WayForward has released some great games over the years, but Shantae seems to be one of their favorites, which is understandable. After all, it was their first baby. WayForward released their first Shantae game on the Gameboy Color in 2002. Today I’m reviewing the sequel to that game, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, which originally released in 2010 on the Nintendo DSi, and since then ported to various other systems. Last month the Nintendo Switch was one of the latest systems to receive this port. 

Shantae Risky’s Revenge: Director’s Cut, for Nintendo Switch includes all of the initial features of the original game, and a few extras. Including an unlockable Magic Mode. Which gives the player the choice to choose a more challenging gameplay option. Magic Mode will reduce Shantae’s defense but she gains more magic power. This mode gives Shantae a neat costume change as well. The Director’s cut also includes HD character portraits and improved navigation features making it easier to get around the complicated map.

Some people may assume the Shantae games are easy, or maybe they’re not a fan of the cute graphics and skin clad characters. In any case here’s my advice, don’t judge a game by its cover art. Shantae Risky’s Revenge is a fun, challenging adventure filled with difficult boss battles, tons of tricky puzzles and all kinds of Magic spells to learn. The spells that I’m referring to will turn Shantae into various (adorable) animals. For example, the first transformation you receive is the Monkey. Monkey doesn’t do well with attacking, but monkey can climb walls. This allows Shantae to reach new areas that weren’t accessible before. So like a lot of games, player beats area, player gets new power/item that allows them to progress to the next area, rinse, repeat. 

Thank goodness for the upgraded navigation. I fear I would have became frustrated playing the DSi version. There’s already too much backtracking if you want to get 100% completion, so any kind of help with traveling in a game like this is much appreciated. It’s kind of a pain figuring out where to go next and how to get there… As I typed that sentenced I realized that I have forgotten that video games used to actually make you use your brain to figure things out. Anyways, the player will eventually figure out what area they need to be in, and what magic power Shantae needs to progress. The player will then feel mental achievement and their dopamine levels will rise because they actually solved a puzzle without any button prompts XD.

Scuttle town is where Shantae lives, it’s kind of the hub. You can reach all of the different areas from here. There’s also a shop where you can buy magic and health potions, as well as some small upgrades for Shantae. I loved coming here to check in between levels. The characters are all pretty interesting and play some small part in the story. Whether it’s giving you a hint on where to go next or simply making a silly joke about the current events in the game. One of the best parts about the Shantae series for me, has always been the funny dialogue and the silly characters. 

The thing that makes this game a little complicated, is that Risky’s Revenge was utilizing the new technology that the DSi allowed. Letting them add depth and layers to each area. So while Shantae can go left or right to enter the next screen, she can also jump forward or backward allowing her to explore the foreground and background of the different levels. It’s actually pretty cool, but it can get you a little turned around at times. Risky’s Revenge is full of alternate paths and hidden areas so staying on track is difficult at times. I recommend getting all of your animal transformations before fully exploring. Trust me. 

I’d say this is a game you buy if you’re a fan of the series, or if you just like “old skool” games. Since Risky’s Revenge was released 10 years ago, I would say this port is more about the experience rather than graphics. Which I don’t mind, rarely do I play games for their graphics. But I will say that anything pixelated gives me those tingly nostalgia feels. I also thought it was neat, getting to go back to Shantae’s roots. Without playing the older games in the series it would be hard to appreciate how good all of the recent Shantae games have been, they’ve really came a long way. So I’m glad to have been able to review this one and see where our Little 1/2 Genie Hero came from.