Shantae and The Seven Sirens, the fifth installment in Wayforward’s series of anime-inspired sidescrolling platformers, is set for a Q1 2020 release for PC and all major consoles according to the developer. (Part 1 is currently out on Apple Arcade in case you need a sampling)
As my follower base can attest to, I’m a huge fan of platformers as well as this series in general. I wrote an extensive review of the original Gameboy Color game for my blog back in 2018. That said, there’s something here for anime fans beyond the stylized art direction introduced by Shantae: Half-Genie Hero. Studio Trigger of Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia fame has been brought on to produce fully animated cutscenes- a first for the Shantae series!
This time, the plot takes us from the familiar Scuttle Town to a tropical island with Shantae and crew were invited to a Half-Genie festival. Following the mysterious disappearance of the other participants, Shantae is tasked with exploring the island and discovering the reason for their abduction. “My money’s on a certain pirate and her crew of tinker-bats.”
While Shantae: Half-Genie Hero followed a more linear style of gameplay, Seven Sirens is a return to the exploration-based nature of Shantae and The Pirate’s Curse. Dungeons, a staple of the series, make their return as do multiple HUB areas. Par for the course, there will be new dance moves and transformations.
It’s also worth noting that a few new mechanics will be introduced in Seven Sirens. The first, known as Fusion Magic, will allow the purple-haired protagonist to transform into a host of different creatures without having to pause the action and make a selection. I’m very interested to see how this pans out in the final release. I always felt having to stop everything just to switch to a new form introduced minor pacing problems in previous Shantae installments; whether solving puzzles or traversing platform gauntlets.
Second, there is a collectible card system based on the game’s bestiary set to add some light RPG elements into the mix. Monsters have a chance of dropping cards with their likeness attached upon defeat, and these can be used to augment Shantae’s abilities.
I reached out to a series fan page on Facebook to see what others thought about the latest installment. The overall response was positive. Jesus Rosas, a member of Shantae Fan World, admits that he will miss some of the features of the previous installment but welcomes the return of some older design elements.
“I will miss the HGH (Half-Genie Hero) transformations but, the instant transformations are a good choice already and the movement of Shantae is faster, like pirate’s curse and the return of old mechanics and characters are kinda great.”
The critical reception of the game’s first part has also been positive. Destructoid scored the game a 7.5 out of 10, proclaiming “Shantae and the Seven Sirens is going to build into a worthy series entry once the full game arrives (on iOS and every other platform).”
For more information on Wayforward and their lineup of titles with a distinct anime aesthetic, head over to their official website here.