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Video Game / Shantae and the Seven Sirens

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The fifth game in the Shantae series, released for multiple platforms in 2019, three years after Shantae: Half-Genie Hero.

Shantae and her friends have departed for the tropics to take part in a local half-genie festival held at Paradise Island's Arena Town. While there, Shantae meets five half-genies; Harmony, Zapple, Vera, Plink, and Fillin the Blank. Unfortunately, the other half-genies are mysteriously abducted during the celebration, leaving our heroine to scour the island for their whereabouts and the reason for their disappearance in the first place. In the process, she meets Risky Boots, who is looking for a treasure hidden in the island that she plans to use to Take Over the World, as usual; however, she also clarifies she did not kidnap the genies, but it was the work of the titular Seven Sirens, led by the Empress Siren, who live in the Labyrinths deep underneath the island. Now Shantae must stop both Risky Boots and the Empress Siren from carrying out their respective nefarious plans.

Seven Sirens returns to the large interconnected world format of the first two games, but makes some changes. The Transformation Dances have been replaced with Fusion Dances, which are similar but only require specific buttons to trigger. The Dances are instead used to trigger spells given to Shantae by each genie after collecting Fusion Stones. In addition, enemies can now drop Monster Cards, which give Shantae a variety of boosts to her abilities, and Rare Monster Cards that can only be acquired by trading Nuggets, which are hidden throughout the game in secret containers and chests.

The game was released in two installments. Part 1 released for Apple Arcade and macOS in Fall 2019, with Part 2 released in March 2020; the full version of the game released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC in May 2020. The game also received a free update in November 2021 that rebalanced the difficulty and added new game modes.

This game contains examples of:

  • 30-Second Blackout: In the midst of the half-genies' performance, the lights suddenly go out with all of them save for Shantae vanishing.
  • Achievement System: The Win Screens are Cosmetic Awards awarded for completing the game under certain times and with 100% items or not, or wearing the Hula Costume gotten by completing the game.
  • Action-Hogging Opening: The game's opening has Shantae, Rottytops, Bolo, Sky and Mimic defend Scuttle Town from Risky and her Tinkerbat hordes in a huge battle. Naturally, none of that happens in the game proper, and since Studio TRIGGER animated it, no big surprise there.
  • Actually, I Am Him: The Ghost Dog that Shantae comes across is highly implied to be Harmony's dead genie mother, who was responsible for sealing the Sirens in the first place.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: In the Spectacular Superstar Update Trailer, the Definitive Mode is called the "Seven Sirens Sirector's Cut", instead of "director's cut".
  • Adventure Rebuff: Rottytops assumed this was the case, and hid into Shantae's luggage and later dressed up as a half-genie to make up for not being invited. Except that Shantae was looking for Rottytops, who was hiding before she could get a chance to get invited.
  • Advertised Extra: Only two of the Sirens have any significant relevance to the plot, yet they're all present on the cover art nonetheless.
  • Air-Dashing: The point of the Dash Newt transformation beyond Wall Crawl. It actually can't dash on land.
  • All for Nothing: Risky's latest elaborate scheme was done solely so she could claim the Sirens' airship as her own. This ultimately wound up being pointless, as Shantae's battle with the Empress Siren ended up destroying it.
  • Alliterative Title
  • Ambiguous Situation: Apart from Lobster Girl and Empress Siren, it's not shown what happened to the Sirens in general outside of a win screen.
  • And I Must Scream: Downplayed. Shantae and Sky are sold as life-sized action figures to Squid Baron, while stuck in the armor Armor Baron made for them. However, they can still talk, and once they're freed they do manage to wiggle free.
  • Antagonist Title: The game's main antagonists, the Seven Sirens, have their name in the title.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If a monster card falls off-screen before Shantae can reach it, the player still collects the card anyway. Any other kind of pick-up that falls down a pit just vanishes. Notably, this doesn't happen in New Game Plus.
    • The "Spectacular Superstar Update" added icons of the Half-Genies that appear at the top of the screen when Shantae enters a room in which their respective dance would be relevant. For example, a Plink icon will pop up in a room with Seer Dance objects, a Vera icon will appear in a room with Refresh Dance objects, etc.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Lampshaded. A kid in Arena Town informs Shantae about the animals she can transform into and the various impossible things they do that shouldn't be possible for their species.
