Shantae: Risky's Revenge is the first sequel to Wayforward's original action platformer on the Game Boy Color, Shantae. The game was first released as a DSiWare title in 2010 and was later ported to several other platforms including iOS in 2011, the PC in 2014, PlayStation 4 in 2015 as well as the Wii U in 2016.
Risky's Revenge is a culmination of work done since 2002, at which point work began on a Shantae Sequel for the Game Boy Advance. The game was used as a demo on many different platforms in the intervening 8 years, including PSP, Wii, and DS, until it was decided to be turned into a DSiWare release instead of a full-fledged retail title. The final game features many artifacts from those previous prototypes, such as Shantae's character sprite.
Upon the title's initial announcement in 2009 Wayforward explained that Risky's Revenge would be an episodic game consisting of three-parts. However this idea was eventually scrapped and the final game was released as a single title.
Shantae: Risky's Revenge is a side-scrolling action-platformer taking many structural cues from Metroid. The entire gameplay world is a relatively continuous space, with certain areas inaccessible to Shantae until she acquires the appropriate shape-shifting with which she can reach them. These abilities (described below in Forms) allow her to vault across wide horizontal expanses; ram through stone barriers; and swim underwater. There is one town in the game which acts as a central hub for the game, though it doesn't technically lie exactly in the "center" of the game world and it isn't disconnected from the other areas of the game.
At various points in the game, Shantae will be tasked with simple fetch quests that involve her finding an item in one area of the game world and bringing it to the appropriate recipient (not always the requester) in another. These serve to advance the story as well as unlock fortresses that house boss characters she must defeat.
Combat and Handling
Shantae is nimble and can walk, run, jump, crouch, crawl under low spaces, and backwards-dash. She can change her direction mid-jump. She can also swim, but initially she can't dive into the depths of the sea as she simply floats back up to the surface whenever she tries. Her primary attack involves her whipping foes with her long ponytail. Shantae can only attack with this method to the left or right of her. In general, her primary attack does not knock back enemies that can sustain multiple hits, so Shantae is able to repeatedly hit them with rapid successive ponytail strikes. In addition to damaging enemies, Shantae can also destroy certain bricks and vases with her ponytail.
Shantae can also employ magic to attack with projectile and orbiting barriers. Each use of a projectile reduces her magic meter by a set amount. For orbiting barriers, the magic meter is continually drained based on how long the barrier is kept activated. Shantae also fires off a bubble as her primary attack when in mermaid form (see Forms below).
Items and Currency
Shantae purchases the aforementioned magic from the item shop in town, where she can also purchase curative items for her health and magic meter, as well as upgrades for her hair (to allow for faster whipping) and a map of the game world. Items are purchased with gems, dropped by defeated enemies and found in treasure chests and vases. Some require magic jams, which are a finite pickup scattered across the game world.
Items and Spells
- Potions - These recover several hearts of Shantae's health. They are sold in the item shop for 10 gems, or 25 gems for a pack of three potions. Though these can be used whenever Shantae wishes, Shantae can also find potions that take instant effect by breaking vases or defeating enemies.
- Magic Vial - These recover a set amount of Shantae's magic bar. They are sold in the item shops for 15 gems, or 40 gems for a pack of three vials. Though these can be used whenever Shantae wishes, Shantae can also find vials that take instant effect by breaking vases or defeating enemies.
- Fire-based magic - Fire magic can be purchased in three levels from the shop: a fireball for 30 gems; Spitfire (a triple fireball) for 50 gems and a bottle of magic jam; and a Flamethrower (continuous stream) for 300 gems and 2 bottles of magic jam.
- Puffs - Despite the name, the Storm puff (50 gems), the Crush puff (125 gems, 1 jam) and the Mega Puff (250 gems, 2 jams) are powerful magical attacks emitted by storm clouds that Shantae deploys. Once deployed in an area, the storm clouds hover around that space and throw out the attacks of their own volition.
- Pike ball shields - The pike ball shields act as an orbiting barrier around Shantae, similar to the special attacks found in the Mega Man franchise (from Wood Man and Skull Man, to name two examples) or Ryu's Invincible Fire Wheel from Ninja Gaiden. Each increasing level adds one pike ball to the mix, for a total of three pike balls. (Pike ball: 50 gems; Super pike ball: 150 gems and 1 jam; Mega Pike ball: 300 gems and 2 jams)
- Attract Magic - This draws dropped items from enemies to Shantae when she comes near them, without requiring her to come in direct contact with them in order to pick them up. It is an always-on upgrade and does not drain her magic meter. (100 gems, 1 jam)
- Magic Fill - This spell gradually fills Shantae magic meter over time. This is always active once purchased. (150 gems, 1 jam)
- Hair creams - The Silky Cream (200 gems, 3 jams) and Super Silky Cream (300 gems, 3 jams) increases the speed at which Shantae attacks with her ponytail, allowing her to land more hits on her enemies in a shorter amount of time.
- Sequin Land Map - Displays a map of the entire gameworld, including a very rough layout of underground caverns.
As a genie, Shantae is--naturally--a belly dancer. Throughout the game, she gains the ability to shapeshift into different animal forms depending on what belly dance she executes. Mechanically, on DS platforms this is achieved by holding down the X button and then releasing it after a certain amount of time. How long the player holds down the button before releasing it determines which dance move she stops on, which in turn determines which form she takes on.
- Monkey - The first form she finds, Shantae shifts into a tiny monkey when she ends the dance during her first move. As a monkey, Shantae can climb on walls as well as jump farther and higher than she can normally. Further into the game, Shantae acquires an upgrade to the monkey form that allows her to rocket across wide horizontal expanses. This allows her to reach areas that were previously blocked by large chasms. She cannot attack in this form.
- Elephant - The second form she finds, Shantae shifts into a large elephant who can charge into and destroy large stone blocks. She can also demolish the stone golems that block her path from some of the later areas in the game.
- Mermaid - The final form she finds, Shantae shifts into a mermaid capable of diving deep into the water, allowing her to access underwater areas. Further into the game, Shantae acquires an upgrade to the mermaid form that allows her to fire off a bubble that damages enemies and destroys certain underwater barriers. Without this upgrade, Shantae cannot attack in this form at all.