A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is a side-scrolling action/adventure platform game. There's a steady stream of action and violence, but its cartoonish style is more akin to a Saturday-morning cartoon and lacks any sort of blood or gore. There are some slightly suggestive themes, including characters presented in somewhat revealing outfits and dance moves similar to those of a belly dancer.
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What's it about?
SHANTAE: HALF-GENIE HERO is the latest action game that takes players across the problem-plagued shores of Sequin Land. Between wild creatures, magical minions, and pestering pirates, the people of Scuttle Town are no strangers to trouble. Luckily for them, the town is under the protection of Shantae, a half-genie guardian with a wicked whip of a ponytail and the ability to shape-shift into different animals. After getting an ominous warning of an impending threat to the human realm and the realm of the genie, Shantae sets out on a quest to save two worlds and possibly discover the truth about her heritage and her missing mother at the same time. Along the way, Shantae will be joined by her diverse group of friends and family, all of whom help her to overcome the obstacles in her way. But will even that be enough to stop the pirate Risky Boots and her latest plan to defeat Shantae and rule the world?
Is it any good?
This animated action platformer has finally been updated with HD graphics but keeps its classic platforming elements to draw in and entertain gamers. Shantae has never looked as good as she does in Shantae: Half-Genie Hero. The hand-drawn animation is bright, colorful, and fluid. Regardless of how much is happening on-screen or how big the visuals get (and there are some pretty big boss fights), the performance never skips a beat. The result is that it looks almost like you're playing a Saturday-morning cartoon. The only thing that ruins the illusion is the baffling decision to not include any voice-overs, pulling the player out of the experience to read through line after line of scripted dialogue.
Gameplay is easy to pick up and play and should be instantly familiar to platformer fans. Basic run, jump, and attack gameplay is bolstered by a surprising amount of exploration. As the story unfolds, Shantae gains the ability to morph into a variety of animals, each with their own unique abilities to reach previously unexplored areas. This backtracking to previous areas can occasionally feel a little repetitive, but the game does such a great job of keeping the story moving along and changing things up that it never feels frustrating or stale. Overall, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is a great, classic style of platform game filled with unique characters, as well as a look and story that's sure to keep players entertained from start to finish.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how women are portrayed in video games. What are some of the positive and negative ways women are represented in video games? What are qualities that make for a strong female character in gaming?
Talk about friendships and family. How important is it to build strong friendships and family ties? How do we rely on our friends and family in times of need?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Xseed Games
- Release date: December 20, 2016
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Arts and Dance, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Cartoon Violence, Suggestive Themes
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.