  • Assimilation Backfire: The Empress Siren restores her physical form by consuming some life force from the half-genies Risky Boots delivered to her. By taking the magic from five drops of genie life force, she would have true immortality and become unstoppable. Unfortunately for her, the fifth "half-genie" was actually Rottytops, and from her she took the "life" force of the undead. Her new body was rotting from the inside as soon as it was created.
  • Bag of Spilling: Shantae has none of her skills from the previous game, but now must build a new set combining her powers with the other half-genies and getting Fusion Coins.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Risky Boots is seeking the treasure of Paradise Island to use it to Take Over the World, but the Empress Siren, leader of the titular Seven Sirens, is the one who abducted the five half-genies and is planning to drain the life force from the world; however, it turns out the two were actually working together from the start.
  • Black Comedy:
  • Blob Monster: The Slime enemy, which changes colors when hit, starting from blue, and always takes the same amount of hits to destroy, no matter how strong those hits are.
  • Boobs-and-Butt Pose: Each save file has Shantae in a different pose. The second save file's has her facing away from the camera with her hands angled away from her back, except for her head, which is turned towards the viewer, so we see Sideboob and her butt.
  • Bottomless Pits: The Wetman card gives the ability to "Take no damage when destroyed by a pit!"
  • Breather Episode: After the high-stakes adventures of the prior games, this one sees Shantae and her friends go on a vacation at an island. She still ends up going on an adventure anyway, but even then it's to deal with a case of lower-stakes kidnapping. Or so it would seem at first glance. When Shantae learns about the true nature of the Sunken City (in that it wasn't a city, but rather an island-sized airship) and she has to reactivate it late-game to rescue "Fillin" (actually Rottytops in disguise), it escalates rather quickly and it doesn't look too far back from there on.
  • Bucket Helmet: The boy beside the Monster Card Collector in Armor Town, wears a bucket on top of his head.
  • Busman's Holiday: Shantae comes to the island to relax and get away from saving the world. She's dragged right back into it when the other half-genies suddenly vanish. Sky, on the other hand, absolutely insists on enjoying her vacation, no matter what happens. Shantae eventually gets fed up with her attitude.
  • But Thou Must!: When Shantae is caged in by Risky and the Empress Siren before the Empress sends out a multitude of her Siren subjects, any of Shantae's dances, even the Seer Dance, will annihilate the enemies.
  • Butt-Monkey: Bolo suffers from several events during his stay at the island: he and Uncle Mimic lodge at a faraway house outside of Arena Town where the nearby "pool" is infested with Muckmen instead of ladies, he goes hungry and has been literally eating nuts and bolts until he can get some Melba Toast, said Melba Toast was stepped on and stuck on the Mayor's foot, and finally he tries to break up Sky and Rotty's fight at the end, but only gets kicked in the face.
  • Call-Back: Squid Baron's Fetch Quest includes a Dragon Ball Shout-Out in the form of three "Dagron Balls", named after the boss of the Obliette of Suffering from Pirate's Curse.
  • Cap:
    • Shantae can only hold 9 of a consumable item at most.
    • Monster Cards probably have a cap, but it's at least 40.
    • Shantae can hold up to 999 gems.
  • Collision Damage: Shantae touching enemies damages her for an enemy-dependent amount of damage.
  • Comical Nap Drool: The owner of the Droll-Stained Doll in Armor Town explains the drool as due to her being a heavy sleeper.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: In Coral Mine, after the third locked door, the ceiling and floor sink and raise respectively, so Shantae can be squished, if she doesn't hide in the crevasses that are safe due to their ceilings and floors not shifting with the rest of the room's.
  • Cosmetic Award: The Win Screens, gotten by beating the game under certain conditions:
    • "Winner!": Just beat the game.
