I Dream of Shantae HalfGenie Hero

first_imgStay on target If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you also have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new Zelda is a massive, phenomenal game that you can and should play for dozens of hours. But eventually, you’re going to want to play something new on your Nintendo console/handheld hybrid. Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda is a new column highlighting cool, smaller Switch games to check out once you’ve saved Hyrule.Shantae is a such a weird little cult series. The original game hit the Game Boy Color all the way back in 2002 after the Game Boy Advance was already a thing. And for nearly a decade that was it. But after enough fan clamoring (and licensed games paying the bills) WayForward’s signature platforming series came back in a big way. All of a sudden we had multiple new Shantae games to play on DS, 3DS, mobile, PC, and home consoles. They even began to sort of blend together.Shantae: Half-Genie Hero stands out not just because it’s the most recent entry. It’s also the first entry design specifically for consoles and not handhelds with pixelated screens. I backed the Kickstarter and played a bit of the game on Wii U, but now that this not-Zelda game has been saved by the Nintendo Switch, I can finally tell you about this dream of a genie adventure.Shantae games have always been classic action-platforming games that tend to lean more towards the Castlevania side of the Metroidvania equation, and not just because Shantae’s purple hair attack is extremely whip-like. Players jump through treacherous environments, defeat monsters, activate magic items, and buy upgrades.As you progress, you gain access to different animal transformations by dancing, allowing you to explore familiar spaces in new ways. You can climb as a monkey, charge as an elephant, fly as a bat, swim as a mermaid, and more. Stringing multiple powers together becomes extremely satisfying because just when it feels like you’re so powerful you’ll break the game, the level design becomes smart enough to adjust to your new skills and really show off.Although you’ll definitely need to return to old areas with new transformations, in general Half-Genie Hero isn’t quite as interconnected and nonlinear as its predecessors. You actually travel to discrete levels on a world map and there’s more of an emphasis on straightforward platforming than exploring. The game is also a little short as a result.Fortunately, the platforming is great and inventive, throwing out new ideas like racing on flying carpets or hanging on fish hooks in a fake mermaid cannery. Inti Creates, developers of great Switch action-platformers Blaster Master Zero and Mighty Gunvolt Burst, even gave WayForward a hand since they’re fans of the series. But look elsewhere to really scratch the Metroid itch.However, the biggest difference between Half-Genie Hero and past Shantae games is the upgrade to gorgeous, illustrated HD visuals. Sprite-based Shantae games always had fantastic, detailed, pixel animation. But seeing those artists unrestrained is a visual feast. Shantae herself is a ball of energy, always perky and bouncing to the music sung by her own voice actress. The different levels of the vaguely middle-eastern (in a Super Mario Bros. 2 kind of way) world, like sand tombs and pirate hideouts, pulse with life and color and expression. On the Switch it looks like a revelation considering past handheld entries of the series. It felt like one too thanks to the generous HD rumble support.If you haven’t yet played Shantae: Half-Genie Hero now is a great time to fix that, and even if you have you should revisit in time for the character-swapping pirate DLC out soon. As always, it’s on the Switch, it’s not Zelda, and it’s very good.Want to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch.Buy it now!The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WindNintendo SwitchEssential Nintendo Switch AccessoriesView as: One Page Slides1/51. The bosses fights typically break from the game’s strict 2D platforming.2. Different animal transformations let you explore the levels in new ways.3. Using magic spells to vanquish foes.4. This is the first Shantae game with HD, illustrated art, and the wait was worth it.5. Instead of exploring one connected world, fly to different levels on a map.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. ‘Star Wars Pinball’ Has Your Favorite Brand in Ball FormSNES Games Officially Come to Nintendo Switch last_img

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