Game: Shantae and the Seven Sirens
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows
Rating: E for Everyone 10+
Over the course of the last number of issues we have highlighted gaming history, from the remake of Resident Evil 3 to a guide where we help you hook up your retro consoles to modern televisions. Today we are continuing this trend down memory lane with a new release that brings back a classic 2D style.
Half-Genie, All Ridiculous
Shantae and the Seven Sirens is a side-scrolling platform game and the fifth sequel in the Shantae series. First appearing back on the GameBoy Color, we follow the title heroine Shantae, a half-genie, as she embarks on various magical adventures. This time we venture with her and friends as they are invited to Paradise Island for the Half-Genie Festival. If this sounds somewhat silly… well that’s because it is. This title isn’t going to win any points for groundbreaking narrative storytelling or heart-wrenching plot twists. The tale is primarily a scene setter that merely gives an excuse to get the action ball rolling.
Thankfully when the action starts, so does the fun. The platforming will instantly be recognizable to those who have enjoyed The Super Nintendo or Saga Genesis era. The gameplay is simple: run, jump, and attack enemies. You can talk to some characters, but the real meat and potatoes of the experience is found in the midst of hectic battles with giant spiders, cute bats, and barbarians with a fish for a head. As you can tell, the enemy lineup is not to be taken seriously, still that does not mean it isn’t fun to whip them with your hair or to send fire balls hurtling their way. The character’s movement is fluid and weaving between monsters soon becomes an addictive task. The only hiccup in this otherwise flawless gameplay comes when moving between areas. The loading screens constantly pops up and can last upwards of 20 seconds. Although this may not sound like a lot, when they keep popping up it soon grows laborious.
A Spectrum of Color
Visually Shantae and the Seven Sirens is a wonder to behold. The colorful, hand-drawn style erupts from the screen with an eye-pleasing palate. The backgrounds and foregrounds are also lovingly crafted, setting the appropriate mood for the player’s adventure. Developer WayForward likewise put a great deal of effort into the anime-esque cutscenes that gives the whole affair an extra sense of polish.
With the story aside, Shantae and the Seven Sirens is a great little indie platformer dripping with charm. Fans of the series and newcomers alike will find much to take pleasure in here, providing they are fans of the old-school genre.
Microsoft has been making big waves lately with trailers and informational drops regarding its upcoming console, the Xbox One X. Now, after a long wait, Sony fans can also get excited thanks to the reveal of the PlayStation 5, which should have been showcased by the time you are reading this article. Regardless of your console of choice, both brands still have a lot more to give before the next generation of systems are released later this year. Sony devotees are chomping at the bit for the sequel, Last of Us 2, which will be hitting store shelves on June 16th, while Microsoft enthusiasts can play Elden Ring later this Summer. These two very different brands are gearing up to serve a host of very different goodies.