Monday, July 1, 2019

Witch Thief (Nintendo Switch) Review.



YAY! It's time for a review of a shmup game, a 3D shmup game at that.  That's all that I need to say to get your attention.  This is Witch Thief for the Nintendo Switch.  (Click on "Read More" to read the full review.)




Story

Long ago, a warlock made a deal with a great demon to become ultra powerful.  This warlock was darn near unstoppable and it wasn't until four great witches banded together to create a magical book.  The witches used the book to defeat the warlock.  The book is now resting in retirement in a castle and those who end up possessing it, gain a lot of power.  However, this isn't about that.  There's a witch named Charlotte, she is also the lands greatest thief.  She reads the story, this gets her excited to where she must have that magical book in her collection of treasures.  She does not care for its power, she just cares that it is a priceless treasure.




Gameplay

On the surface, Witch Thief seems like a standard third person action game with run 'n gun elements.  It only takes a little bit of time to realize that this game is more than that.  This game takes those elements and adds a huge dosage of classic shmup gameplay into the mix.  This creates a game that plays more like a 2D bullet hell than let's say, Contra or Star Wars Rogue Squadron.  So expect a lot of baddies and bullets to avoid.  Even so, it doesn't take long to get used to your surroundings.  The levels themselves are also very nice and big and were fun to explore.

The attack system is basic, just hit the ZR to shoot, B to use a special bomb attack, and A is used to turn into a ball of light so you can go though the bullets.  You can also hit ZL to slow the game down to focus on certain enemies. Oh, boy!  There are indeed a lot of enemies in this game, but they don't have much variety when it comes to attacks.  The main ones that you'll see will only fire bullets, but there are ones that'll shoot cannon ball styled projectiles from a far, and ones that use ESP to launch swords at you.  They are easy to deal with most of the time.  The one baddie (outside of the bosses) that does annoy me every time are the ones that fire laser beams.  Why's that?  It's because the lasers are very sudden and cheap and if you don't have the camera on the right angle, you won't see them coming.  It adds a good challenge though.  I really enjoy the system in this game with its smooth controls, awesome gameplay, and fun levels.



There are a few characters to play as, most of them have to be unlocked though, but the requirement to do so isn't tough.  You just gotta beat the unlockable characters during story mode.  They aren't missable, they will appear in the game as bosses, tough bosses.  All of the boss fights consist of several waves, each getting harder the closer you come to defeating them.  They do have one huge weak spot, they are weak to bombs, so you may want to save those up and not waste them on the goons.  Defeating a bosses wave in a certain amount of time will earn you a special card and collecting them all will give you some mad points.  Playing as the other characters is exactly what you'd expect.  They each have different starting off weapons and all have unique bomb attacks, adding on some serious replay value.

The range of difficulty is varied, there are quite a few options to choose from.  Granted, I didn't notice much of a difference between them other than how many default lives you have.  The harder you choose the game to be, the less lives you have.  This game is far from impossible to beat as you have infinite lives on the easiest setting.  This is a good way to see the game on your first run and to unlock all of the characters and levels.  After that, you'll want to test out your skills on the harder settings and beating the levels on those settings is super satisfying.  The easiest mode did get a bit dull by having no challenge to it, plus you can just purposely die to refill your bombs and spam them on the bosses.  If you want an extra challenge, try Dungeon Mode.  This mode spawns a dungeon with random rooms and you'll have to face waves of enemies to get deeper in.  I wasn't a fan of this mode, nothing wrong with it aesthetically, it just wasn't for me.

However, this game (just like many other games) has its flaws.  Since it is a Unity Game, it can get a little buggy with the player being able to get stuck in places that they shouldn't be in.  Don't worry though, these bugs aren't very common, but you will need to reset the game in order to get it working again.  When you do find yourself facing a ton of enemies, the game slows down to a chuggy framerate.  None of these problems were big enough to ruin the game though, but I did get annoyed having to redo the level I was on just because I got stuck in a pot, especially when so deep in.



Graphics

The 3D graphics in this game are very basic, but are also super clean looking.  There's not much going on with the graphics, but what it does is enough to prove its point and creates a mystical and fun world.  Most of the character models are very average looking.  They don't give you a sense of uniqueness and end up blending in with all of the other generic Halloween themed games.

Some characters were awesome though, like the doll baddies and a crazy priest that pops up deep into the game.  The character portraits aren't good looking at all, they are very uncanny.  They also have a very creepy looking stare, like they are trying to steal your soul and/or wallet.



Sound

Music in this game has a sound that you would affiliate with witches and dark castles.  It has that orchestral sound you would hear in the Harry Potter movies, but with a few sprinkles of techno and rock.  It's a little generic but it also sounds very good and adds a lot of fun and atmosphere to the levels and gameplay.



Overall, Witch Thief is a fun little game that's mixes in classic arcade genres to create a hidden gem.  Don't let the basic graphics drive you away, this game is worth playing.  Witch Thief gets a 7.4 out of 10.


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