Welcome to TiC’s Indie Spotlight where we will highlight a different indie game on a regular basis that we think deserves your attention. This feature will also showcase the developers behind the magic that is put into the games that captivate our hearts. The indie game scene has seen a huge spike in support and success over the last few years. All well deserved, as indie developers have been putting their heart and soul into their projects to the point that many titles released over the past few years have arguably provided a better experience than many of the high profile AAA games being released.
So without further ado, let’s get started by highlighting this week’s game: Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse and the developers behind this title, WayForward Technologies.
Allow me to introduce WayForward Technologies ladies and gentlemen. These are the creators behind not only the Shantae series, but over 200 titles. That’s a lot of games! WayForward is responsible for the likes of Duck Tales Remastered, Goosebumps the Game, Double Dragon Neon, Contra 4, BloodRayne: Betrayal, and so on and so on. Many of these games I have played and can say from experience, WayForward knows their stuff.
Founded in 1990, WayForward got their start developing games for PC, Sega Genesis, and Super Nintendo. They pride themselves on ensuring that they stick to basic fundamentals of game design and delivering the best in high quality character animations. They are highly respected in the industry and have worked with big time publishers such as, Capcom, Konami, and Ubisoft to name a few. Even though WayForward loves working with publishers to create amazing games, they are committed to creating their own original game series to ensure that they leave their unique mark within the industry. Judging by critically acclaimed games they have created such as the Shantae series I can safely say their impact in this industry has been felt for many years now.
WayForward Company Goal: “We want to create the most entertaining games under the sun. Our goal is to engage, delight, surprise, and match wits with gamers of all ages on whatever devices they can be found! Of course, a little humor along the way never hurts.”
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse was developed for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS and released back in 2014. It is a critically acclaimed indie title that is both loved by gamers and critics alike. The game has recently been released on PS4 and Xbox One this year, and being that I do most of my gaming on PS4 I was finally able to get my hands on this gem. The Pirate’s Curse is actually the third iteration in a series of Shantae games created by Creative Director, Matt Bozon. Now you may be wondering why I am starting with the last rather than the first. Well, it is simple, because the Pirate’s Curse was actually recommended to me and I had no idea there were previous installments until I started playing this one. I have only played a few hours of the game thus far, but I can tell you it has peaked my interest to such a degree that I will most likely play the previous Shantae games.
The Pirate’s Curse stars the charming little half genie known as Shantae. In the previous installment, Shantae lost all of her genie powers so she is currently fully human living in the town of Scuttle that she is sworn to protect. She is forced back into action when her arch nemesis Risky Boots accuses Shantae of stealing all of her pirate gear. After further investigation Risky comes to the realization that her nemesis and ex mentor, The Pirate Master is using Dark Magic to revive himself from an eternal prison. So Shantae and Risky team up to take on this menace which allows the half genie, now full human to utilize some pretty cool pirate weapons and abilities.
The gameplay is a side scrolling, platforming puzzler, which is right up my alley. I’m not going to lie, it took a minute for me to be drawn into the gameplay as I quickly discovered that Shantae’s main attack is whipping her hair at enemies which I felt was extremely ridiculous at first. However, it didn’t take me long to admire the clever platforming sections along with the other weapons and abilities I gained along the way such as; a pike ball that spins around you and kills/damages anything in your path, or the scimitar that can be used to bounce on enemy’s heads or to destroy certain impenetrable surfaces underneath you. The scimitar reminds me a lot of Scrooge McDuck’s cane attack from Duck Tales, which I think is a nice touch.
I can also appreciate the off the wall humor in the game. For example, in one section Shantae and her friends are kidnapped by an Egyptian like cult who mistake them for their “long lost” princess and keep them all against their will. After much travail trying to escape, you confront the cult leader who still claims that you are the princess they have been waiting for and even compares you to the likeness of a statue of an obese young lady. As he is trying to convince you, in walks the obese princess. It turns out that she was at the store for 30 minutes which somehow caused the cult to panic and insist on finding a replacement. It’s silly moments like this combined with the off the wall gameplay that has caused Shantae to have my undivided attention.
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse has left a good impression on me to say the least. The next installment in the series is called Shantae Half-Genie Hero which is due to arrive this Fall 2016 on PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and Wii U. I will definitely keep my eyes open for its release, but first, I think I need to go back and play the first two games. What do you think?
Let us know what you thought about this feature in the comments below. And have you played Shantae and the Pirates Curse? If so, let us know what you thought about it.