Shantae: Half-Genie Hero - Friends to the End
Publisher: XSEED JKS Inc
There's nothing intrinsically wrong with Shantae: Half-Genie Hero - Friends to the End and the new mechanics it introduces. There's only one major issue with it, though, which makes it hard to recommend. Similar to Pirate Queen's Quest, it expects players to remain entertained by the same levels, which many, even fans, will find hard to do so.
The story and characters are on the thin side, but nevertheless a step up from Pirate Queen’s Quest. The mechanics, meanwhile, are interesting, but the usual Shantae endgame difficulty spike (this has become a pun over time as each endgame incorporates more and more literal instant-death spikes) pushes them further than they can comfortably go.
While the game is fun, and WayForward does a good job of mixing stage hazards up to keep things fresh, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with Friends to the End. This is in large part due to the fact that we’re still playing essentially the same levels with the same bosses, despite the new plot and humorous interplay of banter between the trio. Maybe I was spoiled by Shovel Knight, where each DLC is distinct and featured significant new content, but I can’t help but want more. While Friends to the End is enjoyable, it also feels like the most barren of the Shantae DLC. I was able to beat the entire episode in a little over 2 hours, and feel little desire to get 100%. If getting all the Dream Squids unlocked a true final boss or new area, similar to a basic Metroidvania, I would have been much more likely to platinum the game, instead I ended up with only 79%. I appreciate that this is the least expensive of the DLC, sitting pretty at $7.99, but I still wish it was a lot meatier. Hell, it doesn’t even have a truly new final boss, as the one here is a reskin of the foe Risky faced in Pirate Queen’s Quest. The only real new stages are the intro stage and final stage, the latter which feels more like a series of infuriating challenge rooms than a cohesive new area. If you’re a fan of Shantae and have to own all the DLC, then by all means pick Friends to the End up. For everybody else, wait til it’s on sale. Here’s hoping the next Shantae game learns more from Pirate’s Curse and less from Risky’s Revenge.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero – Friends to the End Official Trailer!