Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Game Poster Image
Take to the high seas in this magical animated platformer.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Doing good deeds, being a positive force is point behind themes of friendship, family, protecting, helping those in need, fighting forces of evil.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Shantae puts needs of others before her own, acts as guardian of her village, follows her heritage as "daughter of the genies," works to protect her homes from threats.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to learn.


Enemies use all sorts of weapons, magic against Shantae, her friends, including guns, swords, spells. Shantae's main attack is swinging her hair at foes, using a belly-dancing move to distract foes, transform into different creatures. Animated presentation lessens impact of violence.


Female characters shown in revealing outfits; occasional mild sexual tongue-in-cheek comments, including characters encouraging Shantae to "shake those hips!"


Latest entry in Shantae franchise, funded with fan support from successful Kickstarter campaign.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Kid, 9 years old November 29, 2020

Basically a saturday morning cartoon: In game form.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is a sidescrolling platformer, Similar to Mario. The game is addicting, But most of the female characters wear revealing clothes.

Even... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBlondyFmab1234 December 3, 2019

Sexual Moments Alert!

The Pirate Queen's quest DLC had a scene where risky boots had here clothes off, in the bathtub. Her tinkerbat minions watched her. (cringes)

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? 

Game details

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For kids who love adventures

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