You play the role of Shantae, a bellydancing genie who loses her magic. You have to team up with your nemesis, a pirate named Risky Boots, to save Sequin Land. Yes I’m not kidding, that’s what the game is all about.
It’s actually not a terrible game, but I couldn’t get over the ridiculous characters and plot. I can’t help but feel that if the game was re-skinned I’d enjoy it so much more, however I’ve read other reviews and a lot of people seem to be able to look past it. It’s a side-scrolling 2D platformer which unfortunately I’m getting really tired of, and within the first hour I had to backtrack through an area to take an item to someone in order to progress, but died on the way, problem being that the only save checkpoints you have are old guys who you bump in to along the way, so when you respawn you’ve gotta work out which way you were actually headed when you met them.
The game takes place on numerous islands, which you travel to on Risky Boots ship. Having separate islands actually works quite well because each one can have it’s own theme/design without worrying too much about blending into another, and with the exception of when you’re inside dungeons, you can use what’s called a Pirate Beacon to travel straight back to the ship so traveling between islands is actually pretty quick. The main town (Scuttle) is quite important in terms of NPCs and side quests so it’s good that it’s not a pain to travel there whenever you want to.
Shantae looks pretty good for a retro-inspired game, and the soundtrack is quite enjoyable. It takes a lot of inspiration from Metroid, Castlevania and even Zelda which fans of the franchises will pick up quickly, and I’m happy to say I didn’t find it as difficult as I thought I would given the games it’s based on.
At approximately 8 hours (maybe an hour or two more if you want to do absolutely everything), Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a competent platformer, however it does get a bit boring and repetitive, and I struggled to like the characters or the story. Give this game a re-skin and some kind of character levelling and I’d be much more likely to recommend it to others.