Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse Review

pirate-1-title

Game Title: Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse
Developer: WayForward
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: 3DS
Download: 2,315 Blocks
NA Availability: Retail | Digital Download
EU Availability: Retail | Digital Download

Ever since playing Half-Genie Hero on the PS Vita, I’ve made it my mission to review and cover the entire Shantae series, from beginning to end.  It went well and has gone by rather quickly.  I started with the last game, and then went back to the first and followers of this site should note what I have and have not reviewed by now.  But I strived and went through until the entire series was done.  At least, I can say today that it is done.

The series has had 4 games total, and 3 of those games are available for play on the Nintendo 3DS.  The original is on the Virtual Console for Game Boy Color games.  Its sequel is available via DSi Software from the 3DS eShop.  And the last of the 3DS Shantae games is not emulation, but completely native to the handheld.  On top of that, it got a widespread retail release for the first time in the series since the original game.

It’s been a long and fun road, and here is the coverage to end it until WayForward brings more down the road.  Here is my review for Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse for Nintendo 3DS!

Story

pirate-2-story

Pirate’s Curse is set mere days after the events of Risky’s Revenge.  In the aftermath of the previous adventure, Scuttle Town is under its new ownership by Armed-to-the-Teeth Ammo Baron and Shantae is struggling to push forward with her life after what happened in Risky’s Revenge.  But as Scuttle Town is struggling, it also affects the rest of the world as a long-dead Pirate King is finding new power to rise from his grave and threaten the world once again.

After being fired from her Guardian Genie position (again), Shantae teams up with Risky Boots to track down and destroy every ounce of Dark Magic on nearby islands not around Scuttle Town that is fueling the Pirate King’s resurrection in order to put a stop to it.

The storyline of Pirate’s Curse is very thorough and funny, but I do want to point out there are a lot of canonical errors.  The game takes place only days after Ammo Baron bought Scuttle Town (which you actually do during Risky’s Revenge), yet the game acts as if months have gone by, along with a lot of other things that don’t correlate with what happened in previous games, like the reason Genies aren’t in the Mortal Realm being completely different reasons between the original and Pirate’s Curse.

It’s as if they wanted to reboot the series with this game, yet keep it canon with the existing games at the same time, and it just leaves fans interested in the overall storyline confused.

Gameplay

pirate-3-gameplay

Like previous and future games of the series, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a side-scrolling platformer with puzzle and combat elements thrown into the mix.  As always, you will be exploring locations and diving through dungeons to solve puzzles and fight against enemies and bosses.  The way you access areas is slightly different, but the overall feel and genre of the game is the same across the entire series.

Pirate’s Curse does change a few things about the formula.  Magic spells no longer use up MP, but are items dropped from enemies.  So, if you were one of those people who spammed Super Pike Ball in Risky’s Revenge, you can only spam it until your inventory of Super Pike Balls runs out.  Though the biggest change is the removal of Magic Transformations for maneuvering into secret areas.  Instead, you gain items that do this, like a hat ton glide through the air or a pistol to shoot at faraway switches and enemies.

pirate-4-map

Progression has also changed slightly.  In Shantae and Risky’s Revenge, you explored the same world and went from area to area to find dungeons.  In Pirate’s Curse (and Half-Genie Hero), you talk to an NPC in Scuttle Town and you’re taken to a World Map screen, allowing you to pick an island to travel to and are transported there right away.

Once on each island, though, you have the same song and dance with exploring, solving puzzles to find dungeons, go through dungeons, beat the boss, and move onto the next island.  Though it’s also worth noting that side-quests are a lot more plentiful here.  To unlock dungeons, you will have to backtrack and give items to NPCs to get new items to give you access to areas quite often.  This is all hinted quite well for you, but just note you will be doing it a lot.

pirate-5-boss

Boss Fights have changed as well.  Bosses now have multiple phases where their patterns will change, almost as if they are 2 completely different bosses.  They also have a much bigger focus on utilizing that dungeon’s new ability to fight that dungeon’s boss rather than just learning patterns and attacking normally when you can.  They make you think a bit more than the previous 2 games do.

After going through all of this, you should spend roughly 8-9 hours on the game.  The same amount of time it’ll take to complete Half-Genie Hero.  Do note that if you plan on getting all 20 of the story-based collectibles to get the Good Ending (and canon ending that leads into HGH), it’ll be closer to 8-9 than 7-8.

Controls

Controlling the game is very similar to how it worked in the previous game, but a few things are different.  The removal of the Dance/Transformation feature and inclusion of items that are always equipped will make things a little off for those that played a lot of Risky’s Revenge.

Moving around is done with the D-Pad and/or Circle Pad.  Jumping and Attacking are still set to B and Y respectively.  The rest is a little different.  The use of items is now exclusively on the touch screen.  The L button is used for dodging and R is used for the hovering Hat item.  A is used for the pistol, and X is used to suck in items used for puzzles.

Not a hard control scheme to learn and the game tells you how to do everything.  But it’s a little different, much like how Risky’s Revenge controlled a little different from the original game.

Presentation

pirate-6-ores

Visually, Pirate’s Curse looks very much like Risky’s Revenge.  The environments are beautifully detailed, but the character models have suffered.  There is a lot more degradation and overall choppiness on the character models.  This is much more apparent in the PS4 version of the game but comparing Risky’s Revenge and Pirate’s Curse on my 2DS and it is very apparent that the character model quality has gone down, which is surprising considering the former is a Nintendo DS game and former is a Nintendo 3DS game.

The sound and music have upgraded a good bit.  Pirate’s Curse is the first Shantae game to include voice-acting, and there’s a good mix of new music thrown in.  It still retains the overall feel of the previous games’ music, but the voice-acting is definitely the spotlight of the game’s audio.

Performance, I don’t really have any complaints about.  Load Times are short.  Frame-rate never really drops while you’re playing through the game.  Like the other 3DS-compatible titles of the series, it plays very nicely.

Summary

Shantae of the Pirate’s Curse is a unique and evolved game in the series.  As with any game of the series, it does have its faults.  The story has a lot of canonical confusion and the character models look degraded from the previous games.  Despite it all, it proves to be a difficult and fun platformer for fans of the series to enjoy on their 2DS or 3DS.

8/10

Related Posts