Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a continuation from the previous two games. Shantae finds herself teaming up with her rival Risky Boots in order to stop an evil pirate wraith from resurrecting. Lovable characters return as well as new ones, fleshing out what is otherwise a minimal story. That’s okay seeing as these characters are vibrant, spouting witty dialogue that for the most part is cute, clever, and charming.
The 3DS is rich with smooth controlling platformers what with the recent Shovel Knight and Mighty Gunvolt. Shantae is no different. She’s versatile with a vast array of moves and gadgets players can collect in order to better traverse the environment. It’s like Metroid for both good and bad reasons. Some puzzles are real head scratchers and the backtracking can be a pain. Yet unlike Metroid the game is fairly easy until the final dungeon. It’s not that her hair, gun, and other weapons are so destructive. It’s that her inventory can be filled with a plethora of offensive, defensive, and healing items, making any tough enemy seem trivial. That’s not to say it isn’t fun to play, but it lacks a rewarding challenge seen in the aforementioned other two games.
If there is one thing WayForward does well, it’s design. Shantae controls superbly well and her enemies are devilishly unique and display excellent animation. There aren’t a lot of pirate, or Arabian adventures out there and WayForward takes advantage of this by implementing an excellent arrangement of levels. Shantae will visit a bustling village, spooky swamps and forests, deserts, and more. Each area is vibrating with life thanks to each track that accompanies it. It’s poppy, rhythmic, sometimes haunting, and catchy as heck. It’s not a particularly long quest, but there are a few secrets to unleash after the game that this writer doesn’t want to spoil.
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a short, but fun adventure that knocks a lot of AAA console games out of the park. The animation, gameplay, music, and style far outweigh any problems. Yes it’s repetitive, fairly easy except for a few weird puzzles, and the story and dialogue is hit or miss. Complaints aside, it’s a must play for sure.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: The publisher provided a review code for the game. This article was originally published on October 27, 2014 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.