If the idea of a twin-stick shooter Metroidvania sounds good to you then here's The Knight Witch; let's see if it blends the genres well.
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Make it Rayne
The Knight Witch has you play as the main character Rayne who has the ability to fly around, shoot magic, and wield spell cards. At the beginning of the tale, her hometown gets invaded by evil forces and her husband goes missing in the process so it's up to her to save the day, rescue her hubby, and live happily ever after. There really isn't much to the story but you will meet a somewhat expansive cast of NPCs throughout as you rescue them from cages that are dotted around the large map's nooks and crannies. v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154
Flying around as Rayne while shooting at enemies sounds excellent and the trailers lead me to believe that it is. However, I found the core shooting gameplay to be quite clunky and unpredictable. Whereas most twin-stick shooters have you automatically fire while you tilt the right stick, you have to hold the right shoulder button here which is rather awkward. Not only that; your rate of fire is so ludicrously slow that you really have to make sure that every shot counts because the enemy forces can be downright relentless as they fire constant clouds of projectiles your way. There is an auto-aim element but it's unpredictable as you have to be quite close to a target in order for it to activate. Overall, I found all of this to be unsatisfying and downright annoying at times but there are some saving graces.
Explore a lovely world
The first element that I thoroughly enjoyed is The Knight Witch's sense of exploration. For starters, the visuals are absolutely beautiful complete with stunningly detailed environments and adorable animations. Specifically, I loved watching Rayne sip a tea whenever you stop at a save point and even observing her as she flies around looks incredible. Graphics aside, there are rewarding incentives to explore whether you come across a new card type (which I'll get to soon), health upgrade, or shortcut. You also earn currencies as you play and redeeming them for shields that explode when you get hit may just provide enough of a leg-up to take out the next tricky boss. 😅
It's all in the cards
As promised, let's discuss The Knight Witch's spell cards system. As you progress, you'll unlock an assortment of cards that you can equip then they'll randomly be assigned to 3 slots that correspond to different face buttons. Deploying each one consumes a certain number of magic power points but you can recover them easily as enemies may leave some behind after they explode. I absolutely loved experimenting with what these cards are capable of. However, the system doesn't always work because in the heat of battle when you're dodging oodles of bullets, it becomes excruciatingly difficult to glance at which cards you currently have available to you. 🎴
This brew isn't quite done
Before wrapping this up, allow me to go over some aspects that make The Knight Witch feel incomplete as an experience. One persistent issue is that it's incredibly difficult to gauge your surroundings. For example, whenever you're flying up, the camera lags behind just enough so that if an enemy shoots at you from above, you'll likely take a hit seeing as it's frequently hard to dodge it in time. Throw in surprise attacks that are poorly telegraphed (especially from bosses) and you're left with a formula where you'll frequently take damage and feel like it wasn't your fault. Because of this, I would argue that a lot of trial and error is integrated into the level of challenge.
The Knight Witch is a beautiful game that holds a lot of promise with its blend of twin-stick shooting and Metroidvania exploration. I just wish that its gameplay was finer-tuned to not be as clunky and disconnected as it currently is.
- + Functional twin-stick gameplay with a cool spell cards system
- + Beautiful visuals and animations
- + Rewarding goodies to seek out
- - Core shooting gameplay is rather clunky, unsatisfying, and verges on frustrating
- - Incoming fire regularly takes you by surprise
- - Plenty of trial and error scenarios