In 2010, Wayforward released a sequel to the cult classic Shantae on the DSi titled Shantae: Risky’s Revenge. This reboot of the series landed on the new DSiWare service, and was one of the only good games to be offered. Now, after 4 years and many requests from fans, Wayforward has finally brought Shantae: Risky’s Revenge to Steam for everyone to play. It took a while to happen, but was it worth the wait?
In short, no, it wasn’t. However, the details of that will be discussed later on… For now let’s cover gameplay. The game is a Metroidvania, but it is a little more linear than others. This is because the game is more platforming focused, which makes the game feel a little more Castlevania than Metroid. However, this is not a bad thing and makes the game stand out from other, more traditional Metroidvanias. There is a great deal of customization, as you collect gems when you defeat enemies. You can use these gems to buy upgrades at the shop in the game’s hub town, and you can buy upgrades in any order you choose. There are many spells to buy, each with three tiers of upgrades. You can also buy attack upgrades and health and mana boosts.
All in all, no two runs of the game will be the same, and with the natural speed running nature of Metroidvanias, this is a very welcome aspect of the game. The game has very high replayability, and even includes a New Game+ mode exclusive to the Steam version. Once you get to know the game, it is very fun to replay it and try to beat your time or try out different upgrade routes.
The graphics are where the game falls short, and shows that this port had very little effort put into it. Wayforward is known for their beautiful sprites in games such as Thor and and the Mighty series, and Shantae: Risky’s Revenge is no exception. However, the graphics were not changed at all when the game was ported to Steam, and as a result of the DSi’s tiny resolution, the game looks terrible. The normally crisp sprites are blurry, and there is a very small field of vision that can end up making you dizzy if you are playing in fullscreen. Although there is an option to play in the original resolution, it is so small that it is very uncomfortable to play. Despite this, the game does deserve some credit for having native support for XBox 360 controllers. You can customize the controls to you heart’s content, and is an amazing addition to an otherwise lazy port.
The music is great, but nothing exceptional. Wayforward makes some good music, but I have never found it to be as good as their graphics. Although it is very fitting for the game, if you go in expecting a soundtrack on par with Super Mario Galaxy’s you will likely be disappointed. Since this is a Metroidvania, there is, of couse, a lot of backtracking, and the music for some of the more common areas can get quite repetitive later on.
In conclusion, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge is a fantastic game that got a port with a low level of quality it didn’t deserve. Hopefully if Wayforward makes enough from Half-Genie Hero, they will consider updating Risky’s Revenge. Until then, if you have a 3DS or DSi, it is hard to recommend this. If you do not own one of those systems, then you should definitely consider buying this, but I suggest waiting until a sale.