Way Forward software present a new game in this series, and I'll be honest, up to now I had no idea that this series existed.  However that was not a problem as at the beginning of this game, we are given a brief recap of the character's past exploits so I felt that I was not missing out on any important information.

For those not in the know, Shantae is actually a Genie but after the last adventure, the poor girl is stripped of her powers. Trying to adjust to normal life, our heroine is doing a-okay but doesn't realise how much she is missing her powers when someone called the Ammo Baron attacks her home town.

As nobody else seems to be willing to do anything about this, our heroine, soon departs to save the town, but that is just the tip of the iceberg...

Platforming games are back!

To be honest they never really went away, but sort of faded out of favour somewhat over the years. Back in the day we had plenty of games of this ilk, with the likes of Sonic, Mario and so many others jumping from ledge to ledge, dispatching enemies by landing on their heads etc.

This girl however has a somewhat novel attack mode, she whips them with her ponytail. This is fine for some foes but others may take more than one hit before they go down. She can jump on them too in the traditional manner of so many previous titles in this genre.

So soon you'll be whipping, jumping and with the aid of various power ups that can be found hidden in vases, and can be bought with the green gemstones you'll collect as you progress, dispatching your enemies.

The power ups you buy or find do not last long but they can be stored in an inventory, which is quite easily accessed, as well as healing potions, lollipops and what not, that all partially heal you if you take damage (and trust me you will). If you collect enough gems and do some odd jobs for characters you will meet on your adventure, you may gain an extra heart or health.

Looks cute sure but...

This has a cute 8 bit style presentation too it but has a modern day edge to the game play, but don't let that make you think it's going to be as easy as say, Sonic, it's not. In fact parts of this game are solid and challenging and sone boss fights will test your reflexes and timing to the max.

It's looks say this is kiddy friendly and it is, no smut, innuendo or bad language to make adults say "You can't play that little Jimmy!" but what may stop the young 'uns enjoying this, is the steepness of the difficulty/learning curve.  It definitely will punish you for mistiming attacks, and some of the boss fights are as tough as boot leather.

It's a shame because that means that it comes across as a game that isn't too sure just what age bracket or market it's aimed at. It has the bright colours and cartoon presentation that kids will like or even love, but the game play may well have them throwing a tantrum and leaving it in frustration. Even some of us adults may well feel the same!

It's challenging and that's putting it lightly.

Controls and what not....

Controls are responsive and character animation is nice and smooth. Dialogue is witty and pokes fun at the game in a self deprecating way and references other titles in the series, that even though I am not familiar with them, I was able to figure out the past history.

The soundtrack is bright and breezy and sufficiently lends atmosphere to the antics that await you. Don't worry about the physics and textures etc etc, it's not that important. Take it for what it is.

Plusses 

Bright, cartoony style presentation that kids can appreciate and enjoy

Nice retro action, a nostalgic reminder of the 'golden age' of console gaming that may lead you to dust off that Mega Drive you have in the attic.

Not a short game but not epically long either, should keep all amused for quite some time.

Minuses.

Steep learning curve that could put the young ones off.

Doesn't seem sure of what age group this is aimed at

Replay value may well be lacking for some, though you may want to go back and seek out the hidden rooms and secrets that you may have missed on your first run through.

Summary.

A modern day version of the gaming style of our childhood that  will entertain and frustrate you in equal measures. Not to everyones taste and falls a little short of being a 'must buy' but worth a look for sure.