    • With 100% of all items except Monster Cards:
      • Any speed
      • High speed
    • Extremely High Speed
    • Wearing the Hula Costume, which is unlocked by beating the game, so this must be at least a second run.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Rottytops disguised herself as Fillin the Blank because she assumed she wouldn't get invited to the island vacation by Shantae, so she hid in Shantae's luggage and pulled the masquerade so she could get in on all the fun. Thing is, the only reason Shantae didn't invite Rottytops was because Shantae couldn't find her, as Rottytops had hidden herself in the luggage. This ended up being for the best though, as it meant Rottytops also got her life force drained by the Siren Empress, ruining that villain's plan.
  • Damage Reduction: Sold at the Armor Town shop, a Percent-Based Values effect:
    Spray-on armor that lowers the amount of damage taken by 25%!
  • Defeat by Modesty: Some of the skeletal mummy enemies can be resurrected with the Refresh Dance, which causes them to immediately start covering themselves, before they pop off.
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: This game makes heavy use of them as one-way gates.
  • Discard and Draw: Most of Shantae's Fusion Coins are reworked versions of her previous dance transformations:
    • The Dash Newt is the Monkey Dance, except she doesn't stay transformed when touching the ground.
    • The Gastro Drill is a stronger version of the Mouse Dance, allowing her to burrow into sand and eliminate spiders in her way.
    • The Bonker Tortoise is an unwieldy version of the Elephant Dance, in the sense Shantae's charging blows have turned into speedy but hard to control moves.
    • The Sea Frog is a reworked and weaker version of the Mermaid Dance, as it only allows Shantae to move to adjacent directions and lacks any form of offensive capabilities. Also unlike the Mermaid Dance, Shantae can't stop moving as a sea frog.
    • The Jet Octo is a weaker version of the Harpy Dance due to granting Shantae two extra jumps, unlike giving her unlimited reach. It also heavily resembles Risky's Cannon, though its ink shots can't damage.
  • Discount Card: It's the exact name of the Lobster Girl Card's power, and operates as such, setting prices to 85% of the regular in item shops, rounded down if it gets fractional.
  • Door to Before:
    • In Mossy Biome, home of the Sea Vent Lab, there's a shortcut from the earlier Tour Area that can only be used with the Tortoise transformation from the Sea Vent Lab, but can be seen before it.
    • In The Boiler, Shantae acquires the Sea Frog transformation after the second save point in the dungeon. The large room after the first save point has a Sea Frog tunnel to safety go from the beginning to the end of the room or vice-versa, instead of taking the spike-lined path required initially.
  • Easier Than Easy: The 2021 "Spectacular Superstar Update" added a "Beginner Mode" that gives Shantae unlimited health, greatly increases her attack damage, and provides extra hints. It outright advertises "You can't lose!", and its icon is a Super-Deformed Shantae happily flying a kite.
  • Easter Egg: As mentioned above, using the Refresh Dance near a dead creature will temporarily revive it. Do it near Rottytops, and she will actually turn into her human form for a few seconds before reverting.
  • Fast Tunnelling: The Gastro Drill transformation lets Shantae dig through soft ground almost as quickly as she can walk.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The announcer over the intercom during the Half-Genie Festival is Cristina Valenzuela, the voice of Shantae. Seems like just an innocent cameo, until you learn that the entire festival was a trap orchestrated by Risky Boots. Guess who else happens to be voiced by Cristina Valenzuela?
    • Squid Baron comes up with a video game idea starring an octopus, fighting an even bigger octopus, with a cute babe in the middle of it all. This is a foreshadow to the Octo Siren, which he later complains that Shantae stole the idea from him.
    • The Warp Room is also this. There are warp stations for all of the areas except the very middle. This lets you know that the Tour Route isn't going to last the game.
  • Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: Both Risky and the Empress Siren planned to betray each other from the start. The latter turned on the former without knowing the former had poisoned her.
  • Gambit Roulette: While Risky's plan this game mostly falls under Xanatos Gambit, one part falls under this. Namely, Rottytops being in disguise as a Half-Genie. Risky herself states at the end that she wanted to keep Shantae around so that she could defeat the Empress Siren should she stab Risky in the back... However, if Rottytops hadn't been there, Shantae would have been taken. Hence, it was purely dumb luck that Rottytops did what she did. It's possible that Risky intended to only give the Empress Siren 4 half-genies (as she had convinced her that Shantae's magic was tainted), but that would not have fulfilled their bargain as it was described.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: While he isn't fought this time around, Squid Baron hounds Shantae a lot more often than usual, whether it's from his repeated attempts to have her approve his game idea, his refusal to give her away while she's an action figure, or accusing her of ripping off his ideas.
