Ammo Baron. As you make it past his crew and eventually defeat him (he’s an easy boss) you are then told that you towns stupid mayor has actually sold the town to the baron for food, Idiot. So you’re called the villain and get put under house arrest, but that’s not gonna keep our hero from her faith for long. She is soon rescued from this horrible misfortune and sent on a great adventure to save the world from a greater evil than Ammo Baron could ever be. This adventure puts Shantae in many dangerous locations that are perfect for platforming goodness. You get your larva, Ice, desert, Zombie stages and more. In each of these locations she meets up with characters that will only be familiar to those that have played the previous Shantae games, and their interactions or how they know each other is never truly explained so if you hope to understand what the hell is going on, you’ll have to get the previous games in the series or find yourself a Wiki. The story is thankfully not too complex to hinder on progression of this game. I only got stuck a few times due to having to find a character or two that I didn’t know, but with a little back tracking to the first town I was able to find who I needed to find and progress. There were also moments while playing this game that caught me completely off guard, like a very weird moment in the beginning of the game when you meet a boss from a previous Shantae game who wants to go on vacation to see hot girls put lotion on each other… Oh and he’s a big red squid with one big arse tooth sticking out of his mouth who he gives his X-ray specs to help your progression after no girls show up. (what a perv)
Shantae and the pirate curse controls pretty well on the 3DS. It is a very responsive game that is very easy to get the hang of and the difficulty level is cleverly managed by the amount of potions you choose to carry with you into a given level. You can even choose to not level up you Shantae’s abilities that allow her to deal more damage. These abilities can be level up by use of in game currency that you collect by defeating enemies or breaking conveniently placed jars throughout each level. As you complete more levels you will gain more and more abilities that will help Shantae get to previously unreachable sections of the levels, so back tracking is highly encouraged. The new abilities also add to the platforming difficulty as they are sometimes required to be used in quick succession in some sections.
Ok that’s enough writing for me for today. I’ll just add that the music is awesome, it reminds me of Metroid/ megaman… She even dies like megman and the game is pretty well priced. If you like either of the games mentioned, Platformers, cute girls, engaging gameplay, and funny over the top stories then this game is for you. if you don’t, well hmm I’m not sure what to tell you. (momma always said if you have nothing good to say say nothing) 😉
And with that time for me to get back to playing Shantae, if you’d like to hear more about my thoughts about this game, then I suggest you listen to the Buttonsmashers podcast.