Shantae: Risky's Revenge – Director's Cut is a PlayStation 4 port of the 2010 Metroidvania game by WayForward Technologies. Originally released on the Nintendo DSi, the title belly danced to the PC this time last year, and now it's finally the turn of Sony format fans to get their hands on the release.
This is actually the second of four titles in the Shantae series, but skipping the first entry doesn't really create any issues when it comes to understanding the plot. To be honest, all you really need to know is that there's a character named Risky, and she, er, wants revenge.
Unsurprisingly, you'll take control of Shantae, a half-genie who uses her hair to attack and belly dances to transform into different spirit animals. Like any good Metroidvania title, you'll collect more animals and abilities as the game goes on, keeping proceedings fairly fresh.
While it's definitely been inspired by action platformers of yore, this title isn't quite as difficult as some of its inspirations; it's not a cake walk, but it's not irritatingly challenging either. At most this is a moderately tricky title, which is to its credit, as it allows the gameplay to shine through.
Sure, you won't find anything especially groundbreaking here, but it's good, uncomplicated fun – and sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered. In short it's a great filler release, which will keep you smiling from start-to-finish without ever doing anything especially memorable at all.
If we had to point to a highlight, we'd probably select the presentation, as it augments the experience with a distinctly retro feel. In many ways, it's reminiscent of the original Prince of Persia titles. Given the age of the package, it does adopt borders, but this protects the aspect ratio, which is a good call. Much like Grim Fandango Remastered, it's easy to tune out of these after a little while.
Shantae: Risky's Revenge is a solid game. Inoffensive gameplay and a light challenge paired with pleasing retro art and music blend to create a thoroughly pleasing experience. The game isn't particularly innovative or surprising, but at the end of the day, it's good fun. Given that this is a slow period for new releases, you could do much worse than shaking your booty to this.