Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a sassy side scrolling platforming adventure full of action and memorable characters. The story begins with the Pirate Master awakening in his tomb vowing that soon he will unleash all sorts of enigmatic, End Boss-like havoc across the land. Meanwhile, Shantae awakens to a more pressing matter. Scuttletown, which she has sworn to protect, is being shelled by the Ammo Baron.
She fights her way to him using her primary attack of whipping his minions with her hair. After defeating him, an ironic turn of events finds Shantae teaming up with her old nemesis, the pirate Risky. She tells Shantae about the Pirate Master’s plans, and that their unlikely alliance will be the only thing to defeat him and return Risky’s crew to her. Traveling between the islands you must ultimately find the island’s evil den which has the map needed to progress the story to the next area.
Along the way there are many colorful characters to meet, with quests that they need you to do for them. Some of these will be local quests that need to be fulfilled in order to progress the immediate story, while others will have you traveling to a different island to find what they require. There are also pirate weapons and gear that help reach new areas which keeps revisiting the islands fresh. Returning to Scuttletown lets you visit the shops for items and health upgrades between missions. It is also has a save point which is useful if a recent point has not been discovered in the island that you are currently on.
The game has a retro feel with vibrant backgrounds and animated elements that really shine. Shantae and the NPCs all bop along energetically to the soundtrack, giving it a fun, party feel.
The story is relayed by scrolling text with voice acting used only for accenting certain points. Enemies are varied, and never feel recycled giving character to each new area discovered. The puzzles are challenging without being mind bending, and some require a certain amount of backtracking to complete. Saving whenever possible spares losing too much progress in the levels.
Although there are checkpoints at key parts, a misstep can cause major backtracking without diligent use of save points. The game is easily accessible, and the controls are satisfyingly responsive.
This is the best side scrolling platformer that I have played in a while. There is no second guessing the controls. The level designs are thoughtful and challenging without being frustrating.
Enemies and NPCs are unique to each level, making each new area a different experience. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse can be enjoyed by all ages. The characters are fun, yet flirty.
The story is easy to follow along, although the dialog can become innocently innuendo heavy at times appealing to a more mature audience. The quest aspect keeps the story engaging, while the puzzles keep you thinking. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is truly a solid platforming experience.
Shantae and the Pirate's Curse Review on Xbox One
Review Code provided by WayForward