If you took one glance at Trigger Witch, it’d be easy to mistake it for a cute Zelda-like adventure that takes you through a luscious fantasy setting. In fairness, the Zelda-inspiration is apparent across a lot of elements of the game’s design when playing too, so it’s a fair observation to make. I don’t remember blasting enemies to smithereens with an arsenal of brutal guns in Nintendo’s famous series though, so it’s clear that Trigger Witch does something VERY differently.
It makes for a fun and charming experience too, even if it is one that can feel a little unspectacular across a lot of elements of its design.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Trigger Witch puts players in the role of Colette, a young witch who lives in a world where her kind rely less on magic and more on the wonderful weaponry. Who needs spells when you can just fill your enemies with holes, right? Colette was meant to graduate in order to become a full-fledged witch, but instead finds her day ruined when a mysterious ‘Man in Black’ appears and causes all kinds of havoc. Thus, Colette must prove her worth and bring him down, in turn bringing peace (or at least some form of it) back to her home kingdom.
As you would imagine, Trigger Witch’s tale is quirky throughout, with the unique bullet-friendly take on a fantasy setting certainly a VERY different one to the norm. It acknowledges and embraces this though, with the silly setup making for plenty of comical moments in-game. It’s clear that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously, but you can tell the developer had fun putting together the story and shaping a world that’s fun to uncover – especially with its fantasy setting that is typically associated with a different kind of game. Used to blasting away enemy soldiers or aliens in your typical twin-stick shooter? Well, it’s all cutesy looking monsters here, and it’s kinda glorious…
“Trigger Witch’s tale is quirky throughout, with the unique bullet-friendly take on a fantasy setting certainly a VERY different one to the norm.”
Trigger Witch’s core gameplay mechanics are based around twin-stick shooting, with players moving Colette around with the left-stick and aiming her guns with the right-stick. There’s a wide arsenal of weaponry to unlock including the likes of handguns, shotguns, machine guns, and flame throwers, with each weapon upgraded by finding the special weapon parts that are hidden across the environment. Some of these weapons can be ESPECIALLY powerful and extravagant whilst upgraded, which makes it all the more enjoyable to blast away at the fodder that linger across the world. It gets all of the basics right when it comes to shooting, with the controls intuitive and your guns feeling like they do pack a punch.
You know how I said that Trigger Witch has some obvious Zelda-like inspirations? Well, that’s clear with the game’s dungeon design, which see players exploring maze-like environments, evading traps, solving small puzzles, and defeating the hordes of enemies that inhabit them. Nothing is ever overly complicated from a design perspective and players shouldn’t struggle to get through the dungeons, but they still add a fun twist to the twin-stick shooting formula that ensures there’s more to Trigger Witch than just shooting everything in sight.
“There’s a wide arsenal of weaponry to unlock including the likes of handguns, shotguns, machine guns, and flame throwers, with each weapon upgraded by finding the special weapon parts that are hidden across the environment.”
Don’t worry though – there’s still PLENTY of shooting to be done. There are a ton of foes out there itching to take Colette down, so you’ve constantly got to be shooting and moving in order to survive their attacks. Admittedly, it would have been nice to have seen a bit more variation to each enemy’s attacks (they can get predictable with their standard melee and ranged attacks), but each showdown with them still managed to be fun. The boss battles particularly stood out as impressive encounters, with these showdowns requiring a bit more of a thought-process and calculated shooting in order to take down.
Trigger Witch is a whole lot of fun to play and brings a surprising amount of variety within its gameplay – there’s even room for a vertical shooting mini-game as well and plenty to discover, so there’s a lot going on in the world. I couldn’t help but to find everything a bit simple in design though, with a lack of depth found across almost all elements of its design. Outside of the brilliant fantasy/twin-stick shooting crossover, there’s not much originality to be found across the gameplay mechanics. It’s not a particularly difficult game either, with only two or three deaths suffered across my nine-hour playthrough.
“I loved exploring Trigger Witch’s open world in order to scavenge all collectibles, clearing the challenges of each dungeon, and slaying any enemies in my path…”
You know what, though? I still had a really good time playing. I loved exploring Trigger Witch’s open world in order to scavenge all collectibles, clearing the challenges of each dungeon, and slaying any enemies in my path, whilst the charming narrative and vibrant aesthetic helped bring everything to life. I haven’t even touched upon how pretty everything in the game is, with the 16-bit style world packed with little details and varied biomes that ensure there’s plenty of different things to see. Again (and I feel like a broken record at this point), it’s quite Zelda-like in design, which can ONLY be a good thing.
One of Trigger Witch’s best features is the drop-in local co-op, which allows you to play through the entire adventure with a friend. Trigger Witch’s manic gameplay suits this perfectly, whilst the accessible nature of the gameplay means another player can drop in and be a natural immediately. My younger nephew saw me playing the game and HAD to try it – he was annoyed when his mother made me change the bloody gore of the enemies into confetti (which is a cool family-friendly feature, might I add), but a fun time was had blasting through the game world.
Trigger Witch offers a unique take on the twin-stick shooting genre that’s a heck of a lot of fun to play (and unexpectedly cute). Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t do anything you wouldn’t have seen before from a gameplay perspective, but the distinct world, the clever dungeon designs, and the satisfying gameplay loop ensure that a good time is had throughout – especially when playing with a friend in local co-op.
It might offer a very different take on the typical twin-stick shooting formula, but there’s plenty of fun to be had blasting your enemies to smithereens in Trigger Witch. Who needs fancy spells when you got a flame thrower and dual-uzis, right?
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One