Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (Jammies Mode)

Jammies Mode is yet another DLC pack for Shantae: Half-Genie Hero. Unlike the other packs, this one was added as a free update along with a new bonus transformation dance available later in the main game which turns you into the tank from the new Blaster Master Zero game. As this is the fourth time I’m talking about the game, I’m going to assume you’re familiar with it in some capacity by now. If not, you’re welcome to browse the previous reviews I’ve done on it. Now that the formalities are out of the way, let’s hit the hay.

The plot of Jammies Mode is that Shantae wants to throw the ultimate slumber party. To do this, she wants to invite all of the game’s major characters to join her. She does so by setting out across the familiar locales of the main game in linear fashion, dressed in appropriately pajamaed garb, inevitably getting roped into replaying boss encounters in order to secure her guest list. Aside from a bit of flavor text, a minimal amount of level tweaking, and Shantae’s sprite change, the biggest difference you’ll see here is in the basic mechanics. Like Friends to the End and the Costume Pack DLC, you’ll start at level 1 and collect gems to upgrade your level. The higher your level, the more damage you’ll do with your basic attack of swinging a powerful pillow in front of you. It has low range but does a decent amount of damage. Leveling up also increases the number of sheep you can summon to hop around the map and damage enemies. Each sheep consumes some of your magic and taking damage has you hemorrhaging gems. There are also three squids hidden or placed in tough locations in each section which can be collected to unlock bonus ending images. Your most unique ability is being able to instantly form a cloud beneath you and sleep on it while ascending. The cloud will bounce off of surfaces upon collision and doesn’t last forever. It also has a bit of a reset time between uses if you don’t touch the ground first. You CAN jump out of the cloud or simply hit the button again to make it disappear beneath you. And that’s about all there is to this mode.

I’ll admit that I loved the idea of running around as Shantae in cute jammies. I’m a sucker for cuties in cute outfits, clearly. The boss encounters were interesting when making use of your high damage yet short range and also your floating ability to get out of the way of attacks. It makes you feel like a speedrunner during those fights because of how quickly you can tear them down if you’re careful and precise. The lack of health also keeps it from being overly easy, which helps make your high damage feel balanced. The floating mechanic along makes the stages also feel like an exercise in speedruning. The small bits of flavor text are nice and it’s hard to be too harsh on something that’s a totally free update to the game rather than a purchasable pack of content.

The biggest issue with this mode, perhaps quite obviously by now if you’re following this review series, is that this rehashes most of what we’ve already seen. The same levels with nearly identical layouts. The same boss encounters. The same music. Not even terribly unique gameplay this time around either. It’s just a lot of stuff you’ve already seen and feels like it would’ve been best left for a new, unique mode or a different game than a half-baked extension to this one. There’s also an issue of difficulty in a couple of stages. In the desert tower at one point it feels pseudo-random as to what the timing is going to be. You have to go up a shaft using the cloud to float and pray you don’t get shot by statues shooting fire left and right. My advice is to sway the tiny bit left or right that you can to avoid the timing as best as you can predict, and if you get hit just use those invulnerability frames to float as high as you can before jumping out of it to make it up to the ledge. Later in the haunted mansion area you’ll be placed in some close-quarters combat with spider bitches that take MANY hits to kill even at max level and sometimes they’ll just walk forward when you’re waiting for them to put their guard down so you even CAN hit them. They do massive damage and can easily kill you. I have two tips. One is to use the stage select to save after grabbing each squid so you don’t have to hunt for them every single time. The other is to toss some sheep out and try to jump and float past these fucks. If you try to normally they will slap you out of the sky, but they can’t do that when defending against your woolly allies. There’s a disappointing lack of any other characters in pajamas, though. I mean… just imagine Risky in her jammies. Or better yet… the Giga Mermaid! And at the end they once again simply reskin the same image based on the ending you achieve. Same pose and background and all with different poses.

Jammies Mode is a letdown. It’s a free letdown with a few things making it not a total waste of time… but a letdown nonetheless. If you just have the Wii U game and don’t want to buy any DLC but DO still want some more, slightly different content, then Jammies Mode will do. It’s worth the free dollars and free cents. It just probably won’t be the softcore cute girl pillow fight scene I was dreaming of. Er… I mean… that YOU were dreaming of………………………………………. WE!

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