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Saturday, April 2, 2022

Shantae: Risky's Revenge

After the original picked up a cult following, demand was high for Shantae to make a return.  After several unsuccessful attempts to revive the series (the best-known being the cancelled "Shantae 2: Risky Revolution") WayForward finally got an opportunity in 2010, releasing Risky's Revenge as a downloadable title for DSiWare.  It carried on the strengths of its predecessor quite well, with its gorgeous animation, memorable cast of characters and platforming gameplay, though it also addresses some of the original's prominent shortcomings. Permanent powerups were now a thing (with attack spells operating off a replenishable magic bar instead of being disposable items), Shantae moves considerably quicker and traversing stages is less arduous in general, there are far fewer cheap shots from offscreen enemies, monsters take fewer hits to take down, there are fewer blind jumps (usually you're given some sort of visual cue, like trees growing from platforms) and the superfluous lives system and day/night cycle are both gone.  It still suffers from some hiccups, though - the awkward multi-tiered stages are rather annoying to navigate, requiring frequent zig-zagging back and forth to find platforms that let you hop between them, and the map system is difficult to follow for the same reason.  It's a very short game too, with only three dungeons and a relatively small overworld compared to just about every other metroidvania game I've ever played. The devs took advantage of this to add some replay value, with an unlockable 'magic mode' (halves cost of all magic abilities, but you take double damage in return) and multiple endings dependent on finishing the game quickly enough and collecting all the items in it.  But even with some hiccups in its design, Risky's Revenge is a much more polished and entertaining title than the first Shantae, and its success set the series up for bigger, better games to come.

Developer: WayForward
Publisher: WayForward
Released: 2010
Platforms: Nintendo DSi, iOS, PC, Playstation 4, Wii U, Switch, XBox One, Stadia, Playstation 5