Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

The Shantae game series has always been one of my favorites, ever since the original on Game Boy Color (which I still have).  The newest game in the series, ½ Genie Hero, came out last year, and now you can get the Ultimate Edition which includes all the previous DLC plus some new surprises.  It’s available for all the current home consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

Shantae is a half human, half genie dancer girl who protects her town and her friends from the evil lady pirate Risky Boots.  She does this in 2-D platforming game fashion and attacks enemies with her ponytail hair and with magic.  In most games, including this one, she can dance to turn into different animals, like a climbing monkey or a charging elephant, to help her bypass obstacles.

The Ultimate Edition of ½ Genie Hero includes the full game plus all the DLC.  You can play Shantae’s game with her in different outfits, some of which give her new skills.  You can also play it in new difficulty modes, too.  There are also some new modes as well.  One of which lets you play as Risky Boots in her own version of the story.  She attacks with a sword and shoots long distance switches with a gun.  She gets other skills later, like being able to glide down with her pirate hat.  This mode reminded me of how you play in Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse.

Another mode lets you play as Shantae’s friends: Bolo, Rottytops, and Skye.  You switch between them to use their skills to solve puzzles.  Bolo can smash rocks and grapple hooks.  Zombie girl Rottytops can throw her head and reappear where it lands.  Skye uses birds to make platforms, perform long distance attacks, and glide down after a jump.  I found this mode a little more annoying and fiddly than anything.

Shantae: ½ Genie Hero is a GREAT game, but it’s not my favorite in the series.  It’s a bit more linear than past entries, and I preferred the more Metroid style of exploration those earlier games had.  In some ways, ½ Genie Hero’s stages reminded me of Mega Man, which isn’t always a bad thing.  Also, I’m a little annoyed that I bought ½ Genie Hero a little over a year ago, and now they’re releasing it again with all the DLC.  But I guess that’s the way games are now.  But the new modes didn’t compel me to play through the same game again in different ways.  At any rate, if you haven’t played ½ Genie Hero yet, the Ultimate Edition is the one to get!

Kid Factor:

Shantae: ½ Genie Hero is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Cartoon Violence and Suggestive Themes.  You attack cartoony enemies with things like a ponytail and silly guns and magic.  Female characters do wear skimpy outfits from time to time, but if your kids are accustomed to these things found in anime cartoons, they’ll be fine here, too.  Reading is helpful for the text, and younger gamers may need help with the more challenging stages.

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