Some indie games combine existing formulas to create a truly stand-out experience and this is the case with the delightful Trigger Witch.
Trigger Witch has you play as Colette who's on a mission to bring peace to her kingdom after a shifty individual appears. The story isn't all that engaging but I did enjoy the dialogue scenes which are full of silly conversations and strong personality types. Plus, if you're playing a game called Trigger Witch for its story, you're doing it wrong. Anyway, this is by the same developers as the cute Reverie and it follows a similar Zelda-like setup where you explore an overworld then try your best to conquer dungeons. Meanwhile, the core gameplay is exactly what you'd expect from a twin-stick shooter where you run around with the left stick and aim your equipped firearm with the right. Why witches need guns is beyond me but it's funny nonetheless, especially watching the environments fill with blood splatters as you shoot the enemies which are actually quite cute for the most part. It's a crazy formula that in the end, works out impressively well.
One aspect that surprised me about Trigger Witch is its beautiful animations. Although it looks like a simple and colourful game on the surface, your character actually rotates so smoothly that you can tell the animators put a lot of work into capturing her from as many angles as possible. Factor in your gun movement as you aim and you're looking at a supremely well-animated protagonist. Oh, and the clever array of enemy types look great, too, as well as the distinct environments and character artwork. It's all wonderful stuff. 😊
As mentioned, the core gameplay of Trigger Witch isn't far removed from a typical twin-stick shooter but it does handle everything exceptionally well to create an intuitive and satisfying shooting experience. On top of shooting, you also have a handy dash move to avoid incoming fire and you can tap a button to drink a recharging healing potion whenever you need to. You can even play co-op with a local friend at any time which is awesome. There's also a variety of guns to unlock such as dual-Uzis, a grenade launcher, and a Tesla gun. With that being said, I mainly stuck with the standard firearm and upgraded it almost exclusively which made it quite powerful.
Speaking of upgrades, Trigger Witch's world is full of goodies to discover. The main collectible is 36 upgrade kits which allow you to unlock 4 aspects of each of the 9 guns that you can then upgrade with earned currency. Doing so will make you notice a big difference as having stronger shots, increased ammo, faster reloads, and quicker fire rates adds up to a lot of extra firepower. You can also purchase health extenders and such. Plus, being able to buy maps so you can see where the items that you missed are is super-handy. 🗺️
Even though I loved my time with Trigger Witch, I found its overall lack of challenge to be fairly underwhelming. Don't get me wrong; it does an excellent job of making you keep wanting to play it but you certainly won't feel like you overcame any tough challenges as you advance. Similarly, a few dungeons got a bit tedious because they were too long or had me do repetitive tasks in order to progress. I also wish there was more gameplay variety. When I came across a segment that acted like a vertical shoot 'em up, I was quite happy but once it ended, I wanted to experience much more besides the twin-stick combat, exploration, and light puzzle-solving.
As prolific game reviewer A.J. Maciejewski once said: "Give a witch a gun and she'll shoot for a day; teach a witch to shoot and she'll pulverize forest creatures for a lifetime." In other words, Trigger Witch is a ridiculously fun game that manages to remain enjoyable for hours upon hours due to its reliance on satisfying gameplay, colourful well-animated visuals, and rewarding upgrades.
- + Intuitive twin-stick shooting combines well with Zelda-style adventure
- + Awesome animation and colourful visuals
- + You can play cooperatively with a friend
- - Combat doesn't provide much of a challenge
- - Some parts can become rather tedious
- - Could use a bit more gameplay variety