(Available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mobile phones)
(Nintendo Switch version coming in July)
(PC version used for review)
Shantae and the seven Sirens is the latest entry in the Shantae franchise that came out last year to mobile phones but now has been distributed to consoles. I’m normally not a fan of this especially since there are tons of Mobile Games that I have no intention of playing on a TV clogging up the Nintendo Eshop on the Switch the most recent example being Elder Scroll Blades which I will not be reviewing since I’m not going to buy it. Shantae is not really in this category for me since it always looked like it was meant to be on consoles and it seemed really out of place mobile phones. I’ve haven’t played the Shantae games but I’ve heard nothing but good things about half genie hero given how it looks like a good platformer which has it’s own identity. I would’ve played the game in preparation however this games release actually caught me by surprise so I really didn’t have time to do 2 games in a row especially when you’re frantically playing Xenoblade Chronicles definitive edition in the hopes of having some sense of completion for a review before The Lat of Us part 2 comes out so I can concentrate on it. It’s your pretty typical platforming game the only major difference is the touch screen controls of the mobile phones are gone. If you like platformers this should be up your street though in spite of the fact these games share a similar open environment aspect of exploration that the Ori games have it doesn’t require the same level of precise platforming though it still has the Metroidvania elements to it which adds to the level of exploration. The experimentation comes from the various dance powers and animal transformations that are unlocked over time. Basically not much has changed if you are aware of the Shantae games though for a first time player to the franchise this game was accessible to play. the game does a decent job getting you used to the controls though the environment was another matter. There were a few moments where the game was vague about where I was meant to go and I got a bit stuck on what I supposed to be doing but I always would eventually get used to it. the plot is basic, Shantae goes to a resort island with her friends for a holiday and to take part in a half genie festival when the 5 other half genies are kidnaped during a performance and Shantae travels across the island to rescue them.
- Gameplay: it’s genuinely good fun to pay. While it doesn’t have the same complexity or amazing exploration as Ori it still gives an excellent world to explore as well as well designed platforming. The game takes a bit to give you new power ups but when you get them they are a joy to experiment with and upgrade. I’ve heard it’s controls are an improvement over the previous game from fans of the series.
- Presentation: the Shantae game always are well presented games and this one is no exception. They have a feel of modernized takes on old school platformers with the art style and soundtrack particularly. All versions also have a brilliant opening animation sequence done by legendary animation studio Trigger but the console versions also contain more animated cutscenes which also look good but are sadly not animated by Trigger but still look great and my only complaint is they’re short.
- Graphics: while not pushing any boundaries but still is a good looking game. it’s made by Way Forward and they used the same art style and general presentation from Half Genie Hero as well as 2013’s Ducktales Remastered (recommend game by me). I personally like the cartoony style and the models still looks good 7 years since it’s first use. there also wasn’t too much frame rate dip either.
- Game length: the game is short having a 10 hour run time if your good which isn’t too long but makes good use of the time not overstaying it’s welcome and the game offers a New Game Plus to add to the run time which adds replayablity as well.
- Boss fights: the boss fights are some of the best parts of the game and where I found the most challenge to make use of my abilities and they came up with clever ways to make them interesting such as one boss having a gimmick of being a plant woman that loves to sunbathe so attacks wont work unless you force her into sunlight.
- Control issues: I got into some situations with the controls being too responsive most notably going in and out of doors which occasionally would put me into a loop of going in and out. when I was trying to leave I managed to eventually work around it by using the d pad instead of the analogue sticks in this situation but it did get annoying hopefully this might get a patch to fix this
- It’s a little too easy: I rarely was challenged by this game outside of boss fights, it probably doesn’t help having played Ori recently which was a game that really challenged me on how I approached each encounter. It’s not an entirely fair comparison since Shantae is aiming for a more casual market hence why it was put on Mobile Phones first so I can respect that but it’s not exactly pushing the boundaries for gamers like myself . As a result unlike Ori I doubt I’ll do a second playthrough to 100% the game. I think this would’ve been benefited by a difficult select though from what I can tell the New Game + mode is more difficult
- Less clear on objectives: I know Metroidvania’s are about exploration and backtracking but I got lost or was unclear on what I was meant to be doing on a few occasions because the game wasn’t too clear on it and the level design only helped in certain points. I think a list of objectives or map markers might’ve helped. You could keep all the Metroidvania elements with things like back tracking with this in the game and still have that it would’ve helped out and stopped me making mistakes. Happily this was reduced more and more as the game went on so don’t expect it to be too bad.
- No autosaves: I really think this game would’ve benefited from autosaves. On the rare occasions I died in the game I found myself having to redo large portions of the game. dungeons did contain more save spots but an autosave would’ve been apricated a few times
I really like Shantae and the Seven Sirens and I probably should go back and try previous games out after this. It’s a really great platformer and a pretty good Metroidvania and from what I can tell it took lessons from what didn’t quite work in previous game to good effect. While it’s not too challenging of a game I think it’s a pretty accessible game which acclimatises you to what it’s about early and is really good fun.