  • Grimy Water: There are bodies of tainted water that rapidly damage Shantae if she falls in, easily told apart from normal water by its dark color and the presence of the same skull-shaped particles found over Bottomless Pits. Using the Refresh Dance will purify the water and allow her to swim in it without issue.
  • Guide Dang It!: Attempting 100% Completion without a guide can be stressful due to several collectibles being hidden in mundane locations that only the Seer Dance can reveal... assuming you feel like something is fishy in a room to even use the dance to find out. Thankfully, the Monster Cards aren't included in the file completion percentage, due to being Random Drops.
  • Healing Checkpoint: Most save rooms have some form of healing nearby, like pots to break for the chance of hearts, or in towns, where there's a Healing Spring bathhouse.
  • Healing Spring: The bathhouses in towns, which cause Shantae to restore her health and mana to full, over a few seconds while touching the water.
  • Heal It with Nature: The magical Refresh Dance which heals Shantae and does Revive Kills Zombie on any such enemies, all while turning her into a plant-themed mermaid.
  • Hearts Are Health: Shantae's Life Meter is formed of Heart Symbols, with each quarter-heart being 1 Hit Point.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: The pigtail-ed girl at the left-most of Arena Town says that Shantae can use the Dance Button to suck up loot from a distance:
    How do you even do that?
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Inverted. Risky Boots is intending on just taking the Siren's Airship for her own in exchange for the Empress Siren to have the island to herself. Instead, the Empress Siren takes Risky's lifeforce and becomes the Final Boss Shantae has to face off against at the end of her adventure.
  • Insane Troll Logic: According to Squid Baron, Shantae's fight with the Octo Siren being similar to the boss concept he thought of obviously means that she stole the idea from him. Even though it's entirely a coincidence.
  • Irony: Risky tricked the Empress Siren into believing that Shantae was a dud half-genie, which resulted in her not getting captured. Not only is Shantae very much a real genie, one of the half genies that the Empress Siren did take was actually Rottytops, who was a dud.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: Dungeons have rooms that lock on entry and unlock on defeat of all enemies, before important items like Interchangeable Antimatter Keys.
  • Latex Perfection: The Mayor of the island turns out to have been Risky in a mask and stilts all along.
  • Literal-Minded: The Armor Town Bathhouse Lady:
    • When first met and at the end of the game, she takes issue with baths helping the soul, saying that they only help the body, because that's where the water touches:
      They say that a hot bath every day soothes the soul!
      But that's wrong.
      It's only good for your body.
      Because that's the part the water touches.
    • By the time Shantae has the Powered Up Rod, she takes a whisper of lavender literally:
      Oh, hello!
      I was just about to add a whisper of lavender to the bath.
      Ok, all set!
    • Possibly her name is Jasmine, because the "notes of jasmine" she adds to the bath are a letter that she recites.
  • Loading Screen: If loading takes long enough, and Shantae is wearing the Hula Costume, a hula-dancing Shantae will appear in the lower right corner.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: As seen in the track listing:
    • The musical themes for travelling not-underground, such as the Beach Travel themes, which are all more than two minutes long, excepting Beach Travel East, 1:09, are as long and elaborate as the themes for the lower areas, but since these upper areas are only a few screens long each in any direction, you're unlikely to get to hear the full song in-game unless you intentionally stop and hang around for a while.
    • The Warp Room's theme is almost a minute and three-fourths long, while picking a destination and going there is only about six seconds for speedruns, and not much longer for a casual.
  • Lots of Luggage: Multiple loads in Arena Town, to stop Shantae from leaving the town before the plot needs her to:
    • From the movie when starting a new game, after Shantae reveals that they're only on Paradise Island for a week, Bolo says that they bought enough luggage for a month. Shantae says its to supply a festival, while Mimic says he bought some unfinished projects. When the luggage is seen, it's a triangular pile that's at least three times as tall as any character.
