You got your basic platformer controls here. The digital pad moves you up, down, left, and right. Start brings you to your menu. The A button jumps, and the B button attacks/runs. The only thing of real interest in the controls department is the select button that brings you into Dance mode. Once in Dance mode, you press the various other buttons to perform certain dance moves. To perform once of the game's transformations or warps, you simply perform the correct dance moves in order. The way the game handles saving, however, is probably one of the biggest drawbacks. They could have easily made this one savable from anywhere, but they decided to make you use save points. This can get really frustrating when you are in one of those terribly boring points walking through an area for the tenth time and you just wanna stop playing. You not only simply can't take it and turn it off, but because you didn't save, you may not bother coming back.
While Shantae is definitely beautiful, quirky, and fun, there are a few gameplay elements that can make it a real chore just to stick with it.