PAX EAST 2020 | "Shantae and the Seven Sirens"
When you are in need of a fun platforming Metroidvania, you cannot go wrong with the Shantae franchise. The heroic adventures of the half-genie hero are always chock full of great gameplay, unqiue storytelling, and a wicked strong funny bone. Now nearly reaching its two-decade lifespan, WayForward franchise has decided to give the series a big overhaul with the fifth game in the saga: Shantae and the Seven Sirens.
At the Limited Run Games booth, I had the chance to play the first level of her latest journey. The game starts off with its usual mechanics, as you use your hair whip to attack giant crab enemies and flying bats. But it’s when you are able to use a dash mechanic (with Shantae transforming into an adorable newt in the process) when the gameplay starts to somewhat change. Climbing up walls and activating switches with this move will aid in opening new areas, reveal paths, and even score a little hard-to-reach treasure up in the rafters.
The demo had me come across a familiar face in the form of Risky Boots, as you battle her in a mid-boss fight alongside her Tinkerbat henchmen. It’s a quick fight, but it leads you closer to the main battle, involving a plant beast with some nasty vine attacks and exploding Venus flytraps scattering below. It took a keen eye to figure out her weakness, an ironic one seeing as it involves a certain element plants need to survive. It offered a big challenge during this battle, as one had to keep a keen eye on all of their surroundings in order to aim for the proper attack.
From this first level alone, Shantae and the Seven Sirens offers a big boost of fun and challenges. It does start a bit slow, as the opening sections appear to act as a way to get used to the controls. But within its game system are new styles of leveling up and boosts, including a card-collecting mechanic that will aid in getting your powers raised dramatically. Thus far, the half-genie hero is looking to deliver another exciting and fanciful good time for lovers of side-scrollers, anime-inspired visuals, and — yes — even belly dancing.
Shantae and the Seven Sirens arrives on consoles, PC, and Apple Arcade this Spring.