Title: Shantae and the Seven Sirens
Genre: 2D, Adventure, Metroidvania, Platformer
Release Date: May 28, 2020 (console/PC)
Tested On: Xbox One
Official Site: wayforward.com
There’s nothing like wielding magic. It gives one a sense of power over nature. And while wizards may have powers beyond normal humans, genies are far stronger. But while they do wield magic, even a supernatural being needs a vacation once in a while. Some of them are stuck in lamps, while others are free to do as they please. That’s what Shantae tries to do at least.
Join her on what she calls the ‘first real vacation’ she’s ever had.
Shantae and The Seven Sirens Gameplay
A lot is expected from platform games nowadays. And while some may innovate on old ideas, others stick completely to tradition. When it comes to this particular genre, there aren’t many ways that a game can improve. As this is my first entry into the series, everything regarding the character was new to me.
Much of my travel involved going up to certain levels and down to others. At first, my only ‘power’ was Shantae’s ‘hair-whip’ attack. Only by exploring the island further was I able to gain additional abilities. At certain points in the game, there were places too high for Shantae to reach. After playing for a little while, I was granted the ‘Newt Dash’ ability. It not only allowed me to dash through enemies. I was able to stick to walls as well. In some areas, this was the only way to get to an item I needed to advance.
Only by acquiring powers was I able to do certain things. While the Newt Dash allowed wall-clinging, another brought out invisible platforms. Certain places could not be accessed until I met up with other characters. Unless I found a ‘certain someone,’ there was no way to move the story forward.
Despite the format the game is presented in, developers provided Shantae with a map. While a map can certainly be useful, I personally found it difficult to navigate. It was fairly confusing until I sat aside time to actually examine it. What made it so difficult might have been the lack of labels. It showed individual areas and how to get to them. But the map never indicated where I actually was. It felt like there wasn’t as much direction as there could have been.
Shantae and the Seven Sirens Story
This title was my first introduction to the series. As such, the story began for me here. Shantae has finally managed to get enough free time to take a vacation. Along with family and friends, the half-genie finally has some time to relax. During her stay at the vacation island, the young half-genie meets a few others like herself. While speaking to one, she is informed of something she didn’t know before. Shantae and the five others are all that’s left of those with genie blood.
During a ‘talent show,’ the others disappear but no one knows why. It is up to the half-genie hero to find them. Who attacked the talent show? What is their motivation for doing so? Battling the Sirens is necessary if she wants to save everyone. Only by defeating the seven will she unravel this mystery.
The artwork for a game isn’t always the main attraction. But when it is done well, it can gain the title a fair amount of new fans. While some may use 3D rendered characters, others may choose to use a tapestry-like Dragon Age: Origins. For WayForward’s Shantae and the Seven Sirens, I felt the artwork was extremely well-done. The gameplay art was cute and the colors popped. And while it did shine, I loved the cut scenes even more. I was prepared to give the cut scenes a critical eye. What I liked the most about the cut scenes the anime feel to it. I understand that is the style, but the art was so fun, I almost forgot that I was playing a video game.
I loved the voice acting as well. Despite the ‘cutesy’ tone of voice used, each voice felt right for the character it came out of. As a fan of anime, I couldn’t get enough of the art and humorous voice acting.
Verdict: Shantae and the Seven Sirens is a platform/adventure title by WayForward, offering fans of the series another great entry. The game tells the story of the half-genie’s first vacation, which proves to be a fulfilling and enjoyable adventure. It does have its rough edges, but where it shines makes it extra special. If you’re looking for a solid platformer, Shantae and the Seven Sirens is the game for you.