|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hitmaker||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: NIS America||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 6, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Aside from the doll factor, pretty much everything else about the battle system (and the gameplay in general) is just plain boring. The magic attacks follow an elemental system, but the enemies do not, which means that you'll just have to guess which attack is most effective against an enemy. Of course, by the time you figure it out, the enemy is probably already defeated, as the majority of your opponents are ridiculously underpowered.
Control for the game continues the mediocre trend, and is, unfortunately, completely stylus-based. You can drag your character around with the stylus, and you'll be able to interact with the environment by touching anything that sparkles. While this works well enough most of the time, in complex environments it can be tough to navigate with the stylus, and when you are trying to touch a shiny object that is close to another shiny object, the control can get a little confusing.
The only real redeeming quality in A Witch's Tale has to be the art style. If this game played as good as it looked, it would certainly achieve a "Must-Buy" ranking. The game has a visual style similar to Disgaea, complete with big-eyed heroines and fantastically designed, otherworldly creatures. The characters are made of very high-quality sprites, and although the levels are also pixel-based, they feature plenty of vivid colors and detail.
One thing that really stood out to me was the Halloween-centric style of the game. The central hub area looks just like Halloween Town in A Nightmare Before Christmas, complete with talking pumpkins lining fences and dark, shadowy ghouls populating the streets. Since this is an October release, it certainly makes sense, and if you are looking for a handheld title to celebrate Halloween with, you won't be disappointed. Although plot scenes consist of little more than stoic pictures, the in-game visuals more than make up for this shortcoming and are among the best I've seen for this genre on the DS.
A Witch's Tale isn't a bad game. However, it is a generic game. In fact, if being generic was an Olympic sport, A Witch's Tale would definitely be a gold medalist. With all its clichés and conventions packed in to one package, A Witch's Tale definitely exceeds expectations for being predictable. Unfortunately, expectations aren't exceeded anywhere else. If you're looking for a short romp through a magical girl's world, and you don't mind the amazingly easy gameplay, then you might get a kick out of this one. If not, then just leave this witch in her own time.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor