Game: Witch and Hero
Genre: Tower Defense
Developer: Flyhigh Works and FK Digital
Publisher: Circle Entertainment
System: 3DS (eShop)
Release date: 2013
Witch and Hero is one hell of a fun game.
True, it sports some charmingly rendered graphics that call to mind those of its counterparts from the 1980s, and its blippy soundtrack compares favorably to the ones featured in RPGs from the same era, but neither of those things will prompt you to return to the game over and over and over again as I have since I was given a complimentary copy a few months ago.
No, what will keep you coming back for more (and more and more, if you're anything like me) as far as Witch and Hero is concerned is that it's a total blast to play.
What's so fun about it? For me, it all stems from the title's main gameplay hook, which throws gamers into the shoes of an adorably pixelated knight (the titular hero) and then tasks them with protecting his similarly two-dimensional witch pal from swarm after swarm of oncoming baddies.
You see, each of this digital title's 20 stages begins with the hero's quite literally petrified friend standing at its center. As enemies approach her from the edges of the screen, the player (piloting the aforementioned adorable knight) races about using the 3DS' circle pad and bumps into them, a la Falcom's vaunted Ys series, until they've expired.
Don't worry, it's more strategic than it probably sounds. For instance, if you ram into a baddie from behind you'll cause the most damage while experiencing the least amount of pain yourself.
That's all you have to worry about for the first few levels: killing as many enemies as possible while protecting the witch from harm (since she can take damage, too--and if she dies, it's game over).
Thankfully, Witch and Hero adds an extra layer or two of gameplay to the proceedings just before things begin to feel stale by revealing that it's possible to resurrect your pointy hatted pal for a few, precious seconds----during which she blasts oncoming foes either with a fire or tornado attack--by gathering the drops of blood that are left behind by extinguished enemies and tossing them at her feet.
As much as that helps liven up the experience, things are made even more enjoyable after the last of Witch and Hero's surprises is exposed--with the surprise in question being the introduction of yet another ATB-esque bar that fills each time the knight engages an enemy. Max it out and hit a button and ol' helmet head becomes invincible for a hot second while his better half (OK, so I have no idea whether the witch and hero are married or not) pushes out some spells that are even more wicked and spectacular than the ones she unleashed earlier.
Once both of those "features" are made available to players, Witch and Hero fully blossoms as a portable pick-up-and-play game that's worth every penny (399, to be exact) you spend on it.
That's not to say it's a perfect portable pick-up-and-play game. For instance, there's the fact that it takes a while to show its true colors--and, as such, it's sure to lose a handful of gamers in the interim. Also, the final boss is a real pain in the ass.
Neither of those issues is enough to keep me from recommending Witch and Hero, though, so I'd say that if what I wrote above sounds at all appealing, and if you have $3.99 to spare, you should give it a try at your earliest convenience.
See also: previous 'somewhat gay' reviews