    • Forms the Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence to the right of Arena Town, as said by the woman before it:
      When is someone going to move this luggage?
      I want to see more of the island!
  • Magic Kiss: The magical, healing Refresh Dance is implied to at least sometimes involve kissing, as when it's activated, a pink Heart Symbol is shown and two of the voicelines that might play are the "Mwah!"note  sound of a kiss, and another is "This'll make it better." like the idea of kissing an injury.
  • Metroidvania: Like the first game, the setting is sprawling and interconnected, but it includes the towns.
  • Mistaken for Romance: After Bolo goes to Tree Town, the little girl at the left of Arena Town asks if he's Shantae's boyfriend, and she has no response, not even a reaction image. It's basically the girl monologuing, and canonically, Bolo and Shantae are Like Brother and Sister.
  • Music Is Eighth Notes: Rocket Archers blow a horn and make a pair of eighth notes sharing a flag, which is a Homing Projectile at Shantae.
  • New Game Plus: After beating the game, a new mode unlocks where Shantae is in her outfit from the dance parlor in Tree Town. In this mode, Shantae's magic meter is much larger, but she takes twice as much damage.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: To a degree, with the majority of the sprites for returning characters coming back from Half-Genie Hero.*
  • Non-Malicious Monster: The Water Lily Siren doesn't appear to be hostile, unlike the other sirens. In fact, she doesn't even seem to be aware of Shantae's presence and is a threat only because moving around causes her to send out dangerous spiked roots and seeds that grow into aggressive plant creatures. Averted in the game's "Definitive Mode", where her new pre-battle banter has her threaten to eat Shantae.
  • Notice This: The Deep-Sea Domain's Mermaid Shells are hidden in the drillable dirt, and the spots they're in are brighter than other spots.
  • Not Me This Time: Early on, Shantae stumbles across Risky Boots breaking into the ruins and accuses her of kidnapping the half-genies once she runs into her. Risky is rather unimpressed with Shantae's deduction skills, and points out that there's another villainous force at work, after a quick scuffle. Zigzagged, as while there is another villainous force at work who has plans regarding the half-genies, Risky Boots was still the one who kidnapped them for said villain (in exchange for commandeering the sunken airship).
  • Ominous Save Prompt: Trying to complete the Arena Town Mayor's checklist by talking to Harmony fails if Shantae hasn't saved before talking to her. This is also so the player both learns how to save and doesn't lose their progress, since the game has no Autosave mechanic:
    Harmony: Oh!
    You haven't saved your game yet!
    The SAVE ROOM is nearby...
    Please come talk to me after you've saved.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Circus Squids, only found in the Squid Pit, die in one hit from Quake Dance, but only while their sprites are overlapping with a pole. If they stop spinning, the damage number appears and says 999. And they might only drop their card if they stop spinning.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The monster from previous games returns, but there's a mermaid too:
    • The Mermaid enemies, fittingly for an aquatic enemy, wield a trident. They attack by popping out of the water and flinging orbs in a semi-circle.
    • According to "The Art Of Shantae", the Refresh Dance's cut-in is Shantae transformed into a "mandrake-like mermaid".
  • Palette Swap:
    • The blue Crabs are tougher than the red Crabs, but both count as the same Crab monster, since they drop the same monster card.
    • The red Wetmen are tougher than the blue ones, but both count as the same Wetman monster, since they drop the same monster card.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The half-genie named "Filin the Blank" is a dead ringer for Rottytops, down to having the same design, and that her disguise isn't even in the visual with the other half-genies. Shantae realizes this when she finds out the name she gave to Harmony was "Ima Goodgirl". So a lying, attention-starved, cosplaying troublemaker. Shantae figures out that this could only be Rottytops.
  • Plant Person:
    • The first of the sirens Shantae fights is called the Water Lily Siren, a plant woman.
    • When Shantae uses a Fusion Stone to channel Vera's refresh ability, she turns into a plant woman that looks like a Naga.
  • Player Nudge: The more you progress the more often you'll find Tinkerbats digging certain spots and Pink's Seer Dance will almost always point at something hidden there. Use the Tortoise Smash or the Quake Dance to uncover the buried goodies.
