We’re pleased to announce Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse has been ported to Nintendo Switch. But unlike most Switch ports, this is not the game’s first time on a Nintendo console. In fact, the Shantae series has a fairly long history with Nintendo, with its first game—Shantae—released for Gameboy Color in 2002. Sadly, this handheld console had been replaced by the Gameboy Advance at the time, and Shantae may have suffered poor sales as a result. But Shantae received positive reviews, and it was ported to 3DS Virtual Console in 2013. 2010 saw the release of a sequel on DSi called Shante: Risky’s Revenge, which was later enhanced and ported to platforms like Wii U, PC, and PS4. Then, in 2015, the third Shantae title was released for Wii U and 3DS. It’s now been ported to Switch, and we’re here with all the details.
For years the Shantae series has charmed players with its quirky humor, bright sprite artwork, and exploration-driven adventure, with each new story building upon the happenings of prior titles. With Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse being the third installment (a fourth—Shantae: Half-Genie Hero—was crowdfunded and released in 2016), you may not completely understand the game’s story when you first start out, but you’ll quickly catch on. And if you want a headstart on understanding the basics, here’s what you should know: Shantae has lost her genie powers, and when she discovers that the evil Pirate Master is trying to revive himself using Dark Magic, she teams up with former pirate foe Risky Boots to access her useful pirate gear. But the gear is scattered among the game’s seven islands, so Shantae and Risky Boots must explore widely to find it. Along the way, they’ll collect any pieces of Dark Magic they might find in an effort to keep this evil force away from the evil Pirate Master.
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is clearly a Metroidvania-style title, since exploration lets you find items that can strengthen your abilities and grant access to previously unreachable areas. You’ll have to backtrack if you want to properly beat this game, and we’re happy to report that backtracking is is easy thanks to an item that can teleport you to your ship at any time. In fact, backtracking is fun; the game’s classic 2D platforming design is a pleasure to navigate, and finding/accessing new areas you couldn’t reach before is super-satisfying. Of course, exploration brings enemy encounters, and for a while, your only weapon will be Shantae’s signature hair-whip. But don’t worry; this arsenal will expand as you explore and find new items. Along your journey, you’ll explore seven unique islands, each home to an evil dungeon housing puzzles,enemies (including bosses), and Risky’s lost pirate gear, which serve as updates for Shantae. (Risky’s pirate gear includes a pistol, a hat, and a scimitar!)
The game’s graphics capture perfectly the classic feel of a retro 2D adventure platformer while adding a few fresh updates, like smooth in-game menus. The game’s bright sprite graphics are perfect for depicting a wide variety of landscapes, like underground caverns, spooky graveyards, and countryside cornfields. While these sprite graphics dominate gameplay, the cut-scene character art is sharp, detailed, and well-designed. Shantae’s sound works in tandem with these graphics to make you feel immersed in whatever environment you’ve found yourself in, and the Switch’s HD rumble will pull you even deeper into the experience.
So is this new port a Nintendeal? We think so! It’s perfect for veterans and newcomers alike, and as newcomers ourselves, we’ve quickly grown fond of the game’s quirky antics, intriguing story, and exciting adventure. We’re excited to play the other games in the Shantae series and gain a deeper understanding of the series’ overarching story—and if you like what you’ve seen in this review, you may want dive into these other titles, too! But whether you’re new to the franchise or looking for another playthrough, why not give this new port a shot today?
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – WayForward
Developer – WayForward
Price – $19.99
Genre – Action, Platformer, Adventure
Size – 476 MB
Nick and Sarah are the ultimate gaming couple. Nick is a Super Mario Maker 2 enthusiast, but working with Nintendeal has fostered a love for tough-as-nails indies such as Enter the Gungeon, Celeste, and Cuphead. Sarah prefers sim games like Animal Crossing, Don’t Starve, and Stardew Valley, but she challenges herself by grinding Slay the Spire from time to time.