Genre: Action/Platformer | Platform: Nintendo 3DS eShop
Publisher: Circle Entertainment Developer: Inside System/Flyhigh Works Games
I really enjoyed the last game Circle Entertainment published – Demon King Box for the curious – so I jumped at the chance to review their latest. That game is The Legend of Dark Witch, a game I discovered just last week. The Legend of Dark Witch is a 2d sidescroller that mixes elements from Mega Man with elements from Gradius. Lots of developers choose to emulate the Mega Man style, but not a lot then mix that with the power-up system of Gradius.
The Legend of Dark Witch is a story about a witch named Zizou Olympia and her quest to recover the stolen Syega crystals. Syega crystals are a mysterious source of power that to unlock their full potential. Zizou, a god responsible for restoring magic, appears and begins to fight through the country to question its residents on whom has stolen all the Syega. As you play through the game, you’ll uncover more bits of the story, though after the short opening cut scene, you can get right to the action.
There are three difficulty modes to choose between: easy, normal, and lunatic. My initial reaction was to play through the normal mode, though I soon discovered that to be a more difficult task than I expected. The Legend of Dark Witch isn’t too difficult during the game’s levels, though its boss fights are extremely difficult. So, to get used to the game, I decided to first play it on the easy difficulty mode. This made The Legend of Dark Witch a much less frustrating experience, and in fact, it became one of the more enjoyable experiences of 2014. Though, the game is definitely worthy of a second play on a higher difficulty, should you want to overcome its difficult nature.
Like Mega Man, you get to choose the level you want to tackle. At the end of each level, a boss waits while you fight through a variety of enemies and platforming challenges. Beating that boss will net you a new power-up, which can then be used at any time by Zizou. This would make the game nearly identical to Mega Man, but its Gradius influence is large enough to make it a different experience.
The Gradius influence is felt in the game’s install system. As you defeat enemies, TRES will be dropped and can be used to power-up Zizou. Like Gradius, when a certain amount is collected, you can activate a power-up, or collect more to activate a different power-up. You’ll be upgrading Zizou’s speed, attack, type of attack, etc., when using this install system. Installations can be set to automatic, semi-automatic, or manual, which is the closest to Gradius. You will lose TRES – the amount depends on the difficulty – if you get hit by the enemy, so being cautious becomes a necessary element of the game. After beating a level, you will retain some TRES which can then be used to buy permanent power-ups in the game’s shop. These include powering up your weapons and increasing Zizou’s health.
Zizou uses a projectile attack called the liner shot that can be power-up multiple times. Also, you can just hold down the button to attack, which is a nice touch. Despite being able to use boss weapons, the basic attack is all you really need to beat the game. In fact, the boss weapons are very disappointing with their only use being to defeat other bosses with less hassle.
The levels of The Legend of Dark Witch are linear, though the action is constant, which makes the game a lot of fun. What I particularly enjoyed about the game’s levels are their themes. You get cliche platforming themes like forest and beach, though there are unique ones like Twilight Prison and Chelsea School Dormitory.
The graphics of The Legend of Dark Witch are gorgeous. While there is no stereoscopic 3d – which seems to be the norm with a Circle Entertainment game – the game’s 2D sprites and animation are fantastic. Rounding The Legend of Dark Witch out is a fantastic soundtrack that is full of the energy needed to power through this game.
The Legend of Dark Witch is a fantastic action sidescroller that combines reliable elements from other video games. In particular, borrowing the power-up system from Gradius makes The Legend of Dark Witch an intriguing title that fans of sidescrollers will want to see for themselves. While the game can be frustrating on the game’s normal mode, the power-up system will help you battle through the struggle. The game will take a little over an hour to complete during your first time through, though an unlockable character – with a different set of power-ups – and a ton of additional content give the game a lot of replay value.
8.5/10 – Great
Review copy provided by Circle Entertainment