  • Plot Tunnel: At the second Save Point of the Flying Fortress, it's impossible to backtrack due to Shantae having gone through a one-way platform to reach it.
  • Pointless Band-Aid: The Definitive Mode representation art has Shantae being swarmed by four skeletons, and she has a white cross bandage on her left leg's pant leg, which is the right, from the viewer's perspective.
  • Power-Up Magnet: There's a active one and a passive one.
    • The Dance Button will attract loot to Shantae when pressed.
    • The Attract relic creates, and its upgrades extend, an area around Shantae where loot will automatically move to her.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Octo Siren's boss fight consists of Shantae having to figure out the correct pattern to strike the six brains to make the Octo Siren vulnerable, rather than a more traditional boss fight that would involve dodging different attacks until she enters a vulnerable state. Luckily, the Seer Dance makes this pattern obvious.
  • Rare Random Drop: Monster Cards have rarities based on how likely they are to drop from their enemy. The rarest are at 3%, for Tree Troll and Orc.
  • Random Drop: Enemies randomly drop gems, life restoration Heart Symbols, or mana restoration, and their Monster Cards, and may even drop another item and a Monster Card at the same time. For consumable drops:
    • Canned Tuna may be dropped by Crabs, Muckmen, or Ceiling Bugs.
    • Slime Wizes may drop Canned Tuna or Salmon.
    • Mermaids and Naga may drop Salmon.
    • Jumping Frogs, Snakes, Rocket Archers, or Bats may drop Poke Bowls.
    • Spiders and Wall Dashers may drop Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
    • Cacti and Tree Trolls drop Roasted Pineapples.
    • Crabs and ScorpGals may drop Golden Crabs.
    • Wetmen may drop Golden Crabs or Salmon.
  • Recurring Boss: Surprisingly, considering her usual fare of mano a mano boss fights, Risky Boots fills in the role of a mid-level boss in the Sirens' Labyrinths. While she has her moves from Half-Genie Hero intact, she doesn't fight as hard or as long as she does in her other boss roles.
  • Reduced Mana Cost:
    • The MP Saver Relic: "Reduces your MAGIC consumption."
    • Some Monster Cards give for certain abilities:
      • Bat: "The Boomerang consumes less magic when used!"
      • Jumping Frog: "The Shield consumes less magic when used!"
  • Remember the New Guy?: Armor Baron, the never-mentioned-before brother of Ammo Baron, runs a settlement east of Arena Town.
  • Replay Mode: The Movie Viewer in the Extras accessible from the save file selection screen, shows the cutscenes of the game.
  • Respawning Enemies: Most enemies respawn if you leave and come back to their room, but most enemies in boss lairs stay dead until the file is reloaded.
  • Revisiting the Roots: In addition to the game being fully in 2D (compared to Half-Genie Hero being halfway), it brings back the pure Metroidvania structure of the first game.
  • Revive Kills Zombie:
  • Rewatch Bonus: A lot of business involving the Mayor takes a darker turn on subsequent playthroughs. For example, the Armor Baron has you pass off a Codebook meant to seal up the island to the Mayor, or so he says. Alternately, he could be a collaborator and provide codes to access the depths of the ship to Risky Boots, seeing as she's disguised herself as the Mayor all along.
  • Save the Villain: After defeating the Empress Siren, Shantae stays aboard the now-crashing airship to rescue Risky while the other half-genies (and Rottytops) escape. She succeeds, and much to Sky's chagrin, the Pirate Queen lives to see another day, if only to retreat in a particularly humiliating way.
  • Scary Impractical Armor: The Armor Baron makes sets of incredibly strong armor for Shantae and Sky, but they can't even move in it. It's a trap for them to be sold to the Squid Baron as action figures.
  • Secret Room: Some passages to rooms are marked on the map, but can only be seen after using the Seer Dance.
  • Sequel Hook: Which also doubles as The Unreveal: In the ending, Harmony gives Shantae the scrapbook that contains messages from all of the genies, including Shantae's mother. However, the contents are never seen in the game and remain a mystery, possibly opening the door for another adventure.
