Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut (PS4) Review

Full of volume.

The Shantae series is one of the lesser-known gems from Nintendo’s handhelds. Developer WayForward has gone on to make tons of punishing, old-school titles to add to their reputation, but this series always seems to be overlooked when talking about their accomplishments.

When I heard they were finally bringing some of these titles to PS4, I was ecstatic. I loved them on handhelds, and had been waiting to dive back in. The first is Risky’s Revenge, which was originally on the DSi, and can now be enjoyed, in all its 1080p pixelated glory, on Sony’s new machine.

MSRP: $9.99
Platforms: PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $9.99

The game has players assuming the role of Shantae (obviously), a half-genie who attacks with her hair. She also has the ability to transform into the spirits of various animals by performing a belly dance. I swear I am not making any of this up. The structure is that of a Metroid-style game, where each animal Shantae earns grants her new abilities to access gated content. The formula is tried and true, but WayForward knows how to structure games in a way that is both challenging, and enjoyable.

One of the most striking things about Risky’s Revenge is that it feels like it hasn’t been touched. Anyone who had a Gameboy adapter for their Gamecube knows when you blow pixels up, they definitely stand out, especially on an HD TV. Such is the case with this title.

There are border options as well as the option to stretch the screen to full 16×9, but that is definitely not recommended. There’s nothing worse than blown up, disproportioned sprites. Still, it is also impossible not to appreciate the animation in the characters and the worlds. This is one fine-looking game, even if the sprites are hard on the eyes at first.

While nothing about Risky’s Revenge is revolutionary, it speaks volumes about why WayForward is so revered as soon as I played it. The controls are perfect. Every move has meaning. The difficulty is a little less punishing than some of their other efforts, but the satisfaction is still there. Also, Shantae is just a lovable, bubbly character. Even without voice acting or drawn-out cut scenes, the story really kept me interested and entertained. There is a lot of polish in this retro package.

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge is a classic that deserves more attention, and only makes me that much more excited to finally see the new title come to PS4. It is great for players who enjoy a solid character-action game, and of course the Metroid-style so many games have adopted over the year.-Combine that with likable characters and a colorful, gorgeously pixelated visual style, and this game is a must own.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Flawless controls
  • Fun characters
  • Extremely rewarding
  • No smoothing options
  • Navigation can be confusing at times
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.