Metroidvania might be the most crowded genre in all of games right now. With the rise of Indies, also came with it a flood of Metroidvania games. Some Like Hollow Knight, SteamWorld Dig, and Dead Cells represents the very best of what the genre has to offer. There is also the hundreds of Metroidvania indies that come and go quietly into the night. With so many games representing the genre it can be a challenge to stand out. That brings us to The Knight Witch, which is the latest game attempting to stand out in this crowded genre. So does The Knight Witch stand out? Is the game a good single player experience?
Let’s dive into it.
So what is this game? Like I alluded to earlier The Knight Witch is a Metroidvania, but with a shoot em’ up bullet hell twist. You play as the Knight Witch Rayne. Well unofficial Knight Witch who has to rise to the challenge of stopping an invading force from destroying her underground village.
I won’t spoil too much in this review, but I want to give kudos to the The Knight Witches focus on its narrative. It’s a lighthearted fairytale mixed with some dark moments. This mixture pays off well and the serious dramatic moments hits harder than expected. The game is a bit on the short side so some might have a problem when the story’s pace ramps up. The story does a fine job balancing its main plot and introducing you to is world and the lore.
The Knight Witches gameplay is a mixed bag. In this game, your character is constantly flying and you have to navigate where she is flying to while shooting at your enemies. You have your primary blast that you fire at your enemies and spellcards that allow you to do various specialized attacks. For example, one card allows you to manifest a giant magic axe that attacks all the enemies in its attack radius with a giant swing. There is another spellcard that temporally changes your primary slower attack into a machine gun style rapid attack.
Even though you have lots of spellcards in the deck that you carry, the game grants you three cards available to you at one time. Once you use a card, it is shuffled into your deck and a new one becomes available to you. It’s a cool system in the sense that it keeps the gameplay from feeling repetitive and it prevents you from spamming the same spell card over and over again. However, it does suck if there is a card that you really need in the heat of a battle, but you have to use spellcards until you draw that particular card.
Features and Pros:
The most impressive aspect of the game is it’s gorgeous artstyle. The Knight Witch is a showcase of well designed fluid animations and detailed hand-drawn sprites. The lighting in the game is so good and perfectly highlights this world. Every scene of the game is impressive and displays the game’s steampunk fantasy lore.
The game also has a solid soundtrack. The score appropriately amplifies all the emotional beats and sets that fantasy vibe. The game has some rock music that pairs perfectly with the boss fights.
A unique aspect of The Knight Witch is that the game has a mechanic where you havea town hall like press conference with the people of the city. Their belief in you makes you stronger so you can lie to them to get more experience or tell the truth for less experience. I really enjoyed that the choices that you made had actually story ramifications.
Another thing that stood out to me is the traps and hazards that you have to avoid. They are well placed and well thought out.
Something that won’t appeal to everyone is the game’s difficulty. It isn’t quite the challenge of a soulsborne game, but it’s tougher than the cute artstyle would lead you to believe. Those who enjoy playing games on easy mode will be disappointed here. The game only has its default difficulty. It’s rewarding if you stick with the challenge, but this will put some gamers off.
Another flaw is the spellcard system. Even though they add interesting mechanics to the gameplay, it’s hard to focus on them. The reason being is that there is a lot of action on the screen and it’s hard to focus on that aspect. This is especially true when you’re trying to dodge multiple blasts that were shot at you from all directions. The game should have added a third bar with a slow-mo mechanic to better utilize the spell cards at your disposal.
The games map isn’t the worse but it’s not great either. The game does give you a Ghost of Tsushima-like trail that points you in the right direction. However, the problem with this is that trail of light point you to the direction, not the door leading to that direction. So you’ll still occasionally get lost and have to do some backtracking and exploring.
Overall/Should You Play The Knight Witch:
Even though gamers are getting bombarded with Metroidvanias, The Knight Witch does bring something unique and fresh to the table. While it does stumble a bit with its map and combat it’s still a solid and fun time. The lore and the artstyle are the mvps of this game and strong enough to draw you in and keep you engaged.
The Knight Witch won’t be for everyone, but it’s a good Single Player Experience, that fans of challenging metroidvanias will enjoy.
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