By Michael Fontanini / November 16th, 2020
|Title||Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut|
|Release Date||October 15th, 2020|
|Genre||Adventure, Metroidvania, Platformer|
|Platform||Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam), Xbox One, PlayStation 4|
|Age Rating||ESRB: Everyone 10+|
In Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut, half genie, Shantae, must save not just her uncle and Scuttle Town, but the entirety of Sequin Land. They are all imperiled by the pirate, Risky Boots’, evil plot! This quest will see her embark on an adventure to collect the three magic seals that Risky Boots needs to enact her diabolical plans. Along the way, Shantae will explore a number of vibrant locales, but can you help her save the day?
The gameplay in Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut will be familiar to those who like Metroidvanias, though also unique. Shantae starts off able to move around and attack with her hair. Defeated foes drop gems which can be used to buy things at the town shop, such as new magic spells and perks. They include things like a better fire spell that can shoot in three directions at once, and perks such as having items drawn to you, or making your magic gauge refill by itself. However, the most consequential abilities in this adventure will be found while exploring the world. The most important ones allow Shantae to transform into three different alternate forms using her dance move. One of them is the monkey form, which allows her to jump higher and climb walls. Watch out though! If you stay in one place on a wall for much time at all, Shantae will begin to slip down the wall. This can be rather precarious if you’re above a deadly pit. There is also the elephant, which can smash stone blocks. Each of Shantae’s alternate forms also has a sub-ability to acquire such as Monkey Bullet, which allows Shantae to launch horizontally off of the wall she is climbing on. Shantae’s three special forms are a unique twist on the idea of power-ups / upgrades.
In her journey, Shantae will find items called Magic Jams. These are a secondary currency of sorts. You’ll need some of these along with gems to buy certain items and spells in the shop. Each type of spell has three variants. For example, fire magic has the basic spell and two better versions. One fires in three directions at once for a spread attack, while the other is a flamethrower. Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut is a Metroidvania, so Shantae will need to gain new abilities and put them to the test to access new areas.
On a few occasions, Shantae will find herself sidetracked looking for silly things like a broken coffee maker and some coffee beans to help out other characters. In exchange, they help her advance in her adventure. For example, you’ll need to get a meal to access the first dungeon. Of course, when Shantae mentions the first magic seal as payment, the Squid Baron stiffs her, because there is no reason to trust her. As you move deeper into the adventure, stronger enemies begin to appear in areas you’ve previously visited, keeping Shantae on her toes a bit. Periodically, you’ll encounter special statues that you can activate, which act as warp points. You can talk to one you’ve activated to warp to any of the others that you’ve already examined.
The game is also light and fun, never taking itself too seriously. You can see that in the previously mentioned coffee maker or meal quests. The dialog is pretty well done, and the important characters all have plenty of personality, as opposed to flat dialog that doesn’t add to the experience or the world.
Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut is definitely a fun little game, but it is of course not perfect. Its issues are mostly just that it is beginning to show its age to a degree. As it is a port of an older handheld game, the graphics are very pixelated when stretched onto a TV screen. There is nothing wrong with this, unless of course you’d prefer fully remastered visuals. It doesn’t bother me at all, but then I grew up with beautiful pixel art graphics. There are several different view options and as you can see, I chose the one with the nice looking borders on the sides. One of the other options stretches the game to fill the entire screen. The map system is certainly interesting, but unfortunately not as helpful as it should be. Probably its worst flaw is that when you are in one of the game’s dungeons, there is no map at all. One other minor issue is that jumping on moving platforms feels a bit finnicky at times. The best example of this is in the coastal area when you head west from the back of Scuttle Town. This path leads out to the Mayor’s retreat.
The game’s music is pretty good and breathes a lot of extra life into the world of Sequin Land. It has a lot of flair to it, and never really gets old. The sound effects also do their job pretty well.
Overall, I quite enjoyed my time with Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut. It was a fun little Metroidvania-style adventure that took me the majority of 10 hours to complete. I collected all of the Magic Jams and got all of the abilities and perks from the shop. I had a lot of fun with the game, and it still holds up pretty well by today’s standards for the most part. The biggest flaw is probably just that it could use a better map system. You can download a copy from the Nintendo Switch eShop for $9.99. Can you put a stop to Risky Boots’ evil plot in order to save Sequin Land, Scuttle Town, and your uncle?
Review copy provided by publisher.
nintendo switchReviewShantae: Risky's Revenge - Director's CutWayForward