Sit your lily ♥♥♥ down because I'm about to tell you the story about one of the greatest IP's in gaming history.
Shantae originally came out on Game Boy Color in 2001. If you're a normal person, you didn't know this until just now. Even though it didn't sell very well, it was critically acclaimed and in fact, often ranks high in lists of the best GBC games. Aside from just being an absolute blast, it pushed the technocological barriers of the GBC to the max, creating the nicest looking game on the system, hands down.
And then they made a second one.
Capcom, deciding that Shantae wouldn't sell to the masses (but when has Capcom been right?), decided NOT to publish the sequel, known as Shantae Advance. Skip forward six years, and Wayforward finally manages to publish their own game for the 3DS, but this beauty right here didn't come out until 2010.
So what is Shantae: Risky's Revenge? The best ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ platformer on this planet, that's what (at least until Pirate's Curse and Half-Genie Hero comes out). It takes place shortly after the original Shantae, pitting the eponymous half-genie belly dancer against her rival, Risky Boots, the sexy pirate. I won't ruin the story, because it seems elementary at most, but ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ does the game play great.
The graphics are reminiscent of a SNES game, but plays much more smoothly. It's an art style that some will undoubtedly hate, but that's the way it is. The music. Jesus Christ of Al Qaeda, I could write an entire novel on why Jake Kaufman is one of the most underrated composers of all time. The songs sound great and add to the atmosphere of the game (just sit down for a while in Tangle Forest, you won't regret it), and many of the most famous tunes from the original Shantae were remastered for this game too (such as Burning Town and the boss theme). The gameplay is your standard platformer: jump and attack. You also have the option to equip magic spells and backdash (sounds a bit like Symphony of the Night, eh?) Additionally, Shantae learns a few dances throughout her journey that allow her to turn into animals such as a monkey and elephant that are needed to progress.
The world is colorful and brimming with life, which reflects well on all the other characters (even Risky Boots herself pops out and has a vibrant personality). The game follows the concept of Metroidvania, which means you can roam freely around a 2D world, but can't access specific areas without finding certain objects first. Luckily, the game does a good job of hinting at where you should go so we don't feel like we're being dragged along. The characters are unique, and along with an excellent script, display their own personalities and mannerisms. The script isn't too indepth or intricate, but it's enough to give the characters their own sense of uniqueness (Abner Cadaver's a damn good example).
There are two complains though. Two major flaws that strike early on: the control layout, and the map.
Honestly, it is a ♥♥♥♥ing miracle I survived the tutorial battle. You're not given any prompts on how to attack, which wouldn't be a problem with a controller, but a keyboard has a ♥♥♥♥ton of keys. My only advice is to go the options beforehand and change most, if not, all the pre-existing keys. After a few minutes of tinker(bats)ing, I managed to find a layout that wouldn't make my hand cramp after a few minutes of playing.
The map is the spawn of Satan. What the ♥♥♥♥ was Wayforward thinking when they designed it. I've been playing this game for (at the current time of the review) 6 hours, and I cannot figure out which way I am supposed to be looking at it. It's difficult to explain, but once you see a picture of the map, you'll understand the reason it sucks.
Overall, 10/10, would ♥♥♥♥ Shantae