Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition (Nintendo Switch) Review

Game Title: Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition
Developer: WayForward
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail | Digital Download
Battery Life: 4-5 hours
Download: 2.7 GB

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero has become a game that this site has returned to a lot. First, I reviewed it on the Vita. Then, on the Switch. Then it got 2 DLC Story Expansions that I came back for two DLC reviews. And now, with the Ultimate Edition releasing, I find myself coming back to this game for the 5th and likely final time for another stroll through Sequin Land to save the world as everyone’s favorite Half-Genie, Half-Human, Shantae.

So, with Ultimate Edition, we’re getting a physical release of the game, but it’s also releasing digitally. Packed with all of the content Half-Genie Hero is going to get, here is my review of Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition for the Nintendo Switch!

Story

Story is something a bit more expanded in the Ultimate Edition than previously, mostly because we now have 6 different Game Modes, each with their own little story arc to them.

Half-Genie Hero’s story is about Shantae being called upon to save Sequin Land when her old nemesis, Risky Boots, attacks Scuttle Town and sets off on a new quest to rule the world. This is the story HGH players have seen twice now on handhelds. It’s a good and funny story, despite having a lot of canonical inconsistencies from past games of the series.

Then, there are the DLC Expansions, most of which are “What If” scenarios. The 1st DLC Expansion is a What-If scenario where RIsky Boots sets off on her own to take over Sequin Land instead of Shantae traveling around to stop her. The 2nd DLC Expansion, Friends to the End, is the only one that stays within the canon events of HGH, where Bollo, Sky, and Rottytops venture on a quest to save Shantae during certain events of the main game’s storyline.

The final 3 are the “Costume DLC” game modes, featuring Shantae learning to become a Ninja, heading to the Beach, and playing the role of a Space Cop. Each of these are smaller “Arcade Mode” style games, but do have story arcs to them. They are all separate from any shape or form of the series’ storylines as they feature the same character encounters from HGH but can only fit into the canon in a sense of “Well, sometime after the game ends, Shantae wants to learn to become a ninja and one thing leads to another”.

But, don’t think too hard on that. It’s not meant to fit into the canon but to be a silly side-story for the costume’s campaign.

Gameplay

Despite all of the new content, Ultimate Edition is just like the normal edition of Half-Genie Hero. It’s a 2D platformer with exploration elements, like the first 2 games of the series but with set levels instead of giant side-scrolling worlds. You travel levels, fight enemies and bosses, and return to your base to solve quests and buy upgrades and abilities.

Since this is the Ultimate Edition, let’s go over everything that this version gives you. You get:

– The Base Game’s Main Story Mode, Hardcore Mode, and Hero Mode
– DLC Story Expansions “Pirate Queen’s Quest” and “Friends to the End”
– Costume DLC Expansions “Ninja Mode”, “Beach Mode”, and “Officer Mode”

Now, all of these can be obtained by buying the DLC for the original release of the game. But here is what Ultimate Edition reserves for itself that cannot be obtained with the original release and its DLC:

– Extras Gallery and Hall of Fame, full of Shantae fan-art, collected from around the web
– The Tinkerbat Dance Transformation, originally exclusive to Kickstarter Backers
– Alternate Color Scheme / Costume for Beach Mode

Now, the first question on the mind of something like this is how this price-point is when compared to just buying the original release and the DLC for it, disregarding the content exclusive to Ultimate Edition.

To calculate this, we have to look at the DLC Pricing on the eShop, which has Pirate Queen’s Quest at $9.99, Friends to the End at $7.99, and Costume DLC at $7.99. Also worth noting is that the physical release of Ultimate Edition is $39.99 while the digital release is $29.99. That brings us to the following

Original Game + DLC – $46
Ultimate Edition (Digital) – $30
Ultimate Edition (Physical) – $40

No matter which version of Ultimate Edition you are getting, if you’re buying Half-Genie Hero, Ultimate Edition is definitely going to be a better deal, no contest.

But now, let’s compare content. Having this many campaigns sounds great, but there are some things to talk about here.

Each of these campaigns basically has you running through the same levels you’ve already seen and fighting bosses you’ve already seen, but with different rules. With Pirate Queen’s Quest and Friends to the End, it did feel a bit repetitive, but with the Costume DLC, it feels significantly more repetitive. For what it did have, the first two expansions did have one or two unique boss encounters and Friends to the End had a special environment exclusive to itself.

Ninja, Beach, and Officer Modes do not. They are the same levels, just with different rules. Ninja and Beach Mode feel like you’re just playing the main game all over again with different abilities. The only one that changes things up is Officer Mode which not only gives you a Mega Man-esque blaster weapon to use instead of physical weapons, but adds a platform-manipulation mechanic that makes moving through each level significantly more strategic.

Officer Mode aside, though, if you didn’t think it was repetitive before, you definitely will now.

Now, let’s talk about total content and length. I’ve covered this in previous reviews, but let’s put this down very easily. The Main Campaign should take you around 6-8 hours to complete. The two major DLC expansions each take around 2 hours to complete. The 3 Costume DLC Campaigns also take around 1.5-2 hours to complete.

That puts you at around 18-20 hours of total content. That’s plenty of content for both Ultimate Edition price points, but especially for the digital release’s lower price point.

 

Summary

In conclusion, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition is the best version of the game, packed with all of the DLC and a few bits of exclusive content not found anywhere else. Although the base game still has some flaws with parts of its story and many of the new campaigns will feel very repetitive, it's still well-worth the money with now having around 20 hours of content to its name.

8.5/10

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