Short Version: Do you like classic 2D Platforming games like Castlevania and Metroid? Do you like a healthy sense of humor? Do you like cute things? If your answer to each of those questions was yes, then you don’t need to read the rest of this review. This game is just what you need, and you should just buy it without a second thought. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is in essence a classic 2D platforming action adventure with some modern visual appeal, and though I encountered a few random bugs in my time with the game, they were all easily fixed by simply leaving the room I was in or resetting the level.
Long Version: We’re going to begin this review swinging, as there is no reason to pull our punches with this one. It’s too good not to. So let it be known that I like the previous Shantae game, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse more than this one. I went into great detail on That Beautiful Life about why that is, but as a synopsis, let’s just say that it has more visually appealing still-art than this game. Shantae: Half Genie Hero seems to have toned down the sexual appeal that the previous game’s still-art had, and yes that doesn’t really take away much from the overall glory of this amazing game, but it does pale in comparison in that department.
Here you can see what I mean about the change, and you can decide for yourself which you prefer:
Anywho, that’s just something small that I didn’t really fancy about the game. Some even bigger issue that I had with it, (and mind you I say bigger, but they’re really not that big) were the way in which you switched transformations. Why is it cycled through automatically instead of controlled by a button modifier? I had many instances where by I wasted magic on the a transformation by accident. It’s not the worst issue, but it can get annoying in the early goings. The other issues were related to a couple instances where by the game had some glitches. Most were visual ones. Like enemies being stuck in random places. The only one that I experienced that stopped my progress was one that had me stuck in an infinite death loop after gaining the bat ability, then jumping into the cavern below. I was however able to get pass this by resetting the stage and completing the section in the way it was meant to be completed. So as mentioned before, it wasn’t really a big issue, and to be honest I’m just picking apart the little things because I want to sort of cancel out the on coming fanboy-ism that is to follow.
Good, I’ve been critical enough. Time to let the fanboy loose!
I really do love this game… A LOT!
Shantae: Half-Gene Hero is an probably the second most enjoyable game that I’ve played this year, which wasn’t an easy task. I’ve played a lot of great games this year and somehow it has managed to beat all of them, except for one. The game is filled with so much charm and character that even the most cold hearted scrooge would crumble to its charms. It’s that good. Oh and we’re just talking about the visual appeal of the characters and the world that they inhabit. Each of the main characters you’ll come across in this Half-Genie Hero are all the regulars that fans will have interacted with in previous Shantae titles. Yes they have all been visually tailored to fit the slight change in the game’s art-style, but at their core they are the same characters. Rotty looks and acts like you’d expect, Shantae is as ditzy as ever, and OMG is Squid Baron hard to not love. The moment he makes his appearances is spectacular, and as you’d expect he breaks the fourth wall as only he can… I just wanna hug the guy.. “You keep being you SB.”
……….Cue the funky boss track!
The music that accompanies you throughout this wonderful adventure is nothing short of “majestic”… or is it “magnificent”… “lets just say its really, really, really… good.” Each track is well suited to it’s stage or setting, and they don’t seem to get overbearing no matter how many times you listen to them. The only qualm I can find in the audio department is that I wish the game was fully voiced. There are little moments in a couple segments where some characters talk, but they are so few and far between that they almost seem like a tease of what could have been.
Oh well, that not much of an issue, just a missed opportunity.
The department where the game doesn’t seem miss anything is in the gameplay department. It’s arguably perfect. Each stage, each ability, enemy placement, everything. It’s so well thought out, and complicated that I can easily forgive the rare glitch or two that I encountered in my time with the game. Each stage has multiple layers of complexities to it that are only revealed as you acquire new transformations, which have their own abilities that add even more to the complexity of what is possible in any given stage. In my time with the game I found myself returning to each stage after gaining something new, because I never knew what I’d find. This is what I find makes games like this so enjoyable.
It’s like a puzzle hidden in plain sight that is revealed the more you know.
I could easily spend all day writing even more about each and every aspect of this game that grabbed my interest, but that would just be of use to me and not you reading this. So, I’ll wrap this up nice and sweet. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is a game that I highly recommend to almost anyone. It’s simple to pickup, and complex enough to keep you interested for hours. I can think of few other games that can match it, especially at it’s $20 MSRP. If you have the money and one of the numerous platforms it’s available for then you should consider getting it.
A copy of Shantae: Half-Genie Hero was provided by XSEED GAMES for this review.