Do you remember the old skool Zelda games of yesteryear? Titles like A Link to the Past and so on, those that delivered a top-down perspective as Link bumbled around, trying to solve the mysteries and save the world? You do? Have you ever looked at these games and then thought “What this title needs is to be mixed with a twin stick shooter, and then to have a female protagonist?” You have? Well, do I have good news for you, as such a game now exists thanks to the folk over at eastasiasoft. Called Trigger Witch, we are promised more action than you can shake a stick at, with guns, goblins and even Mother Russia thrown into the mix. Intrigued? Then come with me to the world of the Trigger Witch.
Trigger Witch starts easily enough, as these titles tend to, with a trip to a mysterious portal where the worthy witches who visit are given a firearm to carry and use. It’s dangerous to go alone, I guess? Anyway, Colette, the person we play as, visits the Rift, as the portal is known, and is gifted a hand cannon. Once a firearm has been obtained, Colette is required to pass a final test before she can become a full blown member of The Clip, the coven of elite gun-toting witches who bring peace to the land, primarily by the application of fast moving bits of lead.
So, the scene is set, and soon all Colette’s powers will be required to solve a mystery, as a sinister Man in Black is found sneaking around the village, and then unthinkably pierces the barrier between the witches and the Goblins that was erected to maintain peace. Soon, Colette will have to leave the village in order to obtain the three items needed to create a potion to dispel the barrier, allowing her to pursue the Man in Black. I am deliberately not going to go any deeper into the story than this, as finding out what is going on and why people act the way they do is part of the fun of Trigger Witch. Explore and talk to people and you never know what you’ll find out!
And here the adventure begins! The map in Trigger Witch is just like the one in the other games I mentioned earlier, with areas that you haven’t visited full of fog, and red X’s showing you where you need to get to. These can be tackled in any order, but it is suggested that you attempt the missions in the order they are given to you, starting at the Foundry and finishing up in the cold of the Oracle’s Dungeon.
As you’d expect, there are numerous enemies and environmental hazards in your way, not to mention puzzles to test the old grey matter. The different areas of Trigger Witch all look markedly different as well; delivered with that old skool 16-bit vibe to them that evokes the feelings of the Zelda titles. Even the chests in the dungeons that contain weapons to collect are a bit bigger than the normal ones. I’ve seen that somewhere before…
Gameplay is a lot of fun, with good twin-stick controls and a surprising amount of gore. This can be turned off for younger players by turning on pinata mode, which causes enemies to explode into a puff of confetti; that’s a nice touch in itself. Killing enemies causes them to drop gems, which can be collected and traded for upgraded health or weapons, providing you can find weapon parts to unlock the upgrade path for each weapon. And those weapons can be upgraded in four areas: damage, reload speed, ammo capacity and rate of fire. Seeing your guns (of which there are many to find) go from peashooters to mobile artillery is certainly thrilling, and all come in handy later on in the game when the enemies are numerous and a lot tougher, including some that can only be killed by a certain weapon.
Exploring dungeons, finding weapons and killing enemies are all staples we are used to, and so are big boss fights. Trigger Witch doesn’t skimp there either and some of the boss fights have interesting mechanics, such as mounting a broomstick for a bullet-hell shoot-em-up section, or even having to crash minecarts into a giant mole’s hole in order to force him to come out of the ground. The inventiveness of the monsters and the dungeons is really very good indeed, and with the appealing graphical style and boombastic soundtrack, the presentation of Trigger Witch will make gamers of a certain age have flashbacks to previous games of yesteryear. I had a big smile on my face whilst plowing through much of Trigger Witch, and while exploring every nook and cranny of a dungeon does get a bit wearing, overall this is a fun experience.
Trigger Witch is a love letter to the games of the ‘90s. It’s cute, colourful and surprisingly violent, and with drop in/drop out co-op that works brilliantly, you’ll be able to bring a friend or family member along for the ride. The only slight complaint is that the story feels artificially extended, but luckily the narrative is strong enough to keep dragging you on, twisting as it progresses.
In fact, Trigger Witch is hugely enjoyable and it’s helped by the fact that this is an eastasiasoft game where you have to work for the achievements, rather than be gifted them for starting the title.
Trigger Witch harks back to decades past on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One