Worth it...but only if you don't have a 3DS.
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse was one of my favorite games of 2014. It’s the game I always knew WayForward could make, and I was thrilled with the time and effort them committed to the project. Check out my review of the 3DS version for an overall breakdown of the game. For this review, I’m just going to talk about what’s different about the recently released Wii U version. Unfortunately, it lacks many of the bells and whistles that make the game so appealing in the first place.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the game’s default volume is way too loud—you’ll want to turn your TV’s volume down significantly. This problem plagued Mighty Switch Force HD as well. Unlike Mighty Switch Force HD but like its sequel, Pirate’s Curse is a straight 3DS port—the sprites and backgrounds have not been redrawn. Oddly, however, the item art on the sub-screen does look more impressive by comparison to their 3DS counterparts.
I just don’t think Pirate’s Curse blows up to a 51-inch screen all that attractively. It looks much smoother on the 3DS’ screen, though subtleties of the character animations are more obvious on the big screen. Overall, it just looks too pixelated, and the loss of the 3D effect is a bigger pain than I initially thought it would be. HD character portraits are nice, but their 3DS counterparts win out with their different “layers” (this was especially apparent on Risky Boots). The multi-layered environments, too, lose some appeal with the loss of 3D. The game just plain looked better on the 3DS—or even the 2DS, given the pixel-scaling problem.
The bottom line is that the Wii U version doesn’t make up for any lost features with its own unique features. Off-TV Play is nice, and the bounding box fits the GamePad, but at that point, you may as well just play it on the 3DS. Now, for gamers who have NO experience with the 3DS version, the Wii U version plays fine and its deficiencies won’t bother you, but it’s difficult to recommend if you already have the 3DS game—which is the definitive version by far. But if you have a choice—go with the portable version. For this review, I’m just going to talk about what’s different about the recently released Wii U version. Unfortunately, it lacks many of the bells and whistles that make the game so appealing in the first place.
*If anyone can offer a solution, that'd be great--it doesn't affect VC games.
UPDATE: I fixed the scaling issue. I just had to go into the Wii U Settings and shrink the bounding box a bit. Worked perfectly!