Review – Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut (PS5)

As mentioned in my review of the Switch re-release of the original Shantae game, even though that game was beyond groundbreaking for its time, it did NOT make the franchise famous. It sold like crap, leaving the series dormant for almost a decade. Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, its sequel, was the one that turned Shantae into a household indie darling. It was basically the killer app for the DSiWare service, a game that proved that the service had more to offer than just tech demos and weird apps that took advantage of the portable’s camera.

Can you believe that was already more than ten years ago? I certainly can’t, because it truly feels like Risky’s Revenge gets remastered and re-released for new platforms every year or so. We’ve seen iOS ports, Wii U ports, Switch ports, PS4 ports, and now, weirdly enough, a brand new PlayStation 5 port. Yep, Shantae is making her debut on next-gen consoles with Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut. Ignore the fact that it has been available on the PS4 for the past five years, this is next-gen Shantae, baby!

Shantae: Risky's Revenge Aspect Ratio

Whatever you do, play this game in 4:3 mode. The 16:9 aspect ratio mode is a disaster.

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge is a sequel to the GBC original, but at the same time, it reuses a handful of that game’s locales and gameplay loop. Thankfully, given how it was originally designed for the Nintendo DS, a much more capable system than an 8-bit portable, the game did see a good chunk of gameplay improvements, namely in its field of view, menu interface and controls. Gone are cumbersome button combinations in order to perform specific features, with Shantae’s morphing dances and special attacks having dedicated buttons, as well as a dodge mechanic. Some collision issues still linger, especially when trying to attack a short enemy on a platform above you, but these are hindrances you can get used to, despite being annoying.

I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand what made this version so “next-gen”. The usage of the DualSense’s features is very minute, but I guess that since they’re here it counts, right? Besides that, the game features basically no loading times and its performance is solid. As it should, of course, considering that this is a remaster of a freaking Nintendo DS game. I almost cannot complain about its existence as a brand new PS5 build, as whoever owns the PS4 port of game can grab this version for free anyway.

Shantae: Risky's Revenge Boss

This looks menacing, but it’s actually one of easiest bosses in gaming history.

There’s no denying that this game features some gorgeous pixel art spritework, but I sincerely think that playing it on such a big screen is quite a disservice to its visuals. Shantae: Risky’s Revenge looks great, but if you play it on a big screen, even in 4:3 mode, the sprites will look way too stretched for their own good. There’s also an option for a 16:9 mode, but all it does is stretch the sprites even more. It looks horrendous in this mode. There’s an “original mode” that reduces the screen size even further, but that makes it a bit too distracting, not taking a lot of screen real estate, making the whole experience feel off-putting.

Being a WayForward game, you know that the soundtrack is going to be top notch. Jake Kaufman is one of the greatest composers working today and his work here is excellent, as expected. Then again, it’s pretty much the same soundtrack from the original Shantae, only reworked to sound less like a bunch of 8-bit chiptunes. I’ll be honest, I think that the Game Boy Color soundtrack sounded a bit more charming, but it’s still pretty good. The same cannot be said about the sound effects, as well as the excessive amount of completely muted dialogue.


Someone gave steroids to the Chuchus from The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge clearly isn’t as featured-filled, polished, or exciting as its more modern counterparts, but it’s still well worth your time if you’re curious about the wonderful history of the Shantae franchise, or if you’re just a fan of 2D platformers in general. Why did this specific version need to have a brand new PlayStation 5 build is beyond me, as there is very little in here that justifies it being a “next-gen” game, but that doesn’t affect its overall quality.


Graphics: 7.5

There’s no denying that this game features some excellent pixel art that stood the test of time, but playing it on a huge screen stretches its pixels way too much. It loses a bit of its charm as a result.

Gameplay: 7.5

Some collision-related issues still linger, but Risky’s Revenge is an obvious improvement over the original Shantae in terms of controls, responsiveness, and the groundbreaking ability of being able to see more than three feet in front of you.

Sound: 8.0

A lot of the songs included in here are rearrangements of the songs featured in the original Shantae game. They are excellent, even though not as charming as their chiptune counterparts. The game’s sound effects aren’t exactly good, either.

Fun Factor: 7.0

A bit less unfair and a bit more robust than the original Shantae, featuring similar level design and gameplay. It’s worth a shot, even if it didn’t exactly prove the need of existing as a PS5-exclusive port.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Wii U, Switch, PC, and Stadia.

Reviewed on PS5.

A copy of Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut was provided by the publisher.