Shantae can learn multiple transformations, each of which gives her different abilities and allows her to access new areas and items. She learns them from Guardian Genies and Magic Fountains, both of which are found in the games' labyrinths (with the exception of the Elephant form in Risky's Revenge, which is in the Forest Cave). She can also buy form dances from certain merchants. She cannot transform in Shantae and the Pirate's Curse despite getting her genie powers back during the good ending.
It's Shantae as her regular self. She can use magic attacks as well as her regular hair whip attack. She's also capable of crawling slowly through low spaces and, only in Risky's Revenge, swimming on the water's surface. Human form's greatest advantage over the other forms is combat - she has access to more moves and magic powers in this form compared to the others.
The monkey is the first form Shantae learns in Shantae (Dribble Fountain), Shantae: Risky's Revenge (Squid Baron's Labyrinth) and Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (Main Street). It is a small, fast form that allows her to climb walls and perform wall jumps, and move quickly through narrow passages. When the monkey touches a wall while in mid-air, she can be made to climb it by pressing up or down, or wall jump off of it ().The allows the monkey to attack (). The allows the monkey to spring off of a wall horizontally like a bullet (holding pressing or and releasing), which functions as both an attack and a way to reach new areas. The dance sequence in Shantae is , and in Risky's Revenge it's dance pose #1.
In the WarioWare: D.I.Y. microgame Shantae NAB!, Shantae is for some reason stuck in her monkey form and can only return to her normal form by catching a gem bouncing on the ground.
The Elephant form is the second form she receives in both Shantae (Golem Mine) and Shantae: Risky's Revenge (Tangle Forest Cave). The elephant is large, slow moving, and can barely jump, but her charge can instantly destroy certain rocks, walls, and creatures (such as Stone Golems). It is the only normal form to come with an attack.The / allows her to perform the stomp move, a downward attack while in mid-air (+). The dance sequence in Shantae is , and in Risky's Revenge it's dance pose #2.
In Tassel Town and can also withstand sand storms.
The Spider is the third form she acquires in Shantae (Cackle Mound). Like the Monkey, she is small and can climb surfaces. However, unlike the Monkey she climbs surfaces in the background rather than walls in the foreground.allows her to attack. The dance sequence is .
The Harpy is the final required form found in Shantae (Twinkle Palace). She can fly through the air (tap ), allowing access to all remaining areas, but cannot crouch or crawl.The allows her to attack with claws (). The dance sequence is .
In Hypno Baron's Castle. Repeatedly tapping the jump button allows Shantae to fly, and collecting the Harpy Talon allows Shantae to attack with feather projectiles. As a compensating drawback for the freedom of movement, this form has high horizontal inertia and is unable to glide, making it hard to navigate obstacles with precision.
The Tinkerbat is an optional 'secret' form in (Advanced Genies! (500 gems)) in Bandit Town, available only if the game is played on a Game Boy Advance (or through Debug Mode). She can climb on walls and background surfaces, wall jump, and charge with a battering ram (by pressing +), combining the functionality of the Monkey, Spider, and Elephant. She also has a cutlass which swings in a wide arc, attacking enemies above and below. She also has an amusing run animation that suggests insane panic. Because of her variety of abilities, the Tinkerbat is the best general-purpose form and is highly recommended as it reduces the amount of transformation during exploration. The main drawback is that despite her small size, the Tinkerbat cannot crawl through narrow spaces, requiring the player to revert back to Shantae form every so often. The dance sequence is .
The Mermaid is the third and final form she acquires in Shantae: Risky's Revenge (Hypno Tower). She can swim () in this form and submerge below the surface, allowing her to discover new areas that she can't even begin to reach in her normal form.With the she can fire bubble projectiles that can destroy rocks that block her path (). The dance pose is #3. Not surprisingly, the Mermaid form is useless on land, as Shantae can barely move and jump on her fins and hands.
In Mermaid Falls. Certain enemies won't attack this form and actually follow and help attack enemies when Shantae uses Mermaid Bubble.
This is the only game where Shantae does not transform due to having lost her powers in the previous game by defeating Nega-Shantae. Therefore, no new forms were introduced in this game, and forms were replaced with Pirate Gear.
The Crab is a form that appears in Mermaid Falls. In this form, Shantae gains the ability to freely move along surfaces under water and descend slowly like a parachute in open water. Shantae also gains the ability to tuck into her shell when on a surface and is invulnerable in this state. Because this form is small, it can go through gaps the Mermaid form cannot pass. Gaining the Crab Claw lets this form attack and snip certain obstacles.which Shantae receives for clearing
It was originally planned to appear in
An optional new form introduced in Mermaid Falls. This form allows Shantae to fly only horizontally. Unlike the Harpy form, it does not need the repeated pressing of the jump button to fly, but it can only fly in a horizontal line. Gaining the Bat Sonar lets you see in the dark within a short radius.
A new form introduced in Cape Crustacean. This form allows Shantae to enter very small, maze-like passageways. Gaining the Mouse Bite lets this form attack.
An optional new form introduced in Tuki. This form allows Shantae to produce up to three Oranges at a time in exchange for magic. This form can't move or attack but is completely invulnerable.
An optional new form introduced in Waterfall Relic despite being a sea creature.
An optional new form introduced in
An optional new form introduced in Sophia 3rd vehicle from the Blaster Master series. This form moves at double speed (like the Monkey) and can fire blasts of energy either forward or upwards at a high rate.
introduced a new form with abilities similar to the monkey. It is used via instant transformation without the use of Shantae's dancing talents. It can scale walls and dash into enemies or objects with a single use of a button.
The Gastro Drill in
The Bonker Tortoise form in
The Sea Frog can swim through the water at high or low speeds.
Jet Octo is a brand new form in
In addition to the Fusion Magic forms mentioned above, Shantae learns a variety of new Fusion Dance abilities during.
One of the proposed forms for 
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero concepts
Several transformations were proposed in Shantae: Half-Genie Hero's development period. Contributor-tier Kickstarter backers had the opportunity to vote on these. A few forms used as examples are in the gallery below. The bat and crab transformations were added to the game, and their designs have been refined for the final product.