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Based on the new demo, I have a good feeling about Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

Three levels in Early Access

Back in 2013, WayForward crowdfunded a new project by way of Kickstarter calledShantae: Half-Genie Hero, the fourth game in the storied Shantaeseries. It managed to raise almost a million dollars in funding, which landed it on the PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One platforms.

While I don’t really think WayForward has as sterling of a reputation as it once did, there’s nothing to worry about in regards to Half-Genie, at leastbased on experience with the Early Access build.

The first ever playable build of the game that’s been released to the public features three levels — a water ruins location, a desert, and an action sequence that takes place on a conveyor belt. The first two heavily feature transformations, which thankfully have returned after their absence inPirate’s Curse. For the first stage you’ll have the opportunity to change into Shantae’s classic monkey form, which can climb up walls and jump with ease, and on the second, she sports a crab transformation with heavy defensive capabilities. As always, her new forms are downright adorable.

Unlike Mighty No. 9, which doesn’t match its great gameplay with a similarly impressive visual style (it still looks a little bland), Half-Genie Herois gorgeously hand-drawn. In other words, it looks almost exactly like the concept art: a rarity these days. It also playsgreat, as the simplistic three-button system (jump, attack, and dance for transformations) works perfectly even in this early build. I dig the bright settings, platforming design, and art direction.

Get a look at two of the stages above yourself — you’ll have plenty of time to decide on whether or not to pull the trigger, as WayForward has made it clear that there is still no solid release window for Half-Genie Hero.

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