Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition from WayForward is an “all-in-one” release that includes the main game and all of its DLC. Learn more about this excellent 2D action platformer in our Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition review!
Are you a fan of WayForward’s beloved Shantae series? The franchise has come a long way from its original release on the GameBoy Color way back in 2002 (yes, it’s been that long!), improving on a solid Metroidvania formula with each new game. WayForward took Shantae: Half-Genie Hero to Kickstarter in 2013, reaching its funding goal and then some. The main game released to critical and fan acclaim, and the team continued to work hard to deliver on the additional content promised by WayForward from the stretch goals they reached.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition brings the main campaign along with its three main DLC expansions: Pirate Queen’s Quest, Friends to the End and the Costume Mode. On top of these, the collection also includes Hero Mode, Hardcore Mode, the DLC Color Swaps, the bonus Tinkerbat transformation, and the Ultimate Edition also includes a bonus blue bathing suit as an exclusive.
Everything is available right from the start, so you have plenty of ways to experience the gorgeous 2D world of Shantae: Half-Genie Hero. The expansions, as their names suggest, focus more on Shantae’s friends and on her arch nemesis Risky Boots. For example, in Pirate Queen’s Quest you’ll get to control Risky Boots herself who goes out on a quest similar to Shantae’s, searching for components to build her own version of the contraption from the main story quest, so that she can open up some kind of fissure between the human and genie realms. The gameplay is similar to the main game since, in the end, it’s still a 2D action platformer, but Risky Boots has new skills and ways to attack the enemies she runs into. Instead of Shantae’s hair whipping action, Risky Boots has a sharp sword… and a pistol!
You will still take on the same stages from the main campaign, but with different puzzles that have been tailored to the skillset of Risky Boots. I would have definitely liked to visit new locations on this extra adventure, but I can understand how that would have required a way bigger budget than what the team had to work with. This expansion and the others were part of the stretch goals, which means they didn’t have the same budget as the main game, which is understandable.
In Friends to the End, things do feel different from the main campaign and from Pirate Queen’s Quest, since you play as Bolo, Rottytops and Sky. Risky uses magic and manipulates Shantae and turns her into an evil being. Her friends Bolo, Sky and Rottytops must, therefore, leap into an open portal and try to rescue Shantae to bring her back to the path of good. The story feels very fresh and there is a ton more dialogue compared to Pirate Queen’s Quest, which is great. This DLC is also about teamwork since Bolo, Sky and Rottytops each have different abilities and they must work together to navigate through this DLC. Sky can glide across big gaps, Rottytops can throw her head to teleport the rest of her body over, and Bolo can use a grappling hook to reach to other parts of the stage.
This expansion requires you to think about what you are doing at all times, and sometimes you will need to use all three characters to solve a puzzle, which makes this a very fun and challenging piece of DLC that is hugely satisfying and rewarding. This DLC is around 3 hours long or so, which is very similar in size to Pirate Queen’s Quest. Multiple runs are required to obtain the true/good endings, which adds to the longevity of the extra campaign.
The Costume Mode is more of an arcade expansion rather than a full blown mini-campaign, since there are no hubs or any real story. Instead it’s more about getting from point A to point B, finding all collectibles and defeating the bosses. Each costume provides different abilities. I’ll use Beach Shantae as an example: in her swimwear, she can attack with beach balls and she has a special meter you need to always keep in mind. If Shantae gets too hot from the sun, she will burn, so you need to collect lots of sun cream to cool her down. This would, in essence, be considered as a time attack mode since you always need to be on the move to collect stuff and beat each stage as fast as possible.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition is indeed the ultimate version of Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, giving us the main game and all of the additional content released thanks to the many stretch goals reached during the Kickstarter campaign and the subsequent extended funding period on the WayForward site. This is worth every penny, and is a must-have game you should definitely buy today on PlayStation 4, as you take on a new trophy list with a Platinum trophy to play the game with some new trophy objectives here and there.
This Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by WayForward.