At the beginning of January 2023, we invite you to return a bit to The Knight Witch, the original software released at the beginning of December 2022, which perfectly combines Shmup and Metroidvania. And we can tell you, if you love challenges like we do, you really won’t be disappointed!
The Witch Knight comes to us from the developers of the Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team (or SAHDMT). This Spanish studio is staffed by industry veterans who have worked on RiME, Moonlighter, Worms 3D, EyeToy Play and Plants vs Zombies. Under the direction of their studio SAHDMT, the developers have released three mobile applications: Pro Zombie Soccer, Pro Zombie Soccer Apocalypse Edition and Supermagical, which have since become very famous.
By the way, for reference, during the development of the first name, some members of the team combined work and did Pro Zombie Soccer in their free time and on weekends: a tedious, but fun passage, as they say. After this development, and over four years of making mobile games, the Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team (or SAHDMT) dedicated themselves to their first console and PC game: Rise & Shine. Sophisticated software, very colorful, a mixture of Run’n Gun and Die & Retry, we still remember it!
For the Witch Knight, the developers have kept some subtleties, we are thinking about coloring and the most cartoon / comic graphics, which, by the way, is still just as successful, but also difficult; however, this is not a copy/paste. No, The Knight Witch is much more than that: a very well-balanced alliance between Shmup (or Shoot ’em Up) and Metroidvania, offering a good challenge with some difficulty peaks.
First, the adventure tells us about the heroic deeds of the four “Witch Knights”. It must be said that an unprecedented war raged fourteen years ago. He stood up to the Daigadai clan, overexploiting themselves by plundering the planet’s natural resources, and the Children of Gaia, “rebels” who wanted to save it. It was the latter who received the support of the “Witch Knights” or warrior witches. Apparently facing their opponents and their great powers (coming from different abilities), the four warrior witches managed to defeat the threat… However, the surface of the planet was in too bad condition to remain hospitable… Thus, the surviving two camps decided to go to the heart only that of the discovered underground city: Donhonidas. A welcoming “land” filled with resources (food, energy and, of course, oxygen).
Today, after the big ellipsis (fourteen years later), there is a party in honor of Robin, captain of the Witch Knights and great savior. But that’s when the Daigadai decide to launch a new attack. This time around, you’ll also have to rely on Rain (who you play): a witch knight who wasn’t invited to the war of the past for a special reason. However, she knows and has “passed” all the training of these warrior witches. Of course, she intends to do everything to protect the residents!
As for the script, the app uses two rather recurring themes: war between two “factions” and also ecology. Thus, if the overall context is not original, the adventure remains very enjoyable to follow. We owe this excellent storytelling, as well as the characters, some of which are adorable, such as the married couple created by Rein and Akai, or other revealed personalities. Moreover, Knowledge does not stand aside, being just as rich, information is extracted from both dialogues and letters.
Mix of genres works well
All of these elements benefit from an absolutely sublime artistic direction. As we said before, The Knight Witch has a universe with very colorful cartoon/anime graphics with super shimmery hues that are pleasing to the eye; evolution in 2D/2.5D happens without displeasure.
As a mix of Shmup and Metroidvania, one might be wary of a trend or at least an over-focus on one of the two genres and not enough on the other. But no, the developers managed to balance their dual approach/concept. So the Metroidvania axis takes on all the known perks and habits of the genre, we are of course thinking about discovering new places/environments that interconnect with each other, which then require re-reading with new power. to progress. Whether it’s natural during an adventure, or to search for cards (special abilities) or “treasures”, among other things. To name just one power, so as not to spoil the various surprises, we get our hands on dodge / dash, for example, very useful in combat, but not only, we will not say more!
In addition to its Metroidvania components, the Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team (or SAHDMT) title also uses Shmup or Shoot ‘Em Up principles: bullets, challenge – and more – and very fluid movement. Subtly integrated, Rain is very pleasant to handle, she sort of replaces traditional “vessels” (or other characters, like in Cotton Reboot, for example), and can move in all directions. Of course, this warrior witch has the means of defense and attack. First, its so-called Classic Strike allowing you to shoot and destroy your opponents in Dual Stick Shooter style, the right stick is used to aim and trigger to shoot.
With such extremely fast handling, you can also count on an “autonomous/automatic” aiming system: once the enemies of Reine are close enough, this witch warrior uses her “potential”, namely, shooting “blindly” – hitting a bull’s eye, we assure you – that is, without the need to use an appropriate stick. A very good idea, especially since Shmup obliges to avoid many projectiles and bullets.
Bullets or even Bullets Hells, we choose this name not by chance, fans of the genre have already understood it, the Witch Knight does not skimp on the number of projectiles to avoid and the number of opponents, thus bringing a significant and very difficult challenge. It’s not insurmountable, but sometimes it takes a few tries before you can feel some satisfaction in going through a very delicate pass (the screen is often very busy). Moreover, if usually one fact of observing regularities is enough, then here this is not always the case and dexterity prevails even more. So it is in your power to be patient even under stress and not to panic even in the light of spotlights, one might say.
In addition, Rain has other abilities as well, including special abilities that can be controlled and equipped in the form of a “deck” type of card game that changes with each use. Each power that requires a certain amount of “MP” or mana bar to launch is clearly not to be neglected, there are really effective offensive options.
In addition, and in order to still leave you with more surprises (for example, to access “cheat codes” to find yourself), the software also has a slightly different Leveling system: this happens through “Links” or “links”. . Basically, when people trust Rain (for example, by helping them or doing “interviews”), a special gauge increases, and once it’s filled, you can increase two specific attributes. A little limited, of course, but this is more than enough, especially since we feel the axis of progression enough.
Let’s get back to the technical and graphical palette of The Knight Witch. At the beginning of this test, we drew a parallel with Rise & Shine, another studio product. If this artistic touch is always so interesting, we have to say that The Witch Knight is really very enjoyable. Entirely hand-drawn, her cartoon/anime presentation is simply superb, even with lots of detail in multiple planes, the colorful characters are neatly designed, but like a certain Cuphead, don’t be fooled by that gorgeous face, the game is a lot more complex and complex than it looks , dexterity and patience must be!
Musically, there is nothing wrong with the title, the themes really harmonize perfectly with the situations experienced, plus for the immersion, of course! Finally, the texts on the screen are displayed in French, there is no voice acting.
Tested on Xbox Series X
Introduced last year among all the end-of-the-year releases, as we’re used to now, you may have missed that little gem that is The Knight Witch. While the greater difficulty may surprise or even discourage some, the Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team software published by Team17 offers entertaining and enjoyable Shmup stages at will. But also a sublime artistic touch, not forgetting the lovable characters, Metroidvania (a little more restrained) and more.