Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
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  1. Jan 9, 2017
    Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is an easy recommendation to any fan of the genre with its lush visuals, memorable soundtrack and varied environments, making it one of the best 2D platformers of recent times.
  2. Jan 3, 2017
    It’s clear to see WayForward put their Kickstarter funding to good use. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero features some of the best platforming of recent years, and it’s easy to recommend to anyone that’s a fan of platformers or Metroidvania style games, though a couple more levels to combat the game’s repetition would have been perfect. Wayforward will have to settle for almost reaching that mark instead.
  3. Half-Genie Hero is a masterclass in small-scale game design, packing hours of gorgeous, hilarious, brilliantly-crafted jumping and hair-whipping into just a handful of stages. The series has changed a lot in the past 15 years but this latest entry, which seems designed as a soft reboot to attract new fans on new platforms, has only strengthened my belief that it's one of the best and most under-appreciated there is.
  4. 90
    This game’s obvious new feature is its HD art, and, more than just being beautiful, the ability of this art to enhance the characters and world makes Shantae: Half-Genie Hero the most impressive take on the whole fantasy Middle East setting since the utterly brilliant Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.
  5. Jan 4, 2017
    Going into Shantae: Half-Genie Hero as someone who had no experience with the series has left me feeling impressed by the undeniable charm of the titular heroine, and has all but guaranteed that I will be going back to check out the earlier games in the franchise for some more half-genie action.
  6. Jan 3, 2017
    Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is WayForward’s finest entry in the series yet. Platformer enthusiasts and people who can’t get enough of collecting virtual trinkets will undoubtedly find something to get lost in here.
  7. Dec 23, 2016
    Shantae is back in a beautiful game with terrific soundtrack and solid gameplay mechanics. Half-Genie Hero is the most linear adventure on the series but it is still a fun experience for the platformer games lovers.
  8. Dec 21, 2016
    Shantae: Half Genie Hero is great. It’s a long game, and the more you play, the more you unlock, so you get tons of value for your dollar.
  9. Apr 25, 2017
    Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is an excellent 2D platformer that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The humor is quirky, the gameplay is great, and it expertly crafts a retro-style game into a glossy and new coat of paint. Even so, it didn’t seem to provide the same sense of awe that Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse provided in the not-so-distant past of 2014. This is not to say that Half-Genie Hero missed the mark; it’s just different from what you would expect out of the series. Fortunately, that’s one of the best features about the series as a whole. Each game feels unique, bringing a whole new taste to the table every time. This is what always brings me back to Shantae, and it’s what makes Half-Genie Hero all the more enjoyable. Ultimately, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero manages to create a sense of old-school bliss in the modern era where there proves to be little success, and it’s wonderful.
  10. games(TM)
    Mar 9, 2017
    A delightful surprise that'll warm your heart. [Issue#184, p.81]
  11. Jan 17, 2017
    Unfortunately, Half-Genie Hero isn't Shantae's finest moment but that doesn't mean that it isn't a great game. Any 2D platformer fan should definitely pick it up as it's one of the genre's best.
  12. 80
    Channeling its Metroidvania roots, Shantae offers newcomers and genre aficionados alike a taste of what made the genre so great back when it was new and uncharted while offering plenty of upgrades to keep the journey feeling progressive.
  13. Jan 10, 2017
    Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is a highly familiar, yet fresh take on 2D platforming, and the results are a game I can easily imagine scaled down to 16-bit on a Sega Genesis. A nostalgia hound for the 90s will find a lot to love with this game, from the gameplay down to the look, feel, and story it presents. Far from perfect, but charming beyond its expectations, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is wonderfully fun.
  14. 80
    Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is a great Metroidvania style game. A little easy and on the short side but that just means it leaves you wanting more. Unlocking the upgrades and using those abilities to discover new areas is incredibly enjoyable and is only heightened by the high quality and charming presentation.
  15. Jan 3, 2017
    Wayforward's heroine has come a long way from her GameBoy beginnings, and she's still got some great adventures in her yet. The gameplay is on point, and the visuals are top notch. The experience is a little on the short side, but fun throughout.
