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Best Nintendo 3DS Games – #42 Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

Developer: WayForward Technologies

3DS Release: October 23rd, 2014

Synopsis: This third installment in the Shantae series sees Shantae, a former part-genie, must team up with her ex-nemesis Risky Boots to defeat Pirate Master and his army after they take over her hometown. Like the other Shantae games, Pirate’s Curse is a platformer. In this installment, Shantae has lost her genie powers, but can use pirate items and abilities to defeat the foes she encounters in each level. Items such as a pistol, a hat used for gliding, a scimitar, and dash boots are all included in Shantae’s arsenal and are generally gained in evil dens located on each island. The Evil Dens also house a boss with the map to the next area. Completing the game unlocks a New Game+ called Pirate Mode, which gives Shantae her entire repertoire of abilities at the start of the game.

Why It’s One Of The Best Nintendo Games: The Shantae series is a shining example of indies that made it big and continued to do so here. Pirate’s Curse, in particular, brought Shantae and her friends into the limelight. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse features challenging platforming that may stump even seasoned players, but it’s never unfair or so difficult that a little practice won’t eventually pay off. Familiar, well-written characters return from the previous games along with quirky new faces in the pirate army that Shantae must confront.

The artwork and music both suit the charming characters and atmosphere, and secret areas add replay value and motivation to explore each level in depth, though speedrunners will find the Pirate Mode a treat as well. Though it suffers from a lack of an open world like in previous games coupled with some odd backtracking at times, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a wonderful addition to a series we hope returns once again for the Switch.