A Witch's Tale

This game follows a young witch-in-training named Liddell who accidentally releases a powerful evil while trying to obtain legendary magic

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Hitmaker A Witch's Tale
  • Hitmaker A Witch's Tale
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  • Hitmaker A Witch's Tale

Pros

  • Charming graphical style, easy-to-grasp controls and combat

Cons

  • Often confusing story and progress objectives, ridiculously easy battles

Bottom Line

A Witch's Tale has good ideas, but these disparate elements are too haphazardly implemented to raise it above mediocrity. It's got its heart in the right place, but good intentions do not necessarily equal a top-shelf product.

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I was quite looking forward to A Witch's Tale ever since playing it at E3. The charming manga-styled visuals, fairytale-inspired characters and settings, and stylus-driven controls gave an impression of an RPG with particular appeal to young girls, but that wider audiences could also enjoy. I'm a big proponent of expanding the audience of video games, and I'm still saddened that most products geared to young girls are pet simulators and electronic dress-up dolls with little gameplay to speak of. Sadly, when I played the finished product, I found that A Witch's Tale doesn't really offer much for any gaming demographic.

The game follows a young witch-in-training named Liddell who accidentally releases a powerful evil while trying to obtain legendary magic. Accompanied by a friendly vampire, she travels to numerous themed kingdoms to stop the chaos her mistake has caused, meeting many mysterious characters along the way. For such a simple story, it's told rather poorly: plot threads are introduced and then either abandoned or inadequately explained, characters meant to speak "cryptically" just spout gibberish, and figures that seem important barely wind up doing anything at all. The localization seems a bit off, as well -- some of the character reactions simply don't make sense.

But the story isn't the only area where the game fails to communicate. In each kingdom, you'll need to acquire three objects to make a key, but how and where to get these items is rarely explained through any means but very vague hints. These unclear objectives will no doubt confuse and alienate RPG novices. I'm a longtime genre fan and even I was getting frustrated at wandering around not knowing what to do.

Combat, in contrast, is very easy to grasp. Liddell and up to two of her magical dolls fight enemies in turn-based combat. It's simple but also rather slow-paced... until you get your first super-powered magic variant and find that it can wipe any enemy you encounter off the map. Sure, it costs a lot of MP, but you gain levels so quickly that it doesn't even matter.

What wound up keeping me interested in the game was the graphics. The 2D sprite art is distinct and appealing, and the design of the game's environments and characters is very memorable. It's just a shame you won't spend much time with them, since you'll probably finish the game within about 12-15 hours.

A Witch's Tale has good ideas, but these disparate elements are too haphazardly implemented to raise it above mediocrity. It's got its heart in the right place, but good intentions do not necessarily equal a top-shelf product.

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