Take an RPG, condense it to about 6 hours in length and replace the battles with a twin stick shooting game mechanic and you’ll be close to Trigger Witch. From the people behind the excellent Reverie, this is another slice of retro pixel art RPG goodness. It is designed to be easy to pick up and understand, which it is. It just doesn’t push too far beyond those basics and so some may tire of the game before its over.
Playing as a witch born to follow in her mums footsteps, you’ll be travelling around the land which has seen witches and goblins separate to opposite sides of the world. The story, whilst having a wink and nudge to old RPG tropes, won’t win awards for its narrative but it serves its purpose for you to go on a collectathon. Dotted around the map are lots of dungeons and castles to explore all in the name of collecting valuable ingredients for potions and weapons. It isn’t until about 40% of the way through the game that the main villain even appears and he is a discount Sephiroth. Thankfully the witch cast can make up for the one dimensional villain.
As you travel you’ll need to shoot. A lot. Four guns are available across the game and they work in a 360 rotation with the right analogue stick. It never felt like a true 360 shooting spree though – almost like its a 32 lane effect – but it gets the job done. Enemies largely charge at you – often with a blast radius of damage upon death. This means you’ll be constantly moving and using your dash ability to stay out their way. When dashing, you’ll be invincible which is also handy for passing spikes and traps. It all works quite well and is exceptionally fun initially because of how the mash up feels. It’s bright, vibrant, bloody (or confetti is you turn this on in the options) and quick fire.
Over time though dungeon fatigue sets in because everything Trigger Witch has to offer is largely seen within the first half hour. Dungeons are set out like mazes and you have to scavenge for keys to open doors. This involves backtracking and getting lost. Portals are available to skip some of the grind but the dungeons, despite having different switch based puzzles in them, feel quite samey. Bosses are fun but also quite easy to conquer too so long as you don’t spam your dash mechanic. For a game that’s six hours long, I was surprising that by the end I was very done with it. Had I enjoyed myself? Yes. I don’t think I’ll be returning any time soon though.
A couple of nice oddities are found to break up the twin stick repetition though. A few vertical flying broomstick shoot em up areas are welcome additions to the gameplay. They add a bit of spice to the twin stick nature of Trigger Witch. There’s also a casino hall hidden away and although you can’t play the slot machines, there’s a fun pinball mini game. Weapons can be upgraded with the gems you collect for killing enemies but to unlock the upgrade path you have to find the tools to unlock them. They are hidden in chests around the world map and although you can purchase a map to reveal their locations, its a nice side quest to try and find them all.
Trigger Witch will wow you for its first hour or so and then you’ll find that its ideas don’t progress beyond its initial introduction. It is fun and well put together but I was hoping for a little more variety in the gameplay over the course of the game. Instead, it just plays the same well crafted note throughout which slightly diminishes the overall feel of it. If you are looking for a mindless RPG lite experience and enjoy simple twin-stick shooters, Trigger Witch will be great for you. Just keep your expectations for new developments in check after the first few minutes.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
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