For once there is no need for a double jump powerup in a Metroidvania. The Knight Witch combines dungeon exploring with a free flying mechanism and bullet hell dodging, and not in a bad way.
Climate change is clearly also going on in video game worlds. In The Knight Witch, the world above the surface has been bombarded to oblivion and the people were required to build themselves a new habitat below ground. The greatest warrior among the people are flying knight witches, who according to legends won wars without needing any army to support them.
The main character of the game is Rayne, a joyful knight witch prospect, who didn't quite make the cut of the official knight witch ranks. Rayne is pulled into the middle of the action, when things start going awry and the brave knight witches seemingly disappeared. Piece by piece Rayne needs to collect powerups, to vanquish evil once again.
The story is generic, but written fairly well. The narrative takes enough twists and turns and the characters have more dimensions than just one. Even though the story becomes quickly quite predictable, it still has its qualities and it motivates to explore the dungeons further.
Rayne can fly right from the start, which creates an interestingly fresh feeling to the tried and true Metroidvania-formula. The zooming through the mazes is fun and eliminates the usual obstacles focused around restricting the players movements. Perhaps the flying itself would be too easy though, so there is a heavy amount of bullet hell action also present. From the beginning of the game the screen starts to fill with colourful bullets for our witch to dodge.
This is an ad:
There are also even more ideas incorporated in the action. Rayne shoots homing bullets, but they can be also hand-directed, which makes them do more damage. As the witch must also cast magic, the spells are done as different spell cards, which depending on the card played can make Rayne's bullets better, cast a powerful melee-spell, or give different shields. Here the game also has deck-building qualities, as the spells can't be chosen deliberately. Instead, the cards are put in a deck on top of each other and once a spell has been cast, the next spells are picked from the deck. Only three spells out of nine spell slots are available at a time.
The mixture works surprisingly well, and the game is very entertaining. As the bullets head automatically towards the enemy, in tight spaces the focus can be put into dodging the enemy attacks and correctly using the spells. This is helpful, as the difficulty of the game does not hold back. Even the tutorial boss packs some serious punch. As the game goes on, so does the difficulty and especially the occasional ambushes are a serious pain. Of course, this is not enough, and for seasoned knight witches the dungeons have hidden challenge rooms, which put the players might into serious test.
This is an ad:
After a while though, one does get accustomed to the difficulty, which reveals a surprisingly enjoyable and addicting adventure. The art and music are beautiful, new ideas have been used in numbers and even the dungeons are designed well. The main downside to this is that the game is also very short and the final dungeons come forward only after six or seven hours of playtime.
As a whole, The Knight Witch is a recommendable experience, especially if you wish new twists to the classic Metroidvania-gameplay and the difficulty level doesn't worry you. And even if it does, the game has a few cool cheat codes to aid towards the victory. This video game is a fine one indeed.
8 / 10
Beautiful art and music. New ideas are great. Well-designed dungeons.