Review: Shantae: Risky's Revenge Director's Cut

 Ret-2-Go once more!

Console: Nintendo Switch

The history behind Shantae: Risky's Revenge Director's Cut is an interesting one. While the original Shantae was a critical success, it sold poorly. Releasing it on the Gameboy Colour at a time when the Gameboy Advance was the hip, new console on the block can be blamed for that. Developer WayForward thus put the franchise on the back burner but didn't forget about it entirely. Eight years after the original and two consoles later, it released the official sequel, Risky's Revenge, on the DSi shop. Originally meant to be an episodic title, it was eventually decided to make it a traditional single game. This resulted in quite a bit of cut-content, though from the looks of it, this is what formed the basis for the third game in the series: Pirate's Curse. Shantae: Risky's Revenge was received pretty well on the DSi. 

As part of a promotion and preview of the "Costume Swap" stretch goal for Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, Shantae received an alternate dancer costume in the form of a new mode. This, alongside some other minor updates, was later released as its own separate game: Shantae: Risky's Revenge Director's Cut. This upgraded version of the game came to the Nintendo Switch a few months ago, and that's the version of the game I'm reviewing today.

So, is this 10-year-old game still worth your time and money today? For what it is, yes.
Let's dive in.

Things have been quiet in Scuttle Town since Shantae clashed with the notorious pirate Risky Boots. During the annual Relics Hunters Expo, her Uncle Mimic unveil his latest find: an ordinary-looking lamp encased in stone. It's at this moment Risky Boots crashes the expo and steals the lamp. Shantae confronts her but is eventually knocked out, allowing Risky to escape. Blaming the half-genie for the town being in disarray and failing to do her job properly, the Mayor of Scuttle Town fires her as the town's guardian. That doesn't stop Shantae though and she decides to go after Risky and get the mysterious lamp back. Along the way, Shantae will have to collect the three Magic Seals and deal with the 'Barons' of Sequin Land.

That's all she wrote for the game's story, there really isn't much to it. Something gets stolen, you're tasked with finding 3 magic McGuffins then you fight the boss and it's over. These type of games, platformers, traditionally don't have much story to begin with. The barebone story is thus nothing out of the ordinary, especially if you consider the game's short length. The game will last you around 5 hours if you play leisurely. Play the game at a quicker pace and you can finish it in one sitting, in one day. The game is short and while that's basically what was advertised (with its low price and all) I still felt that it could have been longer. The whole' it was meant to be episodic but got cut down' thing was something I could clearly feel here. 

To be fair, the game does have more things to offer. There are quite a few collectables and secret areas to find, there are four different endings you can unlock and there is the magic mode. Shantae's wears the aforementioned Costume swap while her magic abilities are increased at the costs of her defences. It's essentially just a Hard mode, but one with a spiffy new costume. The signature 'punchy' writing style and the general atmosphere is still very much as good as it has always been. That's definitely in the story's favour. The soundtrack is also still as fantastic as ever and the graphics aren't too shabby either, making this game a treat to both look at and listen to.

For old DS graphics, I find that they hold up quite well. You can also see the border added in the Switch version here.

The 'multiple layers' gimmick that the game goes for is neat but feels underutilised. It's really only a factor in two areas and that's it. A bit of a shame, but oh well. It's not that the game needed this gimmick to be any good, so it's not that big of a deal. What is a much bigger issue is the map. It's just not any good. Its sorely lacking in explanation and markers in the overworld and doesn't even exist in dungeons. Yeah, that map should've been a whole lot better than this.

The last thing I want to mention before moving on to the conclusion is fast travel, the warp points. These warp points have been improved compared to the original, that's definitely a welcoming change in the Director's Cut. In the original, a Warp point was solely connected to just one other warp point on the map. Here, you can warp to any other warp point from you like.


All in all, Shantae: Risky's Revenge Director's Cut is a good little game. It has its own fair share of problems, from the bad map to it feeling generally unpolished, but these problems don't hold the game down too much. For the price that you pay for it, you get a good and above all fun little adventure with one of gaming's more unique characters.
If you're a fan of platformers, or Shantae herself, Risky's Revenge Director's Cut is a game worth your consideration.