Metroidvania is always a little bit the same. And personally it suits me very well. Although I’ve done almost everything released in this genre since Symphony Of The Night in 1996, I still enjoy exploring castles with monster truffles jumping around every corner.
There’s a license in this very classic and ultra-codified genre that I really appreciate right now Shantae. With its fashionable cartoon aesthetic “Fan service on all floors”, the studio’s series Way forward brings a touch of lightness to the genre. Among the 5 games that have been released since 2002, there is one that stands out Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse.
Why is it cult?
Originally developed for 3DS, then ported to almost EVERYTHING, This little Ind game sums up what makes the license so special
Shantae and the Pirates’ Curse It is the form in which the game imposes its personality. Shantae is above all fan service and non-stop self-irony. The delicious dialogues constantly break the 4th wall, as with this returning boss in the midst of an existential crisis who complains about his status as an “emergency solution”. The Arabic aesthetic is very exotic and colorful, in a very kawaii style that deserves the best games of the 16-bit era. The female cast plays the sexy card and since the game is cuter than advertise, it goes well!
a couple of times Shantae thinks outside the box. For example, there is a level where you end up in a kingdom that has lost its princess (did you remember anything?). Suddenly, the administrator of the kingdom kidnaps all the female characters in the game in order to choose the new princess from among them. In infiltration mode o Shantae, in “Princess Outfit”
The gameplay is pretty simple. We jump, we hit … We find objects to jump further and hit harder … The routine! The game is pretty short, but the increase in difficulty in the later levels will push you back for maximum upgrades. I read some reviews on these tours … I personally think that’s what makes the genre so charming. On the other hand, it’s true that the game is pretty stingy when it comes to what to do after learning a new skill. The walls that can be broken are not actually brought forward.
On the music side, whoever says Wayforward says Jake Kaufman. The indie star songwriter does a decent job on this episode. It’s not as rich as on Shovel knight, but the subjects have been spinning fishing rod for a long time. The overall tone is still very electro, with melodies being heard on big beats all over the place. I prefer the soundtrack of the youngest Shantae: Half-Genie Hero for the 90s synthesizers and the overall quieter tracks.
Replayability Potential: 8/10
Shantae and the Pirates’ Curse is therefore a nice little metroidvania, perfect for relaxing your neurons between two “big games”. The aesthetic of pixel art is extremely sophisticated, and the retro gameplay should bring fond memories to anyone who lived through the heyday of 2D platformer.