Released back in 2014, Shantae and the Pirates Curse somehow completely slipped under my radar. Perhaps it was the cartoony style, the lack of advertising, or the odd name. Whatever it was, I missed an absolute gem.
Shantae and the Pirates Curse is actually the third game in the series, with the originals dating way back to 2002. It’s a platforming game staring a half genie hero who is determined to find her worth by saving her local village from the infamous Pirate Master.
Using her hair and acrobatics as her primary weapons you’re able to swiftly move about the beautifully rendered environments, pimp smacking your enemies with your luscious curls until they die. Later, you’ll accumulate upgrades through merchants and by solving light puzzles and platforming segments as you traverse through the game. There are some mild role playing elements too, with NPCs carefully place about the world who all offer interesting and quite humorous side missions, such as refilling a dried out swimming hole for a scantily clad ladies in a maze like temple. Hilariously, you do so by bathing the environment in the area and the unsuspecting ladies in saliva by providing a dragon with the scent of ham. So viscous!
It’s this sort of clever situation and solution that makes the game stand out. It’s not just creative, but wholy engrossing and I cannot help but want to see where the story is going next. It’s full of surprises and always keeps me on my toes.
The controls are tight, the visuals beautiful, there are many creative boss battles and enemies, and it packs enough variety and creativity to become one of the best platforms I’ve played since Shovel Knight or Rayman Origins. It can be found quite cheap and it’s a fabulous warm up for the upcoming sequel, Half Genie Hero.
If you haven’t played it, there is no better time. I highly recommend giving it a try and the developers definitely deserve the attention. It’s on PC, 3DS, Wii U, PS4 and XB1.