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Shantae and the Pirate's Curse (PC) artwork

Ask an attractive woman what she likes in a man and sheíll probably tell you something like, ďa sense of humorĒ or ďsensitivity.Ē Of course, every adult who hears these responses will roll their eyes and have a chuckle at those responses, knowing that the real answers are probably a little closer to the metal of sensory and/or social clout reality. This isnít just a misogynistic dig either, weíre all a little deceptive when asked exactly why we like or are attracted to things.

My point is, I just started trying to play Hollow Knight and Iím finding it a little tough to continue. I think itís the color palette.

Shantae is very colorful, and she has perhaps the most lively stationary sprite animations Iíve ever seen. While not as fun as Sonicís impatient foot tapping and looking at the player itís certainly...bouncier. Likewise her character portrait, and those of the gameís other characters, are extremely well done. (Although, a touch sexier than parents might like.)

When the game starts, Shantae can pretty much just attack (by whipping her hair) and jump.
Platforming is solid, if simplistic at first. Navigating new areas while minimizing damage from enemies and obstacles becomes a great way to get used to Shantaeís ever increasing moveset. Itís a lot of fun to use those new moves in old areas and find hidden items necessary to progress.

You know that more abilities are coming from the start by the items seen in early areas that are just out of reach. The game does a good job of tantalizing you with impassable barriers and too-high-to-reach goodies within the first couple sections. Soon after, you acquire a long range weapon that opens up new possibilities both going forward into new areas and while backtracking. From here, the formula is set. You open up a new area, get a new item, go check what you can do with that item, and try to open up newer areas and get newer items. There are bosses that like to test your ability to use the items youíve collected so far. There are upgrades to purchase, a few optional moves to buy, items to collect for a better ending. A nice little area before the final boss tests whether or not youíve got all the platforming with all of the items down before letting you finish the game. Pretty much, thatís it. Thatís Shantae and the Pirateís Curse.

Games, perhaps more easily than other forms of media, allow you to get lost in a space. How long you choose to stay in that space is probably based on the number of happiness neurons that fire while youíre inside. A game can fire these with rewarding puzzles, an interesting story, adrenaline pumping action, or, in my favorite type of game, an irresistible atmosphere.

I like Shantae. I like the colorful backgrounds. I like the lighthearted story. I like how you can almost see whatís coming next, gameplay-wise, and where youíll need to backtrack after getting a certain item.

Itís a little too easy, sure. And it could use another couple of areas, too. But I couldnít stop coming back to it during the week or so I took going through it. And, besides those two little complaints above, I couldnít really say what I would change. As Iíve gotten older Iíve come to appreciate simple things done well. Shantae and the Pirateís Curse is probably the best example of that Iíve seen in modern gaming.

NOTE: I played this game using an unofficial Korean language patch, and Korean is not my native language. Beyond missing the humor of a couple jokes I donít think it affected my overall impression of the game in any way.

Germ's avatar
Community review by Germ (July 03, 2019)

Jeremy plays video games, sometimes.

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