REVIEW: Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

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Shantae: Risky's Revenge - Director's Cut | Logo
Title Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut
Developer WayForward
Publisher WayForward
Release Date June 23, 2015 (PlayStation 4)
Genre Platformer, Action/Adventure
Platform PlayStation 4
Age Rating E10+
Official Website

(Note: This review is for the PlayStation 4 version of the game.)

For lovers of post-Symphony of the Night 2D platforming games with exploration and puzzle-solving, there’s been no shortage of games to choose from in the ‘Metroidvania’ genre. But one series that has stood above the rest has been WayForward’s Shantae, and Risky’s Revenge is no exception. With a Director’s Cut port that arrived on Steam last year, followed up by a PlayStation 4 port last month, WayForward has demonstrated that they know exactly how delivering your game to different platforms should work.

It helps that the source material is a very strong game to begin with. Shantae: Risky’s Revenge originally appeared as DSiWare for the Nintendo DS back in 2010 as the sequel to the cult classic Shantae for the Game Boy Color. Shantae is a half-genie who acts as the guardian of Scuttle Town. Her nemesis, Risky Boots, arrives on the scene to wreak havoc and steal a mysterious magic lamp from her uncle. Disappointed in Shantae’s inability to stop Risky Boots, the mayor unceremoniously fires Shantae from her position, and she has to beat Risky Boots and stop whatever she has planned with the lamp. New to the Director’s Cut version is a “Magic Mode”, which allows you to use more magic, but you take more damage in return, which makes the game more challenging. The new warp system is a welcome addition and very convenient, allowing you to get exactly where you need to go much faster.

Shantae: Risky's Revenge | Facing off Against Risky Boots

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge has a gameplay feature that I haven’t seen much of anywhere else: the ability to jump back and forth between screen layers when standing on tiles with arrows on them. You first come across this in Scuttle Town, and it takes some getting used to, but it makes areas like the Tangled Forest appear a lot larger through clever use of the background layers. The only downside to this is that a newcomer might feel a little lost trying to navigate the early game. The map in Risky’s Revenge isn’t the greatest–coming from recently playing Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, I wish they would have had a Castlevania-styled map that’s easier to read, with clearer views of corridors and exits.

During your adventure, you will have the chance to go back to town now and then to purchase magical spells from the shop. These range from fireball projectiles to rotating iron balls that wreak havoc on your enemies, as well as giving you more options to attack than just your ponytail. This really comes in handy in the middle of the game when you’re taking on the Battle Tower and need to be fast enough to beat the time limit to claim one of the relics needed to complete the game. It also helps when you’re fighting projectile-flinging enemies, like archers in the desert, and the pumpkin bomb-tossing scarecrows that you can’t easily reach by whipping your hair.

Shantae: Risky's Revenge | Surrounded by enemies!

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut supports a few different graphics options on PlayStation 4, which is nice because you don’t usually see that on a console port. You can play the game in widescreen, which makes it looks stretched out, but you can also play with borders on the sides and keep the aspect ratio intact, which makes it look better. If you really want to, you can also play it at its original resolution, but that makes the screen really tiny, so I don’t recommend it. Risky’s Revenge is a good-looking game, considering its origins on the Nintendo DS. It has well-done sprite animations, and the environments are colorful and lush.

The game sounds really good too. Risky’s Revenge’s soundtrack was done by Jake “Virt” Kaufman, who I’m a personal fan of. His music really sets the tone for the different environments, such as a calming forest theme for Tangled Forest (“Through the Trees”). But my favorite track has to be “She’s Got Moves”; it keeps me pumped as I’m taking down hordes of enemies in the Battle Tower.

Shantae: Risky's Revenge | Meeting the Ammo Baron

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut really holds up well for being a few years old, and a port of a DSiWare game. You can find Shantae: Risky’s Revenge -Director’s Cut digitally on the PlayStation Network Store, and it retails for $9.99. The game should take you around 5-6 hours to beat in one playthrough. This game should be a shining example to developers looking to port their past games onto the PlayStation 4. Well done, WayForward.

Review Score
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Review Copy Provided by Publisher

About Joe Sigadel

Joe is the reporting manager for oprainfall, he is also a broadcaster on Twitch and loves showing off many of the games we report about on his channel. He has also been known to defended Senran Kagura from those who only want to accept it at face value.