Review: Shantae: Half Genie Hero Ultimate Edition (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Review: Shantae: Half Genie Hero Ultimate Edition (Switch)

by Michael Brandse 

I am one with nature! Ploop! 

Shantae is a game with an interesting history. Originally starting as the best looking Gameboy Color game no one ever played, Shantae has been switching between being a pure platformer and being a Metroidvania type of game. With Shantae: Half Genie Hero, it seems they decided on a sort of hybrid of the two, with the primary game being a traditional platformer with some Metroidvania style backtracking thrown in to keep things fresh. In Shantae: Half Genie Hero you play as the titular Shantae, who uses magic to transform herself into a variety of forms, each form capable of exploring the environment in a particular way. For instance, the monkey form which you gain fairly early in the game lets you climb walls, enabling access to areas that are out of reach by simply jumping.  
The platforming part of the game is a bit on the basic side. You generally complete about 2-3 rooms of platforming challenges before you face off against the boss. After beating the boss and getting new powers, the game then requires you to revisit the levels, only this time to explore them more in-depth and get the required items to unlock the next stage. It’s fun, but if I have to completely honest, I preferred the more pure Metroidvania approach of the previous game, Shanta and the Pirate’s Curse. The ultimate edition of the game also comes packed with all the DLC previously released, which has you tackle all of the stages with a very specific move-set for some additional challenges.  

The art style of the game is great. It’s immediately clear from the start that a lot of care went into animating all the characters and enemies. Animations are smooth and bouncy and the 2D art looks great and clear. The environments, entirely rendered in 3D, look good as well and fit well with the 2D art.


The most charming point however are the characters and their dialogue. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s a ton of fun because of it. If there’s one problem with the game is that the game is not too kind on newcomers. If someone who has never played any of the other games played this one, a big part of the humor would probably be lost. The game really requires you to have a familiarity with the vast majority of these characters. It would have been nice to have some sort of character profiles, so that new players could familiarize themselves.
In short, Shantae: Half Genie Hero is a great game and definitely worth getting. If you are not familiar with the series however, I would recommend you play Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse first (also available on the Switch) before starting with this one.

Final score: 8.0

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