Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is back, this time in a bundle called the Ultimate Edition. It combines the base game with a variety of DLC and bonuses into one package. I never played the original game, so I will be reviewing this release as a whole.
Lots of content to play though. This should not come as a surprise considering that this is an “Ultimate Edition”, but the point should still be made. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition has a lot of content to play through. There’s the base game and its different game modes (such as hardcore or hero mode), alternate stories that star different characters, and a few other extra modes (like beach, ninja, and officer mode). The game has quite a bit of replayability as a result.
Fantastic art style. Half-Genie Hero is definitely one of the better-looking 2D platformers I have played. It combines beautiful 2D artwork with some excellent 3D environments. The character designs are great, the colors are vivid, and enemies are easily seen against the background. Of course it all looks even better when in motion. A fantastic job was done all-around with the game’s art direction.
Excellent soundtrack. Not only does the game have some great art direction, it also has an excellent soundtrack to match. In fact, during the game’s very first level, I was blown away by the energetic vocal track being played in the background. The majority of the music has this retro feel to it, so as to stay true to the roots of the series. However, there is also a modern touch to it. It was not uncommon for a track to blend chiptune with actual instruments. The result was quite brilliant.
Reliance on replaying levels. It was a bit of a shame that a lot of the game relied so much on going back to previous levels to seek out an item or character to advance the story. I am normally fine with going back to previous levels to find secrets and such, but when it is needed to advance the story, it just feels like a lazy attempt to stretch out the game. It is made even worse in this case because the game does this every other quest. The abilities unlocked by seeking out these characters or items could just have easily been placed into their own levels, giving the game more variety in that regard. The level variety is already quite limited, so having to go back to them over and over became quite annoying.
Reskinned DLC and game modes. I may have praised the amount of content in the game, but it certainly does not help when most of that content is just the main game reskinned. For example, the entirety of the Pirate Queen’s Quest DLC just has the player playing through the levels from the base game as a different character, with no change in their layout. Sure, the abilities and such are different, but it was not nearly as fun as it could have been had it taken place in a new environment. The DLC affected by this just feel lazy as a result.
The base game is excellent and the inclusion of the different modes and DLC is cool too, but it is a shame that the majority of these additions are just lazy reskins of the base game. Even so, I do give the game my recommendation as I really did enjoy playing through the base game.
You can buy Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition on Steam here.
I was provided a free review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.