Review: Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition

I think 2018 is going to be the year I play the most Metroidvania Platforming titles that I’ve played in a long while, and we have another great example of what the genre can offer in Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition. The belly dancing genie indie darling is back once again in another full adventure. While we’ve covered previous titles on this website, let me explain why of all the Shantae series entries, Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition is the one you must play.

30 Second Review

+ Multiple Game Modes

+ Amazing Graphics

+ Fun For The Family

– Slightly Difficult

– Short Experience

Dance Dance Baby

Shantae is back baby! I’ve always loved this game series, but Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition really is the ultimate experience in the series to date. For anyone who doesn’t know, here’s some background information: the reason why Shantae is a half genie, is because only her mother was a genie, so she’s half mortal and half genie. Now she may be half and half, but she’s all platformer.

Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition features several modes of play:

  • Main Game: This is the story mode.
  • Hero Mode: Starts you off with all the powers, and you just speed run through to see how fast you can beat the game.
  • Hardcore Mode: This mode is for those people that want a punishing Metroidvania experience. It will test your skills.
  • Pirate Queen’s Quest: Allows you to take control of the character Risky Boots and play an alternate story line.
  • Friends To The End: Gives you the control over the characters Sky, Bolo, and Rottytops in a brand new adventure.
  • Ninja Mode: Grants Shantae a Ninja Gaiden like play experience.
  • Beach Mode: Allows Shantae to work on her tan while defeating the baddies.
  • Officer Mode: Mighty Switch Force was also made by the developer Wayforward in addition to Shantae, and they grant that same game play experience from Mighty Switch Force to Shantae. Last but not least was a free DLC update in
  • Jammie’s Mode: Free DLC update in which you pillow fight in your jammies and throw sheep at your enemies. Also in an added bonus it has a new transformation dance where you become Sophia III from Blaster Master Zero.

As you can see, there is plenty to do

Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition features some really unique level designs that you’re not going to find in other platformers. Some of the levels you’re going to have to step back and really absorb in what you’re looking at. The key to making your way through the level is in front of you, but if you’re not looking closely, you may not see it.

I love the graphics in Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition. This is the most beautiful Shantae game made to date. I could just stare at the backgrounds and art and just enjoy my experience. Shantae has a lot of humor; the game never takes itself to seriously as far as the atmosphere. The gameplay, however, that is serious business. You will die, you will die in the same spot multiple times, but when you overcome that section that was giving you trouble, you really get a sense of accomplishment for finally getting past that segment.

Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition has a dance transformation system, and this system is key to all the backtracking and getting into secret areas. Shantae belly dances to the beat and then turns into a creature like a monkey or a crab, and then in that transformed form, you use the abilities to get to the secret. For example, the monkey transformation allows you to climb walls, so you’ll get to areas you were not able to reach otherwise by climbing.

Speed Runners, Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition is a game developed with speed running in mind. So if you are into the speed running scene or looking for a game that you can start working towards that as a goal, I recommend this game. You don’t even have to worry about remembering where items and locations are, because at the start of the mode they just give you everything and say, “Now beat the game.” There is a supported speed running category and community, so feel free to join it.

Now Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition is rated by the ESRB as T for Teen for Suggestive Themes and Cartoon Violence. I’m going to go ahead and disagree with this rating. I think this game should be okay for ages 10+. The cartoon violence is really mild. I played Castlevania at Age 7, and I don’t think Shantae is any worse than that. As far as the suggestive themes, you got Shantae running around in a genie outfit, that’s kind of expected for who she is, so I don’t think this is a big deal.

Hit Me Baby One More Time

Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition is for everyone in my opinion, but if you’re a casual gamer, this is your warning: The game has a degree of difficulty at times that was meant for the platformer crowd. They know who their audience is, and they made a game for that audience. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play it; just don’t expect hand holding and a lot of help. If you do get stuck on what to do next, you can go to the bath house and get 1 hint as to what you should be doing. So if you need more help than that, might I recommend YouTube.

You can beat the main story of Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition in 8 hours. You can do it even quicker than that if you really know what you are doing. The game does have replayability, especially with the extra modes, but the short gameplay experience for the main game is something that some gamers may want to take into consideration before purchasing this title.

Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition doesn’t really introduce the characters to you. It just kind of expects you to already know the characters because they are all returning characters from previous entries in the Shantae series. This may be a little off putting for new players, but you can look up and find out more about any character you want to online. If this is your first Shantae, and you are looking for more, than you may also want to check out Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse.

Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition can be played in Docked, Hand held, and Table top. If you’re playing in Hand held mode, surprisingly the battery life is only 4 hours. I’m guessing this is because of how detailed the game is. I certainly expected to get at least 5 hours. That does let you play though half the game on one charge, though.

Physical or Digital

Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition is getting a physical copy release. However, the cost of the cartridge does come at a price, $39.99 USD. It’s also available digitally on the Nintendo eShop, but for only $27.00 USD. So you may want to take that in consideration before purchasing. If you’re buying online, make sure to buy the Ultimate Edition, because there is a base game of Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero available for $19.99 USD, but it doesn’t come with any of the extra modes that I mentioned above. The DLC can be purchased seperately, but you’re going to end up spending more money than if you would have bought the Ultimate Edition.

Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero Ultimate Edition’s file size is 2.7 GB, so for an indie game, it’s kind of big. I stored my copy on the main hard drive, but that may be something to take into consideration for acquiring a physical copy. If you don’t already own a microSD card, then you may want to consider purchasing one of those as well.