Temptation is a funny old thing. It could be said it’s now at its height as we come to the end of January, a month where it’s traditional to avoid the consumption of alcohol as people try to dial into the “new year, new me” vibe.
It’s often the case that it’s temptation which proves to be the achilles heel in a tale such as Witch Rise, but not here. Instead the titular witch is just a nasty so and so, who apparently doesn’t need a reason to turn our heroine into a piglet. Get that sorceress a wine, pronto.
As a result, the scene is set for an adventure through a medieval world to break the curse, and recover your human form. To do this, four magic staffs are needed, each of which are held in the possession of big bad boss characters.
The best way I can describe Witch Rise is a crossover between Minecraft and the original Doom (aesthetically anyhow). It’s a first person shooter (of sorts) where only your weapon is visible as you gracefully bob your way around the four different biomes.
Movement is swift, and you can leg it past enemies if you are revisiting rooms, as they will all spawn again each time you go back. However, I found getting around a little off. I’m unsure exactly how to describe it, but I would often get injured by lava pits and spikes, despite being sure I had walked around them.
I would also struggle to pick up drops, having to pass over them two or three times before attaining them. I’m not sure if there was an issue there, or the perspective was just throwing off my accuracy a little. In any case, it was only a minor annoyance in the grand scheme of things.
The style that developers lightUP have gone for may be familiar, but it’s undeniably adorable. The creature design is of the ilk that would translate so well into little plush toys. You know the ones I mean.
Anyhow, in order to track down the magic staffs you have to navigate a labyrinth like maze, and the map will slowly be discovered as you do. There are merchants dotted around each biome who can prove useful by selling extra health, mana and other items such as XP boosts. Each of these vendors will have something a little more unique for sale, in terms of an ability. This could be the power to push heavy boxes, for example, and one even has the completed map up for grabs. These items are pricey, so make sure to track down hidden chests and pick up coins that are surrendered by your enemies.
There is a compass on your HUD to help you use the map, but it’s not always clear which direction it’s pointing in. Sadly, points of interest such as merchants and areas you may want to revisit aren’t marked, so it can be tricky to trace your steps back to where you want to go.
The combat however, is simple. You can hack away at enemies with your sword until you begin to acquire the magic staffs, each of which come with their own damage and mana consumption stats. This is when Witch Rise, for me, goes from easy to an absolute doddle. This is because your range is pretty generous, so you can fire at enemies before they are triggered and retaliate. The environments are also littered with drops as well as the enemies leaving you a little something when you reduce them to a puff of smoke, so death is very unlikely.
The boss characters come with chunky health bars, but are again basic encounters. It’s a case of dodging and firing long enough to emerge victorious. If you’re after a challenge, you’d best look elsewhere.
As you vanquish the horrors of the maze, you’ll earn XP and level up. It’s a very basic system, but it means your max health and mana will increase too. I say that because there are no other real benefits to levelling up, apart from that sweet, sweet Gamerscore of course. That’s right, once again in Witch Rise you don’t need to get anywhere near completing the game (and this is tracked in the pause menu) for you to rake in a cool 1000G. It’s all earned in the line of duty too, there are no challenges or special requirements to collect it all.
In fairness, Witch Rise doesn’t do anything drastically wrong, but it doesn’t do anything particularly exciting either. It’s a solid little game which will keep you busy for a couple of hours if you’ve a few quid to spend. Basically put, Witch Rise is a short and sweet adventure which has its charm, despite being incredibly easy to play.