Unlike most of the stuff I cover here, I didn’t originally set out to play this game. In fact, I didn’t own any Shantae games and didn’t have much of an interest because “metroidvania” sounds to me like “platformer you’re terrible at plus tedium.” I was playing an entirely different game and not really having a fun time because that game is full of dumb design decisions, though, and I ended up picking up a Humble Bundle that gave me a 3DS code for Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse and giving it a try in order to avoid the game that was irritating me. The small bit that I played was surprisingly enjoyable, but I didn’t want to play too far into the third game without having first gone through the earlier games. The GBC original didn’t look like a fun starting point, sadly, so I decided to start with Risky’s Revenge; the plan was to wait until it hit a sale because I buy all these games rather than using review codes, and keeping things running is a matter of stretching pennies. Lo and behold, it showed up in an entirely different different Humble Bundle just days later and I took it as a sign from heaven to push back the annoying game and complete Risky’s Revenge instead. I’m glad I did—this is one of those rare gems that’s a joy to play, the kind of thing that I can use to remind myself why I love games in the first place whenever mediocre games deflate my enthusiasm for the hobby.