The Shantae series has been around for almost twenty years and it has gone from strength to strength. The first game in the series that I played was 2014’s ‘Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse’ on the Wii U. It was a super fun game that had all the platforming goodness that I love in there. It’s been almost 4 years since the last Shantae game so to say that I have been anticipating the release of ‘Shantae and the Seven Sirens’ is a bit of an understatement.
The story begins with Shantae heading on vacation to a tropical island to attend a festival known as the ‘Half-Genie Festival’. Here she meets several other half-genies each with their own abilities. But of course, something bad has to happen and suddenly all of the half-genies bar Shantae are kidnapped. It might have something to do with the fact that this seemingly tranquil tropical retreat is built atop of an ancient sunken kingdom. It’s never simple when it comes to Shantae’s daily life. The storyline isn’t really important and there isn’t much depth to it but which platform games do have an in-depth story?
The gameplay of Shantae and the Seven Sirens is similar to the previous games but is more in line with the dungeon crawling of the earlier titles rather than the more standard platformer fare of ‘Half Genie Hero’. You delve into the Sunken Kingdom, exploring the areas that you can with more unlocking as your magical abilities grow. This does mean that there is a lot of going back and forth in Seven Sirens which is something I didn’t particularly enjoy. I’m not a big fan of retreading the same areas and unfortunately I felt like I did this a lot in this title. There are numerous bosses throughout each dungeon which you need to defeat to save each half-genie as well as taking on your nemesis Risky Boots once again.
In terms of combat, Shantae has her standard hair-whip attack which is always reliable and can be powered up by purchasing shampoo from the shop. But the new twist in Shantae and the Seven Sirens are the abilities that Shantae obtains from her fellow half-genies. Once you’ve saved one of the half-genies, you can fuse your powers together through the use of a fusion stone. Each of these abilities is animal focused from a wall climbing newt to a rock destroying tortoise. All of these abilities work pretty well and can all be easily accessed from the main buttons – no need to roll up the pause screen and switch it to a different ability. You also have your dance ability that comes with it’s own set of powers from exposing hidden items to healing powers.
Enemies that you defeat will often drop cards. The more of these cards that you collect and the more effective your attacks become against these types of enemies. It’s a neat idea but one I have to say that I didn’t really spend much time paying attention to. There is also a shop where you can buy items to power up your hair as well as other attacks such a spike balls and fire balls.
While all these new powers and features are a welcome addition to the game, I do profess to feeling a little disappointed by the game visually. The overworld is super pretty and there is a lot of diversity in each of the towns that you visit. But the dungeons in the sunken city were all really boring and lacked diversity. Red bricks, blue bricks, green bricks. It all just looked the same and it was a really big disappointment to me from a franchise I’ve come to know for it’s bright and bold aesthetic.
- Solid gameplay
- Cool new powers
- Some great visuals
- Dungeons are dull at times
- Lack of visual diversity in the dungeons
This soup has a lot of great ingredients going for it but it doesn’t hit the highs of the soups that came before it.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.