Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (PS4)


Splendid outing from WayForward, soaked in hand-crafted beauty and sparkling level design. A bit of disco dazzle in the soundtrack marries to the snappy lore, entirely WayForward’s own. A greatest hits album of the villainous kind, Half-Genie Hero’s spunk whips up smile-worthy writing and admittedly thin plotting to push Shantae through a small character arc.

Understated beginnings for Shantae put her on the Game Boy Color in a game nobody saw, but has since blossomed into an identifiable, community-enriching series overflowing with identity. Only Shantae invites such wit, generous humor, and self-effacing laughs in this way, enamored with itself as much as it is those who rescued her from 8-bit obscurity. Half-Genie Hero is a love letter, beautiful, warm, and persuasive to its cause. In motion, Half-Genie Hero effortlessly streams charming stages and catchy combat; when still, it’s smart, genuine, and softly self-parodying. She’s perfect.


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