This year at PAX Prime 2013 I got to play a game I’ve been looking forward to for a while – Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. Though it has much in common with the previous entries, sharing the same difficulty and puzzle solving focus, everything I experienced was also much more streamlined and sexy looking. One thing that instantly caught my attention were the creepy new shadow monsters that can cling to ceiling and fluidly jump back and forth, causing Shantae much distress if she’s not careful. Graphically, this is a nice upgrade from the graphics presented in Risky’s Revenge, most notably the giant blue lobster enemy originally from the first Shantae.
The puzzle solving was still a challenge, and I found it all too easy to get stuck. In fact, I got stuck in one area for about 5-10 minutes until I stumbled upon the solution. The 3d looks really nice in the game, and adds a lot visually to the ambiance. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse seems to have the same sense of humor and lighthearted fun as the first two games, and the controls are great. I especially liked the use of touch screen to use healing items. The demo was split into 2 sections, one a platforming section and the other a boss battle. In the first part I acquired a cool sub weapon, Risky’s Gun, and used to hit distant switches for puzzles and to snipe enemies. Shantae now has a dash move reminiscent of Super Metroid, wherein by holding run she gains speed, starts flashing, then you press Y button and she ZOOMS through enemies and destructible blocks alike with scimitar held out! It was super cool.
You don’t have access to sub weapon in the boss battle, only Shantae’s trademark hair attack. The boss in question was the Ammo Baron, riding a giant, pointy blue tank. During the battle you are confined to a small space, with a bunch of crates stacked on the left. The Ammo Baron tries ramming you, as well as firing cannonball. He will fire volleys of 3 shots, two balls which come fast and must be avoided, and one that bounces slowly. It took me a few tries to figure out that the tank cannot be hurt by her hair, but the slow cannonball CAN be deflected by it ( not sure how, haha ). Doing so knocks him out of his cannon momentarily, where you can beat the tar out of him for a few seconds. Then you rinse and repeat a few times till he goes kablooey.
All in all I was very pleased playing Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, and hope that WayForward releases it for the 3DS sometime soon!