By: Jeff Cater
Shantae and The Pirate’s Curse is a revival of a Nintendo 3DS title for the PlayStation 4. With cleaned up audio and graphics, Shantae and The Pirate’s Curse brings truly classic Mega Man style platforming gameplay to a table full of games like that. Question is, does Shantae and her vibrant hairstyle have any elbow room?
Being a port from a handheld, this game is very easy to pick up (wakka wakka!). The directional pad and jumping/attack inputs are all tight, and you always feel absolutely in control. A lot of platforming games tend to have troubles with scooching towards an edge to get at a jump better, but Shantae does not have that problem thanks to the snappy movement.
While the game has cleaned up visuals, they’re just that. To my knowledge, there are no new sprites or effects, but those that are there have had a bit of a facelift to not destroy your eyes while playing this on an HDTV.
Shantae features six different worlds, all of which have a unique visual motif. The enemies all vary between stages too, which is part of the driving force of the game; just when you’ve grown tired of facing a certain foe, new ones will appear!
The 8-bit inspired jams are great, and it’s very easy to catch yourself moving to the groove. Even the titular character wiggles and shakes her booty like she’s caught up in the beat herself.
Although there is no spoken dialogue, the humorous writing more than makes up for that. At one point, a character even declares that he has to “make dirty water” after eating a bunch of “cheap waxy chocolates”. Hilarious? Yes. In dire need of a voice actor telling me this? Not really.
Pirate’s Curse takes place directly after the events of the last game in the series, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge. The game opens up with our heroes at home in a small coastal village called Scuttle Town. As Shantae awakens, she soon realizes that the town is under siege and takes it upon herself to rectify the situation.
Naturally, she decides to use her hair as a weapon, easily whipping and batting enemies away. Along with your hair, you can pick up various devastating abilities as well, such as giant spiked balls that encircle Shantae. A dispatched foe will usually drop an item, which annoyingly pops up a message in the middle of your screen.
Aside from that, the platforming experience is extremely smooth and engaging, with hidden rooms and treasure scattered just about everywhere. The NPCs you come across as you progress further just keep getting funnier and funnier as you go, one of my favorites being an old, old librarian whose eyelids don’t work anymore.
With each stage taking roughly 20-30 minutes to complete, you’re looking at a solid six or seven hours of platforming glory with Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. Kill bad guys with your hair while rocking some great retro tunes and laughing almost the whole time.