Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action, Adventure, Platformer
Release Date: 8th of June, 2017 (EU & NA)
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Not even 6 months after it released on Wii U and an assortment of other platforms, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero has hip danced its way over to the Nintendo Switch, but is the port any good?
Because I don’t want to bog you down by putting you through a long winded review just to get to the answer to the question proposed in the previous paragraph, the answer is meh. Don’t get me wrong, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is a fantastic game, with stunning graphics that has truly brought the series into the modern era of gaming, but the Switch version is not the definitive versions fans were hoping it would be.
The only exclusive thing the Switch version is the HD Rumble, of which there are over 150 different HD Rumble events and granted they make the game feel a little more alive in your hands when playing, that is the only piece of “newness” the Switch version has, which is a shame. Fans were hoping that with so many games getting the “Definitive” or even the “Deluxe” treatment on Nintendo Switch that Half-Genie Hero might have the same treatment, but it doesn’t. Sure it has the Hard Core Mode that came to all platforms Half-Genie Hero is playable on, earlier this year as a free update, but the following statement isn’t entirely true: “When Shantae’s story ends, you’re just getting started! DLC Modes introduce new characters, levels, and bosses!”
For starters not every piece of DLC Half-Genie Hero will receive, will come to every copy of the game, as things like the Tinkerbat Transformation DLC, is solely available to those who backed the game. This sucks because granted a Switch version wasn’t present when the campaign was in effect. I’m sure we can all agree though that anyone who picks or picked up the game for Switch would have gladly paid a couple of extra bucks for the promise of getting the extra goodness, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
Still just because the Switch version isn’t the Definitive version of Shantae: Half-Genie Hero like we prayed it would be, it is still an incredibly beautiful game but while I have reviewed the Wii U version so there isn’t really that much more I can say about this game, I’m still going to give it a go and review this new Switch release in the way that it deserves to be, so let’s get to it!
For those of you who are unaware, the Shantae series is a game about the female protagonist Shantae, created by Matt and Erin Bell (now better known as Erin Bozon after Marrying Matt). Shantae is the daughter of a Genie, and the Guardian of Sequin Land. A Half-Genie Hero who has battled her fair share of monsters over the years and now she with yet another action platformer adventure and she has never looked so good. In fact the whole of Sequin Land looks great thanks to a completely new HD look that just makes the whole Half-Genie Hero experience feel all new, even after having played it through to completion multiple times in the past 6 months.
But not only does the game look great, but it plays great too. With her Genie powers back after the events of Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, and her transformations are even better than ever. Sure the likes of her Elephant form and Monkey form make a return, but there’s a Harpy form that really lets you take to the skies, a Mermaid form that lets you explore the depths and even than that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what Shantae can turn into this time around. There’s also the incredible boss battles, which features one gigantic, chained up green Mermaid Queen. A certain Squid Baron makes a return and is just as cute as the dialogue Half-Genie Hero possesses and yes it is cute. It’s also humorous and even the story is pretty good.
Admittedly it is a bit fast-paced and short, as depending on their skill, players can blitz through the first campaign with a 100% completion rate in less than 6 hours, but the content is still thoroughly enjoyable. It is also a game with a hub town that will have you constantly going backwards and forwards as the very few levels Shantae: Half-Genie Hero has, will require various visits throughout the game to truly complete each one. Oh, it’s a little on the easy side.
I don’t want to be the guy who bashes a game for being too easy, especially since plenty of Switch games this year have been bashed for being too difficult (Has-Been Heroes and TumbleSeed to name too,) but the difficulty players face in the first hour of gameplay, is the only true difficulty you will face, as the likes of power-ups that can be brought and found, soon make Shantae an overpowered adversary for all who encounter her. And yes, there is a Hardcore Mode, but even then, within an hour (or two depending on your skill), of playing the more challenging, Half-Genie Hero soon becomes a walk in the park once more and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but while some gamers do like an easy game, there are plenty whom do prefer a harder one.
Still the soundtrack is to die for, the dialogue as I have already said is brilliant and even though content-wise it is short, it is still a game with plenty of replay value. It is also the Shantae title many of us have been crying out for. Plus you know, there’s a giant Wrench for Shantae to fly around on, Risky Boots is back and being her downright wicked self and there’s an art gallery that has both concept art and fan art waiting to be seen. But do you know what really stands out the most about the game? Just how delightful of an experience it is.
Whether playing in handheld or in TV mode, Half-Genie Hero really is truly divine, just like it was when playing on the Wii U GamePad and it is just as fresh as the day it released back in December of last year. As for the best way to play it? Hands down with a Pro Controller, or Joy-Con Controllers in the Joy-Con Grip, with the Switch in TV mode. Although it can be played on a small screen, there really is nothing quite like experiencing a Shantae game on the big screen with the volume as loud as you want it to be and because I have said enough, it is time to wrap this review up.
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The fact of the matter is, is that if Shantae: Half-Genie Hero was a Zelda game, it would be Breath of the Wild. It is the latest instalment in a classic series that brings the series dragging and screaming into the 21st century, whilst supporting breath-taking graphics and an insane soundtrack. (Even now, Jake Kaufman is still a musical maestro and his Dance Through the Danger with lyrics by Christina Vee, is insanely contagious.) Sure the Switch version doesn’t really offer anything new or truly special, but it does allow what is an incredible game to be played anywhere, at anytime for any reasons and I still can’t get enough of it. So without needing to really think about it, I do score Shantae: Half-Genie Hero a 9/10. It might not be the greatest instalment in the eyes of diehard Shantae fans, but for me, it is the best game in the series, and all these months later the game is still incredible every time I play it.
THE VERDICT: 9/10
*Review Key Provided by WayForward