I initially picked up Witchcrafty as a game that my two young daughters could play. However, as I sat with them guiding them through the various cute forest environments I found myself getting sucked into the game as well. When the difficulty level began to exceed my daughter’s patience I had to step in the save the day. The game is an enjoyable Metroidvania, with the right amount of upgrades and biome changes to keep you hooked but the save points can be a pain. Here’s my review of Witchcrafty on Xbox.
The pixel art design of Witchcrafty may be 2D, but they look stunning. The attention to detail in the pixelwork and character design is impressive, and the animations are smooth, and work well. The level design has all the recognisable elements including spikes, solid platforms, jump-through platforms, moving platforms, and crumbling platforms. There s nothing new here but that adds to the warm and fuzzy feeling of familiarity.
In Witchcrafty, you play as a witch who overslept and has to investigate the source of a malevolent other-worldly force located below the goblin caves. The world is divided into five realms, each with their own boss battle at the end, including castles, forests, caves and mountains. There’s also the freedom to hop on a broomstick later on and travel back to any of the previous realms, giving the game the outline of a true Metroidvania.
The little witch starts with a limited toolset, but soon develops more as the game progresses. There are spells that are elemental and are tied to particular blocks and chests that require said spell to obliterate them. There’s limited mana, so you can’t use spells all the time. The controls are pretty good, making Witchcrafty a tight little action platformer. Sometimes the character gets stuck in a single animation frame but a quick jump puts your character on the straight and narrow. Outside of collecting mana for your elemental attacks, the other collectible is a gem, which accumulates enough quantities that you can afford to buy a quarter of health or additional mana.
The platforming and combat are mostly on the easy side, but Witchcrafty has a dark side and it spikes suddenly, making some parts of the game too difficult for the intended audience (little kids). The game also employs an extremely harsh save system. When you die, all your progress is rewound to the last save point, which is not uncommon, but very frustrating for the target audience. In the end, I would have to unlock a chest and backtrack to a save point to save the progress before tackling the next section.
A Charming But Fickle Witch
Witchcrafty looks lovely and is a fun and enjoyable Metroidvania. Yes, it comes with some issues that may hamper your enjoyment but it’s worth looking past them. The game’s difficulty level varies, with some sections and bosses being frustratingly intense and other sections being a breeze. The save system is harsh for newer players not used to the old mega-man days. However, the game is still fun, and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a simple yet enjoyable Metroidvania.
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