[Review] Shantae: Risky’s Revenge Director’s Cut – Nintendo Switch

Written by Mel Curtis
  • Developer: Wayforward
  • Publisher: Wayforward
  • Release date: 15/10/2020
  • Price: £7.59 / $9.99
  • Review code provided by Wayforward

Introducing Shantae: Risky’s Revenge Switch Review

Shantae is one of those series that I had heard a lot of good things about, but for a variety of reasons had never gotten around to playing until I got my Switch. That was when I grabbed myself a download of Half Genie Hero, captivated by the adorable looking art style of the game. I never actually got around to finishing it since there was a bunch of other stuff that I was also trying out at the time. However, the opportunity to try out the director’s cut of one of the earlier games in the series was absolutely something that I could not pass up. 

Back to Sequinland!

Risky’s Revenge starts out with Shantae dealing with a small handful of enemies on the beach and commenting on how much work it is being the half-genie protector of the town. Once that matter is dealt with, she attends the unveiling of a relic only to find that it’s… an oil lamp? No, I expected that this lamp would wreak some sort of havoc but there wasn’t time for that to happen because Risky Boots shows up instead and snatches up the lamp. Now the race is on to find the 3 seals before she can!

It’s a simple story to get things going and that’s really all that it needs to be. The point is more about getting you moving and goal to work towards more than anything else. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the fact that there are some real stakes in the end and lasting consequences for the narrative is something that I really appreciate. The writing is a lot of fun. There’s lots of little jokes littered around and most of them land really well. There are moments with this wonderful underlying snark that were right up my alley. 

Feel the Rhythm

Your journey through Sequinland will take you to a wide variety of locations and nearly all of them are a joy to journey through! The platforming feels tight and while some situations may not allow your attacks to be as precise as possible, these situations are rare and usually do not last very long. That being said, the map can be frustrating at times. There was one point where I was wandering back and forth in a labyrinth for a solid ten minutes because I hadn’t destroyed a specific block and jumped into the area above it which wasn’t visually clear to be where I was meant to go. The map is usually pretty good at directing you, but there are a few moments where it fails to do so.

More frustrating, though, is the way that the map in some places is layered. At first, this is visually interesting and makes the world feel more dense and interesting. It’s even understandable that there are only certain places where you can move between the layers, but it is annoying that you can only move in one direction on each of these places. It makes things just a touch more unwieldy than they need to be. However, it’s my understanding that in this director’s cut of the game, the warp point system was adjusted. A quick google about what it used to be like has me excited for that.

Risky’s Revenge isn’t a very lengthy game. If you know what you’re doing, I’m pretty sure the game could be completed in just one sitting and it took a complete novice like me only two decent sized sittings to get through. There is however a way to expand the game once you finish for those who are interested in a challenge. Beating the game unlocks a mode in which you’re in an alternate costume that leaves you more vulnerable to damage in trade for having the ability to use magic more. It’s a really fun challenge, but I know it’s going to take me quite a while to get through.

Shimmy Shimmy

This game takes us back into pixel graphics for Shantae, but that’s not at all a problem. In fact, everything looks extraordinary! The colors are bright and vibrant, with everything having this beautiful poppy look about it. The animation that each character has is wonderful too. It’s exceptionally and lovingly crafted, full of the life and bounce that you would want from such a colorful game. I found myself eager to get to a new place just so I could see the new enemies there. Additionally, the artwork for the dialog segments is just as beautiful, showing off the characters in all their glory and personality.

The music was an absolute joy as well. It always suited each of the areas that you’re in and had me humming along whenever I would be in once place for an extended period of time. However, I can’t say it’s quite as good as the visuals since it hasn’t entirely stuck with me. It’s one of those things where I loved it in the moment, but it’s not liable to stick with me in the long term.

A Touch of Magic

No matter where or how you play, this game is going to run perfectly fine. However, we have the novelty of getting multiple display settings! By default the game will be in a 4:3 aspect ratio with a boarder on the sides. Going into the settings you have the option to remove the boarder, which is isn’t that much of a change, or play with the game filling the screen. Playing with a full screen is a nice option, but I doubt that anyone will play this way. Everything ends up getting stretched out and it honestly looks like when you could fill out the screen of your Gameboy Advance with a Gameboy Color game. The last option is to play the game “original”. The first time I went over to that, I giggled. It takes the screen and shrinks it down to the size of the DS screen that you would have played it on at first release, adorable!

My Half-Genie Hero

I’m going to go back to plugging away at the challenge mode for now, but I will say that this game got me hooked on Shantae in a way that I didn’t get back when I tried out Half-Genie Hero. If you’re interested in jumping into the series, I have to say that this might be one of the best places to begin!

Pros

  • Brilliant Art
  • Tight platforming
  • Creative bosses

Cons

  • Mild issues with the map

Verdict

A perfect place to jump into this series on the Switch!

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