While the first Shantae game felt a little more experimental as it worked with the mechanics that would one day become legendary, this one immediately feels very modern. It’s got a lot of the classic character illustrations from later on along with the great music tracks. It’s aged quite well as this looks and feels a lot newer than the GBC era. If you like platformers or Shantae then this is definitely one that you don’t want to miss.
The game starts with Risky attacking town once again and Shantae is unable to stop her from getting away with a magical lamp. As a result the Mayor fires her from her duties of being a protective genie of the town. It’s definitely a pretty rough day for her, but Shantae won’t let herself get down in the dumps. She still intends to save the day and to do that she will need to find 3 seals/artifacts. Her uncle won’t tell her why they are needed though. Is it possible that Shantae is actually putting the world in more danger now?
I do think the Uncle is being rather shifty with not just telling her what’s up. That would very easily put everyone on the same page and it would just make more sense. I mean, why all the secrecy right? Risky clearly knows what is going on so now the villains have an edge in information. Shantae’s other friends may not be super helpful either for the most part but she does have one useful ally. Sky is able to help her with a lot of missions here that are needed to complete the game like making a frappe.
Rottytops also makes her big debut in this game and she’s a fun character. Not exactly the most heroic one out there of course but as a zombie she is always expected to be rather unpredictable. She’s just a fun character to have around. Then you have Risky herself who is always a great villain. She really has fun mocking you if you end up losing the level which is a nice touch. The cast of characters in Shantae is fun. They’re a colorful bunch who always have a lot of energy.
I think that’s part of what has always given the series a lot of charm. Throughout the game all of the characters are bouncing with energy thanks to the exaggerated idle animations and the art style. The graphics look excellent and I’d say a big part of that is how well crafted the art style is. The soundtrack is also ahead of its time with the solid themes. The music themes have been remixed a lot over the years and they always land well.
As for the gameplay, it is greatly improved from the last one. The hair attacks have some real range now which is pretty huge. You feel like you can hit opponents without having to take a counter attack at the same time. Everything’s a lot faster. The only part you can tell hasn’t been fully finished is the dance transformations. Instead of a shortcut for each dance, you have to let the dance linger on longer for each transformation. Later games would add a button shortcut which is quicker.
As with all Shantae games, there is a good amount of strategy here as well. Each new form allows you to access new areas so it’s important to keep on back tracking to where you used to be each time to see if there are more collectibles to get. The hub world is rather large so make sure you wake up every teleporter you can. It’s not exactly instant travel but it will save you a lot of walking. There is a map but it’s definitely not the most helpful since it doesn’t show you your position on it most of the time. There’s also one point in the game where they get the directions wrong so you end up having to run around the hub world a bunch.
The main game isn’t very long. You should have it beat in 4-6 hours I’d say. In terms of replay value, you can always go back and try to get all of the collectibles and health upgrades. I believe the ending illustration also changes based on how quickly you complete the game so that’s fun as well. I wouldn’t say there is a huge amount of replay value for these things with the post game content but the game is fun so you should have a good time exploring the levels.
Unlike the first game you aren’t able to keep on rewinding and using access points. So in that respect you might expect the game to be a lot harder but I would say it’s easier either way. That’s probably why they felt that rewinding wasn’t needed. Thanks to your extended range you should be able to get through most areas without an issue. The only time you’ll be dying will be for particularly difficult platforming moments or if you’re trying to rush through an area since you’ve already been through it many times before. As long as you take your time then you’ll be good.
Around town you’ll see various side things you can do like joining the battle tower or buying upgrades at the shop. The tower’s a really good idea for earning a lot of gems. For the shop I would recommend maxing out your hair’s attack/speed since this comes in handy quite a lot. After that I guess maxing out your fire and the pike ball are good. Also you should buy the 9 pack set of health bars. Each drink completely restores all hearts so that means you can fight a boss while essentially having 10 health bars. Even with that the final boss did take me a pair of tries so this is definitely not someone to underestimate. As with most platformers the key is to figure out first how to hurt the boss and then you’ll be good from there.
Overall, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge definitely feels like the point where the series really became modern. All of my big issues from the first game were addressed here. Ultimately I would still put Half Genie Hero as the best Shantae game of course but this one holds its own. I definitely recommend checking it out if you can still get a copy from Limited Run Games or you can always go the digital option.