- Publisher: WayForward
- Developer: WayForward
- Nintendo DS: 4 October 2010
- iOS: 27 Oct 2011
- PC: 15 July 2014
- Genre: 2D Action
- Players: 1
- Save: 3 files
- Rarity/Cost: DLC, US$10
But then as the seventh console generation bloomed into maturity, an alternate avenue appeared: self-publishing games via digital distribution became viable for home consoles and handhelds. And it was through these channels that in 2010, our half-genie hero finally was bestowed upon her a sequel: Shantae: Risky's Revenge on the Nintendo DSi shop. It was soon followed up by a port for iOS devices, and after further delays, a "director's cut" edition for PC, via the Steam store, no less.
The story of Risky's Revenge takes what I like to call the Mad-Libs approach to writing a sequel: use the same general concepts as its predecessor, switching about characters and/or objects as needed. This time around, Shantae, the half-genie guardian of Scuttle Town, visits her uncle Mimic to witness a treasure he found on his off-screen exploits. Such MacGuffin item, in the form of a magic lamp, is promptly stolen by lady pirate Risky Boots (hence the title). She can't use it without three magic seals, so Shantae and Mimic come up with the bright idea of finding all the seals before Risky. Good luck with that... I may have been a bit cynical in describing the plot, but there are some genuinely moving moments here and there, such as when the mayor of Scuttle Town sells the town deed, and at numerous points when Shantae's half-blood heritage instill in her doubts vis-a-vis her ability to properly protect her home town. There's some choice humour to be had as well; you owe it to yourself to speak with the NPCs about Scuttle Town every now and then.
|The Squid Baron, one of a small handful of bosses to be fought.|
|The use of attack items is controlled by a magic meter.|
One thing that WayForward didn't cheap out on, however, are the visuals. The graphics in Risky's Revenge are roughly analogous to what the Super Nintendo or even the PSone could put out, and as with the first game, the animations are superb. From the way Shantae's baggy trousers flutter in the wind while taking a long fall (with no falling damage), to the death animations of certain enemies, to the 2D jiggle physics, there are a lot of details to take in. And composer Jake Kaufman once again hits it out of the park, combining Arabian-style melodies, modern beats, and retro-game aesthetics. Sure, most of the songs appear to be re-tooled tracks from the original game, but it still works.
Come to think of it, one could apply that argument to the game at large. A lot of this game's structure comes across as updated iterations of the first Shantae's components. From the design of certain overworld and underworld setpieces, to the plot itself, as I previously described, it wouldn't have taken much more work for WayForward to have just made an updated re-release of the original game. (Which was also my biggest problem with Sonic 4, if you recall. Still good though.) A little more originality would've helped the game, but make no mistake. What we've got here is well-tuned, clever, and engaging. Shantae: Risky's Revenge deserves to be bought, if only to shower a little extra attention on a deserving young franchise. And judging by the upcoming one-two punch of Shantae and the Pirate's Curse and Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, combined with the recent digital re-release of her hard-to-find debut title, she may just have a new lease on life.
+ A few gameplay changes (i.e. the Magic Meter) work in this game's favour.
+ Some great story moments, both comedic and dramatic.
+ The animations are still gorgeous, but no longer limited by 8-bit hardware.
+ Ditto for the soundtrack.
- A little short compared to the first game.
- Some features from the first game have been downsized or cut out completely.
Control: 5 transformations out of 5
Design: 3 transformations out of 5
Graphics: 5 transformations out of 5
Audio: 5 transformations out of 5
The Call: 85% (B+)