Shantae’s newest title, the result of a 2013 Kickstarter campaign, was present at XSeed’s booth. Kickstarter games have been under some scrutiny recently, so how does Shantae Half Genie Hero stack up.
If you’ve played a Shantae game before, you should feel right at home with this game. You still whip your hair to defeat foes and the platforming is as solid as ever. Shantae’s magic spells, including fireballs and the ability to create a shield that reduces incoming damage, also return. Of course, Shantae’s signature ability to transform through dancing. In the demo, you could transform into a monkey or a spider. The spider could shoot a web upward to higher platforms and crawl on the ceiling. It wasn’t too useful in the demo, but the monkey, on the other way, was extremely helpful. Even though you couldn’t attack, the monkey could jump higher and cling to walls, making platforming a sinch. Moreso, it was just fun to bop around the level. Additionally, your dance had some other features, including a spell to restore your health.
In the demo, you ran through Scuttle Town as it was under siege by series villain Risky Boots and her crew. The level featured fairly standard platforming; however, there were some disappearing blocks ala the classic Megaman games that seemed a bit tricky for this early in the game. The enemies were standard fare and were easy to defeat. Often, metal pods would be launched onto the stage that would spawn enemies until they was destroyed. There were also a few secrets that you could find, both being magic attacks for the transformations. It was a nice surprise to find some hidden goodies, and we can likely expect more in the final game. The level was interesting and fun to play through.
The demo concluded with a boss fight with Risky’s ship, the Tinkerslug. To defeat it, you had to ring a bell and then climb up to a higher platform with an explosive barrel. Of course, the Tinkerslug would fire a volley of cannonballs to impede your progress. Once you introduced the barrel to its face, you could whale on the Tinkerslug with you hair whip. After about three time, you would defeat the ship and complete the level. The boss battle wasn’t too tricky, but other people playing had some difficulty avoiding the cannon fire.
One of the biggest surprises of the game was actually the graphics. The game uses a style similar to Ducktales: Remastered with flat looking sprites and a 3D world. But the graphics really pop out. The water, especially, is surprisingly detailed. The models are surprising vibrant and the animations are superb and really help to breath life into the characters.
Overall, the game is solid and a lot of fun. The transformations have some interesting uses and will likely standout more in the full game. It will definitely be a title for Wii U owners to keep an eye out on.
Check out: Straight from the Source: James Montagna (WayForward) for an in depth chat with one of the developers from Way Forward!