Shantae and the Pirate's Curse
|Shantae and the Pirate's Curse|
Rising Star Games[note 1]
|Distributor(s)||Limited Run Games[note 2]|
|Release date(s)||Nintendo 3DS
Shantae and the Pirate's Curse is a platform game developed by WayForward Technologies for the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U. It is the third game in the Shantae series, following Shantae: Risky's Revenge. It was released in North America on the 3DS eShop on October 23, 2014 and on the Wii U eShop on December 25, 2014, and in PAL regions on both platforms on February 5, 2015. The game follows the adventures of the eponymous half-genie Shantae as she once again has to save Sequin Land from a new foe, the Pirate Master, with help from her nemesis Risky Boots.
The title features a new soundtrack by Jake Kaufman and additional artwork by Inti Creates. Met with critical acclaim, just like the first two entries in the series, the game was a nominee for best 3DS game and best platformer by IGN and made the Top 10 of the Club Nintendo 2014 survey of the fans' favourite games. It also was commercially successful. A fourth entry in the series, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, is already in development.
Like its predecessors, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse casts players in the role of Shantae the half-genie, who can attack enemies using her hair. Having lost her genie powers in the previous game, Shantae now makes use of various pirate items that the player obtains during the course of the game. These include a pistol that can be used to shoot enemies and switches from afar, a hat that can be used to glide through the air and ride on gusts of wind, a scimitar that can break blocks using a downwards thrust, boots that send Shantae into a charging dash that can break through certain walls, and a cannon that can be used to perform addition jumps in mid-air. Players can also make use of various items, such as damaging pike balls or health restoring potions. These items, as well as upgrades to Shantae's hair attack and pirate items, can be purchased using gems obtained from enemies and breakable objects. In place of transformation dances, Shantae can use a genie lamp to suck up nearby gems, as well as carry dark magic and other gaseous objects like smells.
Each of the game's many islands often require Shantae to gain access to an evil den, where one of the pirate items can be found, and defeat a boss in order to gain a map to the next island. Players will often be required to fulfil certain quests in order to progress, such as finding an item on one island and giving it to someone on another. Hidden across the various islands are twenty cursed Cacklebats, which the player must defeat and extract Dark Magic from in order to obtain the game's best ending. Also hidden throughout each island are 32 Heart Squids, which can be exchanged to increase Shantae's maximum health. Clearing the game unlocks Pirate Mode, which gives Shantae all of her pirate items from the start to allow the player to perform speedruns.
After the events of Risky's Revenge, Shantae, who had been forced to defeat the embodiment of her genie powers, has been adjusting to life as a mere human. One morning, Shantae awakes to the sound of cannon fire. As Shantae rushes out to investigate, she runs into her friends, Sky and Bolo, who tell her that their hometown of Scuttle Town is being taken over by the Ammo Baron, who, after a brief scuffle, reveals that he bought the town from Mayor Scuttlebutt and is legally now its new mayor. Ammo Baron orders Shantae under lockdown pending further punishment. Defeated and despondent, Shantae returns home and takes a bath, only to realize that she doesn't own a bathtub just as it snaps shut and traps her in it. Risky Boots, her arch-nemesis, approaches her and accuses her of robbing her, as her henchmen and items have suddenly gone missing. Discovering that some Dark Magic has placed a curse on her Tinkerbats, turning them into evil Cacklebats, Risky deduces that the Pirate Master, a powerful evil tyrant who was sealed away long ago by the genies of Sequin Land and was once her former Captain, is attempting to revive himself. Determined to stop his revival at all costs, Risky forms a reluctant alliance with Shantae to destroy the dens of evil giving him power, recover Risky's lost pirate items, and retrieve the Dark Magic inhabiting the Cacklebats.
Along the way, Risky reveals that the Dark Magic is actually Shantae's genie magic, which was scattered across Sequin Land rather than destroyed. After Shantae destroys all of the evil dens, Risky attempts to destroy the Pirate Master's grave, but is kidnapped by the Pirate Master after he revives. Shantae gives chase back to Scuttle Town, and confronting the Pirate Master in the Sequin Land palace, Shantae agrees to give up the Dark Magic she had collected in order to save Risky. To her surprise, she discovers that the magic has turned back into Light Magic, allowing Shantae to once again become a half-genie and defeat the Pirate Master with Risky's help. With peace returned to Sequin Land, Shantae and Risky develop a mutual respect and understanding of one another, but Risky admits that she'll never be one of the good guys, and admits that Shantae is not capable of villainy, but admires her fighting abilities and willingness to protect everyone around her. Later, Shantae uses her powers to give Scuttle Town back to its rightful owner and drive the Ammo Baron out of town, while Risky returns to her life as a pirate, preparing for when their paths cross again.
The game was announced in the November 2012 edition of Nintendo Power. On May 29, 2014, WayForward Technologies announced that more info about the game would be revealed at E3 2014. Just prior to Nintendo's own E3 2014 presentation, WayForward revealed to the Nintendo Life online news outlet that an HD variant of Shantae and the Pirate's Curse was coming to Wii U.
Like its predecessors, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse was met with critical acclaim, with scores of 84% (3DS and Wii U) on GameRankings and scores of 82/100 (3DS) and 85/100 (Wii U) on Metacritic. Hardcore Gamer gave the game a 4.5 out of 5, saying "Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is another exemplary entry in a short but long-lived line of exploration-driven platformers. The gameplay is fun, varied and challenging, and will test the skills of even the most hardcore platforming fans." Destructoid enjoyed the moment-to-moment platforming and combat mechanics, the dungeons' "interesting" layouts and hard-to-find secret areas, and the "funny" narrative, but lamented the replacement of a "giant, singular open world" like in Risky's Revenge with a "collective of islands" that were too small and found the removal of the previous game's quick travel mechanic made "getting from place to place ... a hassle." Pocket Gamer thought Pirate's Curse was "a joy to play," with "masterful spritework" and a high-quality soundtrack. Game Informer felt that the game was let down by "pesky backtracking" with "annoyingly ambiguous" places to use unlocked pirate gear after returning to previously-explored areas, but found that "all of Shantae's pirate platforming abilities gel together well during the latter stages," with a few moments of "old-school platforming at its best." With the game aided by "detailed, expressive sprites" and environments "bright and full of life", IGN found that Pirate's Curse "[stood] out from the glut of retro-inspired platformers", praising the world's division into "distinct-feeling" islands whose "smaller, more focused approach" kept the reviewer engaged, the occasional "inane, hilarious" puzzle scenario, and the "consistently funny" dialogue, but was annoyed by numerous enemies that constantly respawned while backtracking throughout the islands.
The game was among the Top 10 of the 2014 survey of Club Nintendo's Fan Faves, voted by over 682,000 people. It was also awarded the "Niche Award for Best Game Nobody Played" at the 2014 Vidya Gaem Awards.
|2015||IGN's Best of 2014||Best 3DS Game||Nominated|||
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