Trigger Witch – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by Rainbite and published by Eastasiasoft, Trigger Witch is a top down twin stick shooter with cute visuals that are quickly soaked in pixelated blood. Colette, the newest graduate of the Stock, an academy for Witchcraft and Triggery sets out on a quest to restore peace to her home. This title is available on all console platforms, with links to each version of the game will be at the bottom of this review.

 Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank Eastasiasoft for providing the copy of Trigger witch that was used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.

Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. I will be skipping the story segment and moving directly into the gameplay, as I feel that the story should be experienced first-hand. I will only be covering the basic mechanics as to not spoil any of the surprises in this release.

Gameplay – Trigger Witch is top down twin stick shooter similar to classic titles like Loaded and Smash TV, with an aesthetic akin to that of the Secret of Mana and Legend of Zelda. As Colette, the player must traverse across the different areas of the world, explore dungeons and lay waste to the cutesy foes that stand in their way. To achieve their goal, the player must use a variety of firearms to take down the hordes of enemies and solve puzzles, all to complete quests to save the world.

Combat is simple, with movement controlled with one stick and aiming the other, unlike most twin stick shooters, weapons are fired with button press which allows for more accurate gun play. Alongside the precision that this play style provides, the player is also able to move more fluidly and use a dash skill to avoid potential damage. If the player takes damage, health can be restored by using the healing potion which is replenished by killing enemies in battle

The player is equipped with a hand cannon that allows them to blast enemies with infinite ammo, alongside special weapons that can be collected during the course of the game. The special weapons have limited munitions that will replenish after a cool down period, making management of special ammo important. This is due to the way that dungeons function during the game, with puzzles to solve, wave based battles against enemies and challenging boss battles.

When enemies and some objects are destroyed, gems will be dropped by them, which can be used to purchase items and upgrades from the home village. The upgrades that are available will bolster the strength of the player arsenal, giving them greater firepower and make the more difficult combat encounters easier to handle. The player can also buy health upgrades to increase the amount of damage that can be taken, as well as maps to secret in different locations.

The world is split into different zones, consisting of an Overworld map and dungeons, with each segment of both separated into rooms to explore. Each of these areas has their own unique themes and which allows them to separate themselves from each other, with forests, beaches and caves to name but a few.  In each area there are creatures that are native to that location with bosses to battle to complete quest objectives, alongside the more generic creatures that populate the world.

As a companion to the top down shooting, there are additional mini games that can be fun to break up the action to keep the experience fresh. This change of style adds to the fun of the game, giving the player more variety to play. The last thing to discuss is the 2 player co-op, which allows for a second player to jump in and help take down enemies. This can be helpful as it alleviates the tension of more difficult stages, making it a little easier to fight bosses and wave battles.

Now with the gameplay covered, I will be moving onto the other aspects of the game, starting with the controls.

Controls – the controls for this title are implemented well to work with a twin stick set-up, with the left stick being used for movement and the right for aiming. A crosshair and auto aim can be used to make shooting a little easier, as it can be tough to hit different enemies. The fire button and dash are on the triggers, weapons are switched with the shoulders and the functions like character interactions/potions are mapped to the face buttons.

Difficulty – there is a balanced difficulty curve to this title, with an adjustable difficulty slider that can be altered to change the damage dealt and received. The gun play itself is challenging with reload times for weapons making battles tense, as there is little in terms of invincibility frames when taking damage but that doesn’t take away from the experience. When the player is killed, they are returned to a checkpoint, which doesn’t punish the player too severely and the 2 player mode makes the challenge more achievable for those who may struggle.

Presentation – the visual style has a 16-bit look to it, with cutesy enemies to battle that explode into bloody smears, but if blood isn’t your thing there is a piñata mode that replaces the blood with candy. The animations are smooth and the pixel art for the character sprites/portraits in cutscenes look fantastic. The sound design for this release is excellent, with a soundtrack that switches from light to heavy when entering combat. There isn’t any voice acting, with dialogue portrayed by a simple sound but this doesn’t take anything away from the game.

Final Thoughts – I had a lot of fun with this title with the exciting gun play, challenging puzzles and vibrant world to explore. There is a considerable amount of depth and challenge for players of all skill levels, with the added bonus of co-op play for those who want to share the game with another. The extra mini games, bonus challenges and secrets to uncover add to the value of this release, keeping the overall experience fresh during play.

I am happy to recommend this title to everyone, whether you want to play this title on the big screen with the blood in all of its high definition pixelated glory, or you just want to take it easy in handheld with candy gore. This is a fantastic title for fans of twin stick shooters, with a retro styled aesthetic and a soundtrack that emphasizes the action on screen. The game does have some minor flaws to it, like the reload cooldown feature and the lack of invincibility on damage but it doesn’t ruin the game.

In the end, I give Trigger Witch a final score of 4/5. This is a fun and frantic twin stick shooter with a vibrant game world to explore, exciting shooting with challenging bosses and a depth to the experience that keeps the gameplay fresh. If you want to check this game out for yourself, links to each version of the game are below. There is a free upgrade for the PlayStation 4 version available, to get the updated PlayStation 5 version.

Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)

Link to PlayStation versions (HERE)

Link to Xbox versions (HERE)

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