Shantae and the Seven Sirens (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC, Mobile)

I’m a HUGE fan of the Shantae game series.  I even still have the original game on Game Boy Color, box and all!  But who is Shantae?  She’s a half-human, half-genie dancer who can magically transform into different animals to help her get past obstacles in her 2-D platforming adventures.  In her newest escapade, Shantae and her friends travel to a tropical island for a much needed vacation.  Other Half-Genies will be there, too, so Shantae is especially excited to meet more of her kind.  But shortly after she arrives, the other Half-Genies disappear.  Risky Boots, the nefarious she-pirate and Shantae’s arch-nemesis, has been snooping about the island as well.  Could she be behind all of this?  It’s up to you to find out in Shantae and the Seven Sirens.  It’s available for pretty much anything you can play a game on, but reviewed on PS4 here.

Shantae can run and jump like any 2-D heroine, and her main attack as always is whipping her purple-haired ponytail at enemies.  Foes will drop health items and money that Shantae can use at shops to purchase magic spells to help her beat more bad guys.  At certain points in the game, Shantae will learn new magic transformation spells that’ll help her travel to different areas.  In past games, Shantae would have to dance to transform, but here the changes are more streamlined and part of her move set. For instance, she can turn into a wall-climbing newt just by dashing.  But as soon as she hits the ground, she’ll be Shantae again.  Other transformations let you drill through dirt, swim, bash rocks, and double jump.  Shantae will still learn dance magic, and these new spells will let her see hidden objects, heal, or fill the room with electricity or a powerful earthquake.  Not only are these moves handy for defeating groups of enemies, they’ll also let you solve puzzles and bypass obstacles, but they do use up a bit of your magic meter.  Play control is super solid as always.

In the past two Shantae games, you would choose different areas on a map, but here the map is interconnected, kind of like a Metroid game.  It’s also similar to the first two games, which I’m happy about.  You’ll be able to explore more of the island when you learn different spells, and there are also dungeons you’ll explore like the ones in a Zelda game, except from a 2-D sidescrolling view.  In these dungeon mazes you’ll defeat enemies, find keys, solve puzzles, and defeat a boss using the new skill you learned in that dungeon.  In the last Shantae game, they experimented with 3-D backgrounds, but here they’re all 2-D and look very much like the game before it: Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse.  One new thing they added was fully animated and voiced cutscenes.  The intro was even done by Trigger, who also did another one of my favorite video game intros (Namco X Capcom).  Makes me wish there was a Shantae cartoon!  Overall it’s a heck of a lot of fun and definitely my kind of game!

There are a few minor problems hardly worth mentioning, but I will anyway.  Some may complain that the game is a little too easy.  Me personally, I’ll hardly every complain if a game is too easy.  But I sure will if it’s too hard!  As long as the game is fun, I don’t mind if it’s easy.  With that said, I did still beat the game in less than ten hours and had little to no trouble with it.  But there were a couple of platforming sections that were unusually hard, so difficulty is a bit imbalanced.  This is one of those games that’s meant to be replayed to complete faster while finding all the items, though.  The in-game map is handy, with markers for things like dungeons and save points.  But I still wish it let you put markers of your own at points of interest, as there are caves all over the place that you must come back to later to uncover their secrets.  Goals are usually pretty clear, but there were a couple of times I wasn’t quite sure what to do next.  And it’s not really a problem, but since this game is set in a different location, you don’t get to hear another cool remix of the “Burning Town” theme when you start.  Aw man!  But otherwise, this is still a fantastic game and if you enjoy titles like Wonder Boy in Monster Land or Metroid, you’ll definitely want to check it out!  It may be a bold statement for me to say, but I think I enjoy Shantae games more than many Mario titles!

Kid Factor:

Shantae and the Seven Sirens is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence and Suggestive Themes.  Shantae can hit enemies with her ponytail and magic spells, and the baddies will either explode or turn into bones when defeated.  Shantae and her friends wear some slightly revealing and skimpy outfits, too.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger gamers may need help with some of the more difficult parts.

3 Responses to “Shantae and the Seven Sirens (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC, Mobile)”

  1. I think you may have convinced me to pick this up (depending on price).

  2. One thing not mentioned here is that this was first available from Apple Arcade, so if you’re subscribed to that, you can already play it for free on any iDevice. (I don’t have one, but my kids do.)

  3. ten hours seems like the right amount to me. I’ve never played these, but this one sounds really good.

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