  16. Dec 30, 2016
    The Shantae series and its characters are always bursting with so much personality. These games are carefree, self-aware, and silly – in many ways an adventure with Shantae feels sort of like an old Saturday morning cartoon. Whenever I jump into a new Shantae game, I’m confident that I’m going to have a good time and that continues to be true with Half-Genie Hero.
  17. Dec 28, 2016
    All in all, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is a solid and polished, if not overly risky, addition to the franchise. In some ways, it feels like a soft reboot that goes back to the franchise's core mechanics and refines them. That makes it a strong introduction to the series for newcomers and a great game for existing fans . The only really flaws include some unnecessary padding and backtracking and its short length, neither of which is enough to be more than a minor blemish. If you're a fan of old-school platformers, Half-Genie Hero is a game for you.
  18. Dec 22, 2016
    The move to sharp graphics makes the game feel modern, yet the series' old-school charm lives on in the vibrant colors and expressive character animations. And the soundtrack is surprisingly catchy--with hilariously passionate (if minimal) voice work and a great score. It's easy to get wrapped up in fighting and platforming through Half-Genie Hero, which speaks to the pedigree of the series, and how well it translates to Shantae's latest adventure.
  19. Dec 22, 2016
    A little more linear than usual, but Shantae and her friends have never looked or played better in this amusingly silly Metroidvania.
  20. 80
    Colorful, gorgeous visuals and refined mechanics help Shantae: Half-Genie Hero not only reach franchise highs, but also establishes the series as one of the genre's best.
  21. 80
    There is nothing more satisfying than when a developer learns from their past mistakes, and WayForward has finally refined the Shantae experience. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is the belly dancing heroine’s best adventure yet, and doesn’t suffer from any huge leaps in difficulties like previous titles.
  22. Dec 20, 2016
    Shantae: Half-Genie Hero spent a lot of time cooking, but the end product is well-built. There are occasional tedious moments, and the story's disjointed at times (which can be chalked up to the fact some characters and chapters were added as Kickstarter campaign stretch goals), but it's still a must-play for Shantae fans. And if you're not a Shantae fan … what's wrong with you?
  23. Dec 20, 2016
    You could likely beat Shantae: Half-Genie Hero in a couple of sittings, but the platforming action is so varied, and the levels so explorable, it’s worth playing well beyond that. While it's neither innovative nor high-concept, its hand-drawn look and toe-tapping music successfully channel a joy and enthusiasm that has become far too rare in modern video games.
  24. Dec 20, 2016
    Considering the efforts passionate fans went through to see this franchise have another entry, it comes off as surprising and unfortunate that Wayforward did not decide to take more risks by adding new characters and mechanics. By taking the product as what it is and not what it should be, however, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero ends up as one of this year’s strongest platformers, packed to the brim with secrets, clever writing and a stellar soundtrack.
  25. Feb 17, 2017
    Shantae: Half-Genie Hero provides the same great sidescrolling action and charm of previous entries, though it also retains the series' awkward progression mechanics and suffers from a short length.
  26. Games Master UK
    Feb 18, 2017
    A beautiful HD realisation of a very likeable world that's lovely to revisit. Both fun and funny. [Feb 2017, p.73]
  27. Jan 30, 2017
    While I enjoyed my time with Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, I was left a bit wanting in regards to gameplay. It just wasn’t satisfying to engage with the platforming and enemies, it was too simple, too easy. I’m not looking for a punishing experience, but I do enjoy having my skills challenged in platformers. Regardless, the beauty on display and the energy in both the soundtrack and movement of each and every character impressed me. I just wish it had a little more bite.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 106 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 74 out of 106
  2. Negative: 15 out of 106
  1. Dec 20, 2016
    Shantae Half Genie Hero
    Shampoo simulator.
    The game starts with a cryptic message from the genie realm. There’s a dark force wanting to use
    Shantae Half Genie Hero
    Shampoo simulator.
    The game starts with a cryptic message from the genie realm.
    There’s a dark force wanting to use the genie magic for evil.
    And naturally it’s up to you, Shantae to save the day.
    This is a metroidvania styled 2d platformer…
    But unfortunately the emphasis is on the metroidvania part and not the platforming
    this was my first Shantae game and it immediately made a great impression…
    The game doesn’t take itself seriously it all…
    It’s hilarious...
