Shantae: Risky’s Revenge was originally developed for the DS and was released to acclaim. It was a charming Metroid-vania style platformer with a charming colorful art direction and when I saw it was ported to the pc and discounted, I finally took the opportunity to check it out.
It had a bubbly, fantastical old school sensibility. Belly dancing half-genies feuded with pirates and were best friends with zombies because why not? It’s fun. I explored the town and wandered around for a while. Everything was going swimmingly, aside from a few hiccups trying to figure out how to transition between screens, until I finally found myself at the first dungeon. I was confronted by the Squid Baron and had to acquire his seal. After a little silly dialogue I was exploring and puzzling my way about. I kept pushing deeper into the labyrinth, making progress, until I eventually looped back in on myself with some newly found powers. I used my new abilities to access previously unavailable areas until I came across a locked. I figured the key must be hidden somewhere further down the path that I’ll now be able to get to with my new ability so I continued along until I looped all the way back to the door again. I still had not found the key. I gave a more thorough search of the area and still came up with nothing. Not wanting my progress stalled, I decided to consult a guide online. I walked through the steps in the guide and I still hadn’t found the key.
I enjoyed Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, but I didn’t love it. Once I hit this wall, I had to make a choice. My free time was limited and frankly, I didn’t want to spend it beating my head against a wall trying to figure out how to progress in a game I wasn’t really all that into to begin with. There are some games where I will gladly put up with a frustrating part and try to overcome it, but I have to love playing the game. The experience of failing itself has to be fun for me to not mind failing, and I have to love the game enough to put up with the obstacle to see the rest of it. Shantae: Risky’s Revenge unfortunately did not fulfill these requirements. I got the hour and a half of fun I could get out of Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, but unfortunately that’s all I was able to get out of it before having to toss it back into the steam pile to rot.