Witch & Hero

Bumpin' and grindin'.

By Daavpuke, Posted 27 Apr 2013

 

Witch and Hero, Review, 8bit, RPG

It’s always tricky to balance a game with 2 protagonists at the same time without breeding some confusion. Still, Witch & Hero employs some clever tactics, for better or worse, to focus mostly on one and have the other chime in periodically. A charming story of two differing characters and simple yet tight gameplay get mixed with equally adorable visuals for a feel good adventure with a zesty punch. It can be a grind from time, but it’s a labor of love in the end.

While the story is not much to look at, it will drive gameplay later. It goes as follows: A hero is tasked with lifting a curse of a powerful witch that has turned her to stone. Periodically, with enough bloodshed, this petrification can be lifted but after a few spells the blood will wear thin and the curse will steadily return. It sounds grim, but this game is actually quite cheery and colorful. Simple, pixelated visuals set the tone on some lesser stellar backgrounds where upon smiling ghosts, flying cats and cutesy sharks advance. Along with wavy tunes, these bouncy critters will be the main obstacle towards reaching the end. There’s just something smile-inducing about their silly little faces, even as they try to crush the poor witch with their fearsome bumps.

Witch and Hero, Review, 8bit, RPG

That’s right; any creature in this universe merely bumps as a way to attack. This includes our hero, who will need to bump away any assailants with a trusted sword and shield. No other input is required, though it would be foolish to think that this system will make the game a cakewalk. Enemies come in swarms, which are so overwhelming that there is no other option but to strategically hit where possible. As each bump detracts from the hero’s health, it won’t be long until our soldier faints in battle and needs a second. Time to find a hero’s composure won’t benefit the witch, however. Even the slightest exposure means many enemy bumps that tap at the petrified soul and eventually crack the stone to ashes, thus ending the game. Here stands the knife-edge balance needed between bumping, being bumped and fainting at the most tactical time possible.

Upon this already thrilling core, Witch & Hero builds a few additional systems to diversify approaches. For instance, monsters will drop chests that yield money, experience or health refills. Experience serves to level up the witch and make her stronger, while money can be used in the shop to purchase sturdier equipment and better spells. Now, magic is where the witch comes into play. By rotating the stationary spell caster in a proper line of fire, these spells can momentarily provide a great boost to play. Fireballs surge through a straight path of enemies, whilst whirlwinds flock around the screen. Additionally, later stages provide power boosts that restore the hero’s health and make all attacks extremely potent. There is plenty to go on when fighting the good fight throughout these 20 stages.

Still, even with all these aids and periodical boosts, Witch & Hero is a challenge that will not go in line with its cuteness. In fact, all these prior elements will be a requirement, an added tactic, in order to even dream of getting ahead. More times than others, stages will need several retries on the old grindstone before players are a high enough level to continue. At no time is it apparent that the most hardcore of fighters will be able to finish a stage one by one; at some point there will be an inevitable hurdle. This is the only downfall in the game, but it does serve up a sizable amount of needless aggravation. No level is truer in this slog than the final challenge. It’s not a deal breaker, but it is a back breaker. At times, even this cute endeavor is hard work.

Witch and Hero, Review, 8bit, RPG

Those that don’t scare away from trials will find Witch & Hero as endearing as it is gripping, with simple gameplay and solid additions to keep playing round after round. It might require some grinding work, but it will at least stay just as exciting as the first time.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed (@Daavpuke)

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General Information

Witch & Hero

80/100

Platform(s): 3DS
Publisher(s): Circle Entertainment
Developer(s): FK Digital
Genres: Action
Themes: Magic
Release Date: 2013-04-04

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