If The Legend of Zelda ever wanted a spin-off title, Trigger Witch from the New Zealand-based studio Rainbrite would perfectly slot right in. We’ve seen witches in Hyrule, but what about witches with guns? Well, if I had my way then that would be the case and after playing the twin-stick shooter over the last week or so, I have a good argument to make it so.
In Trigger Witch, you play Colette, a fledgling member of the witch coven known as The Clip. Covens serve as protectors of the Evertonia, by taking up arms and practicing the Ballistic ism, a pseudo-religion. Colette is no regular witch either, as her mother Hilda is the head of the coven and Grand Receiver of Ballisticism.
Bang, bang, bang, pull the Trigger, Witch
On the final day before graduation Colette sees a man escape through a portal, not long after this, players are sent out into the world to pursue this evil Man in Black. While the story isn’t the main draw here, the game is packed with puns and witty humour, helping hone the idea of what kind of world Trigger Witch wants to be.
Being classified as a twin-stick shooter means that Trigger Witch needs to have the aim and movement mechanics figured out. For most of my time spent playing Trigger Witch, the game handled well and weapons are increasingly satisfying to use in battle. Controls are tight and responsive and anyone who plays will find their groove early on, giving players the tools to make a mess with Colette.
In combat, you have one primary weapon with unlimited ammo with several secondary weapons Colette uses that need to be stashed away before being used again. Whether it’s a flamethrower, machine gun, or an Uzi, each weapon has its own distinct recoil and fire pattern. Each weapon also has an unlock path with four upgrades per weapon but I mainly focused on upgrading the primary gun since it has unlimited ammo. In battles, this decision to add a cooldown to weapons leads to creative battles where you need to make sure you’re always using a new weapon.
Around the mid-way point, the challenge increases but not to the point of frustration. Along with your guns, the quick dash is crucial to taking on enemies and ensuring escape is always is a viable option.
I just Flipped the Switch
Most of your time in Trigger Witch is spent in dungeons, and typical Zelda fashion, dealing with enemies and puzzles. On one hand, the puzzles often need you to be in top form with some of the precision puzzles, and on the other hand, you also need to backtracking quite often. Some elements work in dungeons while others can be frustrating. In most cases, if something doesn’t make sense from the outset, you’ll need to head elsewhere to find what you need. Some puzzles may require you to ricochet a bullet off a wall to flip a switch.
My biggest issue when playing Trigger Witch is that the difficulty never ramped up as any of the dungeons or bosses were particularly challenging. Clearing dungeons isn’t the issue because the combat is fun and a highlight but having to navigate a dungeon looking for every enemy and puzzle before moving on can be tedious in the latter half of the game.
Visually, the sprite work is wonderful and each character’s design is charming and full of life. Paired with music straight out of a SNES title, I had a wonderful sense of nostalgia hit me while I was playing then I had Colette mercilessly kill an enemy that exploded into beautiful 16-but pieces. I’d say that’s pretty much the pinnacle of pixelated gore but luckily there’s a way to turn it off if you find blood to be overbearing to the experience.
There aren’t many games out there that mix a top-down shooter with an RPG but Trigger Witch deftly mixes genres to success. For fans of the genre, you’ll find a worthy title to sink a dozen hours into and for those looking for something new to play, look no further than this charming shooter full of gun-loving witches. Despite the puzzles being on the easy side, the gameplay and charming world make up for Trigger Witch’s shortcoming.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4