[PS4 Retro Is Good Review] Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut

by Tracey

Shantae’s Risky Revenge was first released as a Nintendo exclusive back in 2010 for the thriving DSiware download service. Now WayForward has reworked the game and included trophies for the PlayStation platforms so that a new generation of players can enjoy this classic.

The story is about Shantae’s Uncle Mimic discovering a magic lamp on one of his adventures and it getting stolen by no other than Shantae’s arch-nemesis: Risky Boots. Uncle Mimic requests Shantae’s help in finding the three magic seals to scupper Risky’s plans and retrieve the magic lamp before Risky Boots does really bad Pirate-y things to Scuttle Town with the magic lamp. Shantae set’s off on her mission to find the three magic seals and recover the stolen magic lamp.

You play as Shantae, a half-genie with long purple hair. You get to explore the game’s various locations, and along the way you will encounter enemies that Shantae can attack by whipping her long hair around, and players will eventually also gain access to other skills for long range attacks. Shantae can also belly dance to transform into a variety of animal forms to access areas she couldn’t previously reach. For example, the Monkey dance will enable her to turn into a monkey that can scale walls so she can reach higher platforms, the Elephant dance means she can now smash walls and reach new areas thanks to her new found strength, and the Mermaid dance turns her into a mermaid that can swim into the sea!

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Shantae can purchase a map of Sequin Land from the shop, and you can access it from the inventory at any time. This comes in handy for knowing where you are and where you need to go. Shantae can also use launch pads to transport herself from one plane to another, they are easy to miss at first, but once you see the arrows on the ground you’re good to go.

There is also a sort of quest system which is really fun to play out and adds more depth to the story. For example, Shantae cannot access the very first dungeon because the Octopus inside the dungeon refuses to open the gate unless you get him a tasty meal. Shantae has to, therefore, go in search of a chef. When she find’s one the chef wants her puppy Wobble Bell back. Once you find Wobble Bell you will get the tasty meal you require and you will be able to get into the dungeon.

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As I said earlier, Shantae’s Risky Revenge is a reworked version of an a game that used to be exclusive to the Nintendo DSi and now to the 3DS and New 3DS thanks to the eshop, but it’s now available on PS4 with some extra content. Said new content includes a magic mode that is for the hardcore players: in this mode Shantae will have less health, making the game more difficult, but she’ll also be more powerful. There is also an unlockable costume. The menus have been reworked and the character portraits during cutscenes have been graphically enhanced for modern consoles. Also, the warp system has been completely reworked, so it is now much faster to get around. The game runs in 1080p and players have the option of 4:3, 4:3 with borders, 16:9 widescreen or at original resolution that is about the same screensize as a DS.

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And best of all, the music in the game is by no other than Jake Kaufman (Virt), one of the best music composers in the games industry. That alone is well worth the price of the game! Be sure to click this link to check out Virt’s Bandcamp page where you can get the full soundtrack for Shantae: Risky’s Revenge.

Like a true Metroidvania, there are some backtracking elements, and as you get stronger and acquire better upgrades and belly dances you will be able to reach new areas to explore, gaining access to clever puzzles and large and deadly bosses.

I had an absolute blast playing this game. There is no tutorial, but the game is so easy to understand, and even if you get stuck, you can visit Bolo in town or do what I did and just explore for a bit. Watch your health though as there are only a few save points in the game, so that is a fun added challenge. If you die, you just respawn at the last save guy. I found the difficulty of the game to be a very happy medium with minimal frustration. The graphics are extremely well polished despite still being 16-bit sprites. The colours are vibrant, and there is no pixel stretching, no bugs or glitches, just 100% flawless gameplay. I definitely recommend giving the game a go.

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The game’s length feels just right. You’ll spend around 5-7 hours to complete it. It might take a few playthroughs to see all endings, but the game is definitely worth replaying!

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