If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of the Shantae series. My playthrough of the 3DS game, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, was the first time I really got into the Metroidvania genre, as most Metroidvanias I’d previously encountered had dreary palettes or were incredibly difficult for me. The developer, WayForward, really poured tons of love into ensuring that their writing, environments, artwork and music are fun and enjoyable for players, which is something I really appreciate. Keep reading to see what I thought of the second Shantae game available on Nintendo Switch.
Shantae, her Uncle Mimic and her best friends Sky and Bolo are invited to the Half-Genie Festival, held on Paradise Island. Shantae meets several other half-genies, enjoying being able to finally be around people just like her. However, her new friends are kidnapped during a performance on their first night at the festival. Shantae resolves to uncover the mystery behind their disappearance, venturing deep underground to find secrets and acquire new powers.
Anyone who plays this game for the first time will be surprised to see the new addition of animated shorts and cutscenes, produced by Studio Trigger, who are also known for their animation work on anime such as Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia. The shorts are fully voiced, dynamic and add a layer of entertainment to a colourful, fun game.
The environments showcased in each of the game’s maps are gorgeous and varied, with secrets hidden throughout. The enemies and characters stand out and I can’t think of a single area that looked lazily done. The platforming level design that subtly guides players on where they should head next or where they may find secrets is amazingly done in my opinion, as my issue with many similar games is that they can be quite vague in guiding the player. Does this make the game easier? Sure! But I’m here for a good time, not a long time, and I think that unnecessary confusion to pad out a game is indicative of poor design.
As with all the games in this franchise, Shantae and the Seven Sirens is a platformer and Metroidvania, which means that players must unlock previously inaccessible content with items found in future area. Throughout the game, Shantae acquires fusion powers which can be activated instantaneously, as well as genie powers to help her get secrets. Defeating enemies also has a chance of netting the player collectible Monster Cards that grant boons, such as increased damage from projectiles or the inability to die in pits. Collectibles in any game really unlock the joyful part of my lizard brain, and I found myself working towards building up my collection and switching card boons out to best suit the situation I was in.
This game was super fun. It was a birthday gift from a friend, and I immediately blazed through it. Though it sported less content than its predecessor, Shantae: ½ Genie Hero, I was definitely more engaged and determined to get as close to 100% on my first playthrough. It’s a game I definitely recommend, and it’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time.
VERDICT – “Loved It”
Rating scale for games, from best to worst:
- Loved it
- Liked it
- I mean… it’s aight
- Just… don’t.
- Certified trash, burn immediately
Shantae and the Seven Sirens is available on Nintendo Switch for $29.99 USD/€27,99 EUR.