  • Shows Damage:
    • Slimes Palette Swap from their initial blue when hit, going from purple to some inbetween colors, green, yellow, then red being the final strike.
    • Wall Dashers darken as they take damage.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • During the Half-Genie Festival, after the half-genies other then Shantae are kidnapped, one guy in the crowd seems to care more about getting his money back over the fact that five girls were kidnapped.
    • Sky insists that she's on vacation and therefore not going to do anything even as the situation continues to deteriorate, much to Shantae's annoyance. Shantae eventually calls her out on this.
    • At the end of the game, Shantae deems Risky Boots' motivation to be this.
  • Spanner in the Works: Rottytops disguising herself as a half-genie after a misunderstanding turns out to be the downfall to the Empress Siren's scheme, as her rotten body taints the otherwise immortal power stolen from all the contestants.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Spiders that hang from the ceiling and shoot Energy Balls at Shantae are a common enemy.
  • Spoiler Cover: The cover of the game gives hints about several important plot points revealed very late in the game. The zombie half-genie, Fillin, isn't among the other Half-Genies in the shot, whereas Rottytops is noticeably shown alongside Sky, Bolo, and Uncle Mimic. It also shows every Siren in the game, including the Empress Siren. Lobster Girl is also grouped with Shantae's allies, her non-threatening posture in contrast with the other Sirens giving away that she is not one of the antagonists.
  • Squee: In the opening cutscene after landing on Paradise Island, Shantae ends up squeaking instead of saying her actual dialogue box of "Paradise Island!"
  • Status Quo Is God: Downplayed. While the game ultimately is yet another one of Shantae's regular adventures, there is the discovery of a book containing vital information on the genies, which is passed on to Shantae by Harmony in the ending.
  • Stealth Pun: A woman in Armor Town says the giant fans she made have many admirers, and she admiration horde. She goes out of her way to avoid calling them fans whenever you talk to her:
    • Such as calling "fan art", "admiration scrawl[s]":
      I heard you repaired one of my fans!
      Everyone loves seeing my BIGGEST FAN spinning freely once more!
      In fact, an artist came by to show her appreciation...
      She got out her sketchbook and created...
      ...a one-of-a-kind...
      ...piece of...
      ...Admiration scrawl.
    • At least, until Shantae gets Jet Octo, where upon she starts going insane:
      As you may know, I have forged many huge fan blades!
      And now my giant fans are more popular than ever.
      In fact, the other day an author stopped by.
      He liked my fans so much, he wrote original adventures about them.
      His very own...
      ...completely made up...
      ...imagination novellas.
      Fan fan fan fan fan fan fan fan fan.
      Be aware that any admiration scrawl you submit becomes property of my admiration horde.
  • Strategy Guide: Squid Baron mentions possibly selling an overpriced strategy guide to Shantae to compensate for her incompetence, if Shantae tries to return his Dargon Balls without having all three.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Slimes vanish in a puff of smoke if they jump in water.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Each time Shantae uses one of the fusion dances, we see a cut-in, of Shantae herself transformed to fit the power. As described in "The Art of Shantae" Seer is an "otherworldly, cloaked form"; Refresh is a Plant Person, "mandrake-like mermaid"; Spark is "electric eel"; and Quake is "fiery fury of the earth's core".
  • Take Your Time: Despite the Sirens' airship's main cannon charging to destroy the island, you can finish up any side-quests you want or hunt for Cards to your heart's content and it will never fire. Justified, as Risky had no intention of firing it until the Sirens were all on land again, at which point she was going to nuke them off the face of the planet.
  • Tennis Boss: Using the Mirror Shield to reflect the projectiles in the first phase of Tubeworm Siren's boss fight is the fastest way to take it down, dealing 10 damage every reflection and keeping Shantae safe, instead of the max 9 of Hair Whip, and given how every worm can only be hit once per appearance before going invulnerable.
