Shantae and the Pirate's Curse

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Shantae and the Pirate's Curse Game Poster Image
Pirate-themed adventure with mild violence is great for all.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Regular themes of friendship, protecting less fortunate, helping those in need, fighting back against forces of evil.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Shantae takes her role as a guardian very seriously. She will go out of her way to do what she can to protect her village, help her friends, even offer friendship to those who were her enemies in the past.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to play.


Enemies use guns, swords, and so on against Shantae, her friends, while Shantae's main weapon is swinging her hair at foes. Action is fairly nonstop, but cartoonish nature of characters, pixelated retro style of overall game does a lot to lessen impact of violence.


Many female characters presented in revealing outfits; occasional tongue-in-cheek sexual references throughout game. For example, after capturing Shantae during a bubble bath with a rigged tub, her rival calls contraption a "booby trap," referencing fact that Shantae was captured in the buff.


While there are no obscenities, there are a few crude comments. An early example would be the mayor discussing his overindulging of waxy chocolate candy, upsetting his stomach, causing him to "make dirty water."


Third entry of Shantae franchise, with a fourth game in development.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shantae and the Pirate's Curse is a downloadable action-adventure platform game and the third game in the Shantae franchise. The series stars a strong female protagonist who has taken on the role of guardian of her village, as well as the unintentional role of savior of her entire land. The game is simple to pick up and play and features a cute combination of both retro and anime styles. Although the action is nonstop, the game's style lessens the impact of the violence, making it more akin to a Saturday-morning cartoon. Some of the content in the game may not be appropriate for younger gamers, as the women are presented in some revealing outfits and there are some slightly lewd and crude jokes and comments peppered throughout the dialogue.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 12 years old April 27, 2018

Shouldn't be rated what it is.

The ESRB gave the game a T for Teens rating, however in my opinion it should probably be Everyone 10 and up. The game truly doesn't have any offensive mate... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byDoritos August 13, 2017

Shantae is family-friendly... if you're okay with revealing outfits.

The game itself has almost no offensive content. The only thing that may offend some people is the way the females dress. Shantae, the protagonist, is really th... Continue reading

What's it about?

As SHANTAE AND THE PIRATE'S CURSE opens, Shantae is still trying to adjust to life in Scuttle Town after the loss of her genie powers. After defending the town from an attack, Shantae is captured by her rival, Risky Boots, who accuses Shantae of robbing her and kidnapping her crew. It comes to light that the true foe is the legendary Pirate Master, an evil entity whose tyranny was stopped only by the collective efforts of the genies of Sequin Land. Despite being sealed away in an isolated grave, the Pirate Master's evil has found a way to gather dark magic scattered throughout Sequin Land in an attempt to revive himself and unleash his wrath once again. Determined to stop this, Shantae and Risky Boots team up to destroy the dens of evil providing the dark magic and hopefully stop the Pirate Master before he returns from the grave. 

Is it any good?

In this age of high-definition, open-world, epic-scale role-playing games with branching storylines and multiple endings, it's easy to overlook the joy that a good ol'-fashioned 2-D side-scrolling platformer can offer. Then comes a game like Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, with its retro charm and its pick-up-and-play controls to remind gamers what they've been missing. Despite its seeming simplicity, there's a surprising amount of depth in the game. The pixelated visuals still manage to give all the characters quite a bit of detail and emotion. And while the controls are easy to learn, there's still quite a bit of challenge, especially in the later levels that require razor-sharp reflexes and spot-on timing. Thankfully, the learning curve is never too steep, and the challenge level progresses at a fairly steady pace.

As good as Shantae and the Pirate's Curse is, though, it's not without its flaws. For starters, the story feels a bit rushed. For a lot of folks, this is likely their first experience with the Shantae franchise, yet the game seems to take for granted that the player is already familiar with the characters. As a result, it's difficult to feel invested in anyone outside of Shantae and Risky Boots. By having players travel to the small island dens of evil and around other areas throughout Sequin Land, the game breaks the action up into smaller, bite-sized chunks. This also means that there's a lot of repetition, with players revisiting previous areas with new skills to find all the game's secrets. Of course, these are just minor issues. On the whole, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse has just the right blend of nostalgia and uniqueness to be an instant classic for any platform-adventure fan.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about themes of friendship. What are some ways that people can foster new relationships, and are there ways that rivals could be turned into new friends?

  • Talk about the portrayal of women in games. What are some of the positive and negative ways women are portrayed in video games? What are qualities that make for a strong female character in gaming?

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