Review: Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut
Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut marks Shantae’s first appearance on PlayStation consoles as well as my first foray into the series. Despite being the second game of the series Risky’s Revenge serves to be a pretty good introduction into the world of Shantae. There’s clearly some history between Shantae and her rival Risky Boots, but not so much that I was left confused. Risky’s bad news and the fact that she’s stolen a very powerful Magic Lamp makes the situation at the start of the game pretty bad.
Shantae is a half-genie in charge of protecting Scuttle Town. This comes to a screeching hault when Risky Boots invades the town and steals a mysterious Lamp that seems to hold some sort of very dark power. With Shantae failing to stop Risky Boots the mayor of Scuttle Town, Mayor Scuttlebutt, declares that Shantae is no longer fit to protect the town. In spite of this Shantae, with help from her friends, plan to track down the Magic Seals that’ll power the Lamp and put an end to whatever Risky’s planning.
The adventure will lead you through a pretty non-linear hunt for each Magic Seal as you conquer dungeons, defeat bosses, discover secrets, and unlock each of Shantae’s special transformation abilities. With Scuttle Town located in the center of the world map you’re able to go down four different routes, each leading to various new areas, on your journey. Some early areas in the game are locked away until late game abilities are unlocked and getting 100% completion will require a good deal of backtracking. It’s not as expansive as a Metroid game, but it does follow some of those same design principles. (Find new ability, backtrack to previous area, open path that was previously blocked, etc.)
Shantae’s main attack comes in the form of using her hair as a whip. This works well to take down enemies, but you’ll also be able to purchase magic abilities from the shop in town. With these abilities you can throw fireballs at enemies, summon a pike ball to circle around Shantae and hit enemies, or strike enemies from afar with a thunder cloud. As you progress Shantae will also gain the ability to transform into a monkey, elephant, or mermaid. Each transformation offers its own share of abilities which help to expand upon Shantae’s overall power. There’s a good mix of combat and platforming that keeps the game flowing pretty well from each location to the next. Most importantly the game just controls really well. Risky’s Revenge is just pure fun to play.
The hunt for Magic Seals will lead you into dungeons that culminate in boss fights. The dungeons are really well designed and the puzzles within them are fun to solve. Getting through a dungeon is a decent challenge and you’ll come out of it with a pretty good sense of accomplishment. It’s too bad that there’s only a couple fully fleshed out dungeons, but what’s there is top quality. In general that’s one of my major takeaways. Risky’s Revenge is short, but what’s there is really good. (With the small exception of a late game fetch quest.)
The Director’s Cut includes new display modes (4:3, 4:3 with borders, 16:9, and an option for the original resolution), an unlockable Magic Mode that increases the damage taken while decreasing magic consumption, and a revamped Warp system. Having not played the original I can’t compare, but the Warp system in this game does make backtracking (of which there’s a lot) pretty easy/quick to do.
Shantae: Risky’s Revenge is a great first impression on a series that I’ve been curious about for a while now. What it lacks in length it more than makes it up for in level design and precise controls. It helps that the first playthrough just leads to speed runs and plenty of hidden items to collect. Risky’s Revenge left me impressed and excited to try the other games in the series.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Great art style/music
- Platforming feels great
- Shantae's transformations
- The puzzles in the second dungeon
What I Dislike:
- Fetch quest at the end of the game
- I wish there was a bit more