  • Timed Mission: The Squid Pit, at the bottom of the Sunken City. To get to the Squid Pit, Shantae had to reactivate the ship, and because of the fact all the energy is being centralized to the Squid Pit, the entire Sunken City is at risk of getting blown sky-high. Shantae needs to spread the energy through the entire city, but needs to also activate the button in the Squid Pit that will let her do so. Problem is, it's out of power, requiring Shantae to restore power down eight hallways each crawling with enemies. She has a little under six minutes to do so, as Sky and Bolo are trying to slow down the energy on their end. She can get clocks that give her more time at the end of each hallway, but you're likely to cut it somewhat close due to the prevalence of enemies that can only be damaged after avoiding their attacks in this area.
  • Title Theme Tune: "Rise and Shine Shantae" is the song that played during the animated opening. The last line is "can't stop me now, cause I'm Shantae!"
  • Toggling Setpiece Puzzle: In the Sea Vent Lab, there's blocks that turn from outlines to solid and back if an invincible monster in the same room as the blocks are struck.
  • Token Heroic Orc: The sixth Siren is the Lobster Girl, who defects from the rest of the Sirens after being used to kidnap the half-genies. She helps Shantae escape from Squid Baron, and later on gives Shantae a way to reach the airship
  • Transflormation: Shantae's Refresh Dance causes her to briefly turn into a plant girl.
  • Vague Stat Values: The precise range of the Power-Up Magnet passive effect, "Attract" and its stronger versions are unstated:
    Attract: Automatically draws in nearby Gems and Hearts!
    Super Attract: Automatically draws in Gems and Hearts from a greater distance!
    Max Attract: Automatically draws in Gems and Hearts from a significant distance!
  • Visible Silence: Shy characters like Lobster Girl and Plink sometimes don't say anything in their textboxes except "...".
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • The first boss in the game is none other than Risky Boots. Luckily, she doesn't take the fight that seriously, although your stats are still pretty low and no upgrades are likely to have been bought yet at that time. Risky can be a tough fight due to her aggressive attacks and somewhat unpredictable moving around— it's a boss that really starts demanding players to learn how not to just stand in front of an enemy and attack away.
    • The second duel against Risky has her using bombs which deals a ton of damage for that part of the game and her scimitar dash attack that also bites a large chunk of your health if it connects. This fight shows that fights against Risky are not going to be the same and the player must be on their toes at all times.
  • Warp Whistle: There's a series of attended rooms at the far edges and corners of the map that Shantae can use for teleporting once found.
  • What Does This Button Do?:
    • When confronted by a control panel for the Sirens's airship, Bolo proceeds to hit every single button on it. It didn't actually do anything, but Sky threatens to hogtie him if he does it again.
    • Shantae's quick to start pulling levers on a similar control panel until Mimic starts messing with her, screaming that his bones are being crushed.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Said by Shantae as the Metal Fish's condition steadily gets worse as it is attacked relentlessly and flooding, which doesn't faze the optimistic deep sea researcher lady until she finally gives up and agrees they're all going to die.
  • Xanatos Gambit: As usual, Risky Boots pulls one off. Selling out the Half-Genies was the means that Risky Boots used to get in the good graces of the Empress Siren, all so Risky could steal the ancient ship for herself. Risky also deliberately played down Shantae's abilities to get the Empress Siren to leave her alone, allowing Shantae to rescue the other Half-Genies and take down the Empress Siren. Turns out this was Risky's backup plan to win; knowing that someone so evil must have Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, Risky's Plan B was to have Shantae take out the Empress Siren, then steal the ship afterwards. Even if the Empress didn't betray her, Risky planned to use the ship's capabilities to wipe out her and her army herself. Subverted, as it technically failed. Not only was the ship (the only thing Risky wanted) destroyed in the process, but even killing the Empress would have failed if it wasn't for the unexpected appearance of Rottytops.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Empress Siren pulls this on Risky after their deal is done, draining the pirate's energy to restore her youth and power. However, Risky foresaw this, and in addition to downplaying Shantae's power so she could be a hero if needed and utilizing Rotty as a bogus Half-Genie, also planned to shoot down the sirens herself with the airship.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: The Jellyfish card allows Shantae to kill the otherwise invincible Pinchers.
  • Winged Humanoid:
    • Using the Quake Dance shows an image of some genie, who are always humanoid, with wings of fire.
    • Some of the Tasteful Statues show women with wings.