    I was laughing throughout my journey
    You’re first tasked with going to save this village being attacked by pirates and it’s a fairly enjoyable experience.. A great tutorial level...
    Learning your willow smith styled combat whipping your hair back and forth, collecting gems along your way to spend at shops for new attacks like fireballs... and taking out your first boss…
    Then you get back to town with the stolen blueprints.. Your uncle works on this machine to stop this dark force and in the meantime you go help the town’s people…
    Don’t let the colorful, happy first level fool you…
    This is when the game really starts...
    This is a fetch quest trade Item a for item b and then item b for item c and item c for item you get the point…
    You trade items for other items you need to progress through the story and build this machine…
    The search for these items will take you to different levels in the world…
    and sadly there are only 6.. yet reaching the end is going to take you around 7 hours…
    Because this game forces a rinse and repeat gameplay loop…
    There’s an insane difficulty spike from level one to level 2.. Its brutal…
    Explore these levels for new upgrades and new magic forms to reach new areas of the other levels…
    The game relies on this to offer any bit of substance…
    It wants the player to revisit each of the 6 levels numerous times and it isn’t as simple as waiting until you hit a hard boss or level and going to explore for something to help you…
    No, the items requested in these trade deals are in a level you already beat in an area previously inaccessible… but is now accessible thanks to your new transformation
    its basically get ability in level 1 to reach an ability in level 2
    Use level 2s ability to reach an ability in level 1 to get to an ability in level 3 that you need to get to an item in level 2…
    Its constant back and forth between the same 4 levels.
    None of which are fun to re explore…
    And only 1 being fun the first time... that being level 1 with the pirates…
    That isn’t to take away from the gameplay though... its fun…
    There’s a variety of forms shantae can switch into like a monkey to climb walls, and a mermaid to swim under water…. And there are a handful of moments where you have to switch through these forms platforming and attacking…
    These are the best moments in the game…
    But getting from checkpoint to checkpoint isn’t so fun….
    the checkpoints are extremely inconsistent and frustrating…
    Their placements make 0 sense.
    There are very challenging moments in this game with no checkpoints in sight that if you slip up once you’re going to have to redo.. While the simplest and shortest platforming sections will be sandwiched in between 2…
    I’d much rather have a shovel knight system where the checkpoint is placed randomly in level rather than when you exit an area…
    Especially in the volcano level
    there’s an extremely cheap spot in that level that will definitely test your patience as it seems illogical to the games mechanics and feels like something you’ll need to get lucky with to pass
    Shantae the half Genie heroes is a charming game, it’s an addictive and fun game…
    But it’s a shallow experience padded with forced replays.
    I Give Shantae Half Genie Hero
    a 6.5/10
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 20, 2016
    If there were one word to describe Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, it would be magical. The atmosphere this game creates backs that statement up. IfIf there were one word to describe Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, it would be magical. The atmosphere this game creates backs that statement up. If you are unfamiliar with the Shantae series, they fall under the Metroidvania genre; a 2D, exploration based puzzle platformer. The controls are tight, the music is fun, the graphics are gorgeous, and the story is charming as heck; this all makes for a masterpiece of a game. I want to touch up on the graphics a bit; simply put, this is one the most beautiful games I have ever played. On par with the games made with the Ubi Art engine (Rayman Legends, Child of Light), the style breaths life into the game. Backgrounds and platforms are beautifully hand drawn and shaded in a vector / watercolor style. Character models are drawn similarly, but with an extra dimension added to make them come alive. The game performs very well, with little slowdowns. Unfortunately it is not locked at 60 frames per second, as I encountered a few frame rate drops here and there during hectic sequences, but nothing that detracted from my experience.

    For $20 bucks and a 6-12 hour story with plenty of replayability, buy this game. It is a masterpiece, and any gamer will be doing themselves a disservice by not giving it a try.
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 21, 2016
    The last masterpiece of 2D action games in 2016.
    Improved music and sound, graphics, stage design and character animation are all excellent.
    The last masterpiece of 2D action games in 2016.
    Improved music and sound, graphics, stage design and character animation are all excellent.
    Simple difficulty is rather an advantage of the game.
    I hope the series will continue to come.
    Full Review »