Trigger Witch is the sort of game that, if you glanced at it quickly in passing, would look like any number of generic isometric 16-bit titles. With its pixel based visuals, primary coloured environments and happy looking creatures, you could be forgiven for expecting it to be just another isometric Zelda clone or RPG. But I urge you to stop, take a look at the name and allow the game to subvert your expectations of what it is that you’re seeing.
Because Trigger Witch is an insanely violent, ballistic twin-stick shooter content to pepper the mugs of its happy looking monsters with all the calibers under the sun with gleeful and cheery abandon. Monsters beware, for the witches of The Clip have plenty of bullets with your names on it and are they ever so eager to use them.
In the world of Trigger Witch, magic was once as common as the cold, but the arrival of a mysterious portal that regularly spat out firearms, introduced the witches to hot, fashioned lead and thus was the age of ballistics born. No longer did the witches use magic to solve their problems. Instead they forsook magic and began to protect themselves, and solve the world’s problems, with six-shooters and grenade launchers.
As a young witch, Colette, who is just about to graduate from The Stock – an academy for Witchcraft and Triggery – and join The Clip, it’s your job to brave the world’s dangers and dungeons in your quest to find out what a mysterious man who has come to your world through said portal is up to.
Trigger Witch combines the twin-stick shooter with light RPG mechanics and storytelling techniques to present an enthusiastically cute and stylised world. The game is chock full of colourful characters and jokes, the bulk of which revolve around gunplay, that pull you deeper into the world and add some much needed depth to the twin-stick shooter mechanics.
The games mechanics are very simple – you move with the left analogue while aiming with the right – but developer Rainbite have thrown in extra mechanics and play styles to keep the game and its gunplay engaging. Colette has a dash manoeuver that can mean the difference between life and death while killing enemies fills up the only health potion you can carry. New weapons can be picked up across the campaign, usually from chests in dungeons.
The dungeons themselves grow in size as you go along and are filled with plenty of enemies and also traps and puzzles. New dungeon mechanics, such as crystals that ricochet your shoots, help to make each a slightly different experience. Traps can work for you or against you as both you and the enemies can be hurt or caught in them, adding strategy to what would otherwise be simple dodging arena fights. There are also puzzles to solve which will usually require you to use the environment around you, in conjunction with speedy and precise shooting to open doors or move items around on conveyor belts.
Rainbite also attempts to make the bosses themselves interesting. You’ll fight a giant head that spews obscenities as attacks while creating shields and a dragon that’s covered itself in steel and has to be damaged to open up its heart while flying on a broomstick in a schmup section.
Regular enemies tend to have some variety too. The happy mushrooms are soon joined by flying shields who later can reflect your shots back at you, or what looks like bowling balls that try to run you over, while others use magic or lob explosives at you. Now while Trigger Witch isn’t aiming to be a hard game, there were plenty of moments and locked in arena rooms that I just scraped through by the skin of my revolver.
Visually Trigger Witch is quite pretty. Its 16-bit pixel visuals look a treat on the Switch Lite’s smaller screen. Enemies look great and the sight of Colette’s gun sort of floating around her is rather cool once you get used to it. There are also some great reflection effects put into the edges of bodies of water when you walk close enough to them. Overall the world is visually vibrant with a lush colour palette and extraneous details such as butterflies flitting about.
Of course one of the games subversive delights is the bloody, gory and brutal manner in which enemies explode into piles of gore. It’s not uncommon for those wonderful woods to be awash in swathes of red that can cover most of the screen, with Colette leaving little bloody prints behind her as she walks. It’s oddly, cathartically appealing. A nice touch for those who may wish to avoid all the gore, or perhaps have bought this for a younger member of the family before doing the requisite research, is Pinata Mode, in which enemies explode into colourful piles of confetti instead.
If there’s any issue that I had with the game it would be that the dungeons can run on for too long and do become a bit samey after a while. Teleporters within the dungeons act as respawn points so if you die you’ll regenerate at the closest one with the side effect been that enemies respawn as well. This is no Souls or rogue-lite experience thankfully, but it can become a bit tiresome trudging through sections again to get back to where you were before something introduced you to extinction, especially if it’s taken you an hour to get there to begin with.
Of course none of this would mean anything if Trigger Witch wasn’t any fun. Which is why I’m glad – and quite surprised – to say that Trigger Witch is heaps of fun, especially considering that I didn’t expect much from it when I saw it’s initial reveal trailer. Even without the gore, the games humour and combat is more than fun enough to keep you engaged and coming back for more. Along with the tight controls and satisfying gunplay, Trigger Witch impressed me more than I thought it would.
Despite dungeons that can become a chore, Trigger Witch is a well written action game with tight controls and satisfying action. More than that, it’s just a whole lot of fun and that’s what matters the most.
A review code for Trigger Witch was provided to Gameblur by the publisher
Gameplay8/10 Very Good
- Wonderful primary coloured visuals
- Buckets and buckets of gore
- Humorous writing
- Tight gunplay
- Dungeons can run on too long