Shantae: Risky’s Revenge (full) is an entertaining 2D platforming adventure, offering a massive amount of fun for just $4.99. Originally making an appearance on DSiWare, a lite version of the game has been available in the app store for some time. The full version has recently been added too, and can be purchased as an in-app purchase that upgrades the lite version, or separately as a standalone full game.
In the game, you play Shantae, a half-genie and resident of Scuttle Town. After a magic lamp is stolen from her uncle, he tells her that it’s dangerous, but can’t reveal why. Its magic is divided into three magic seals: it’s your job to find the seals, to remove the threat posed against the town. The seals are in the possession of three barons, scattered across differently themed environments – forests, deserts and more (all rendered in colourfully brilliant graphics). You travel around these occasionally labyrinthine settings, hunting for the seals. It’s not a brilliant story, but the dialogue is amusing in a trying-too-hard-to-be-funny way, the characters are likeable and it sets up your mission fairly well.
Along the way, you’ll face various types of enemy, from spiders that drop from the ceiling to armoured knights that send shockwaves across the floor towards you. To fight them, you can whip them with your hair or use magic items (purchased from a shop, along with health upgrades, maps and more) like a fireball. You can replenish magic (and health) by breaking the various pots and treasure chests that are dotted around levels and picking up the potions hidden within. Eventually, Shantae unlocks more significant capabilities that make your journey more varied. She acquires the ability to transform into a monkey that can scale walls, allowing you access to new areas in levels, enabling you to progress further through the game.
Thankfully, the controls make everything very easy to do. Although there are a lot of them – a d-pad for movement, action and jump buttons, a ‘stuff’ button for your inventory and more – the layout allows easy access to all of the buttons. The actual game plays out on a square central section of the screen, so the controls don’t get in the way of the action much either. Oddly, there isn’t a pause menu, so if you want to return to the main menu (to switch save files) you’ll have to close the app down and restart it.
That brings me on to another oddity: save points. Rather than automatically saving, as has become a rather convenient iOS convention, you have to save manually upon reaching save rooms. It’s not too large a problem thanks to the iPhone quick start feature, but could lead to issues if you close the app having forgotten to save your progress.
Another issue that I had with the game is that it doesn’t let you listen to your own music. I’ve got nothing against the jingly in-game music, which varies depending upon the environment you’re in, but it’s always nice to have the option to turn it off.
Overall, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge is a fun ride, which will last a good few hours and is easily worth the purchase price. It does come with a few strange omissions, but they’re excusable, doing very little to reduce the quality of the game experience. If you’re a fan of platformers, I suggest that you give this game a go.