When we last checked in with Shantae, at the end of 2014’s Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, she had just completed an arduous quest to regain her genie magic so she’d have the raw power needed to steal the Ammo Baron’s rightful property and distribute it to people she believes to be more deserving. It is indeed a blessing that Half-Genie Hero is less overtly communist than that. This time around, Shantae is trying to help Uncle Mimic constuct a "dynamo," which device he believes will keep Scuttle Town safe from pirates and monsters forever. Of course, then the pirates and monsters get involved, and nothing goes quite to plan.
Shantae is back to her staple mechanics this time (after the magicless departure of Pirate’s Curse), meaning that her primary gimmick is magical dances that transform her into various animals. There are lots of dances this time around — fourteen in total, though it’s not possible to have them all at once — and a few of them have effects other than transforming Shantae; there’s a warp dance that helps her get around more quickly, a recovery dance that restores health at the cost of magic points, and an obliterate dance that does big damage to all onscreen monsters. That still leaves room for eleven transformations, including both series staples like the monkey and mermaid forms and interesting new transformations like the spider and dryad. Each of the forms serves a different purpose, and knowing which form to use when is the key to success.