This year we’ve seen a number of different titles from Team 17. Thymesia was an interesting take on the Soulsborne genre, Bravery & Greed, and Ship of Fools both offered their own take on the roguelike genre, with The Knight Witch exploring the scrolling shooter genre. Now that the console release is out, complete with the intended difficulty patch, does it reach new heights, or does it crash and burn a little slower now?
The Knight Witch starts with a rather poignant story about capitalism, and our dwindling natural resources. After a couple lines of dialogue, including mention that our future isn’t here, but the stars beyond, it concluded with Robyn defeating the villain. Unknowingly, her attack revealed an underground city, which people quickly moved to in hopes of starting a new life.
Years later the adventure shifts from Robyn, to Rayne. Apparently, in the time since the attack, the remaining people decided to celebrate Robyn’s accomplishments by honoring her with a day. This fills Rayne with complicated emotions, as she trained to be a Knight Witch, but was not among the four that saved the day. Slowly the cast of characters are introduced, including her husband who is almost too sweet, but peace ends with an attack from a mysterious force.
It makes for an interesting premise, mostly because characters feel genuine. Since players gain power by creating links with those around you, the narrative is very character driven. This makes every little action a lot of fun, along with adding a lot by exploring engaging every optional conversation. All of this makes for a thrilling adventure, assuming you can survive it.
He Really Is
Instead of having traditional difficulty settings, The Knight Witch presents most of it through your method of attack. Rayne has two types of standard attack. One is an aimed shot, something that is probably significantly easier with a mouse, with the other being an auto lock-on attack. Targeting does more damage, along with giving players a bit more control over critical threats, or hazards, but is more punishing. This balance is important, as it feels fair to players. I can risk focusing on specific enemies, or focus on dodging attacks.
To add some depth to these encounters, players can find cards that can be used to build decks. Once a deck is constructed, you can perform specific attacks provided you meet the conditions of the attack. This plays into the recent card fad, something Marvel’s Midnight Suns and Back 4 Blood both used, with it not being among the best use of it. Limiting players to a finite number of powers is fine, it just requires a level of awareness, along with potentially not having what you need will turn some players off.
Boss battles are another divisive element. For the most part, I’d say the average enemy encounter is pretty easy. Some stages have more difficult arrangements, either by limiting options, adding more powerful foes, or just asking a lot of players, with bosses requiring a higher set of skill than the rest. Not only do you need to pay attention to multiple mechanics, there will be situations where poor focus will result in getting overwhelmed.
Thankfully, players have plenty of options as well. In addition to being able to purchase armor, used to temporarily increase health, there are a fair number of secrets to discover. Some of these include new cards, others additional resources, with The Knight Witch rewarding players who take the time to explore the lovely world.
The Knight Witch Review Verdict
The Knight Witch is a charming game in a genre you don’t see as often these days. While the level design is a bit generic, the story, and visuals help sell this cute adventure to save the day. That being said, if you struggle with bullet hell games, or more complicated bosses typical from that genre, you might be put off by some of the rather demanding boss battles. But, outside of that, fans of the genre will likely have a blast helping Rayne save the day.
[Editor’s Note: The Knight Witch was reviewed on PlayStation 5 and a copy was provided to us for review purposes. This review is based off the intended difficulty patch, not the base version.]