Review – Witcheye (Switch)

I’ve been keeping an eye (pun only moderately intended) on Moon Kid’s and Devolver Digital’s Witcheye for a while now. Originally a mobile exclusive, this title isn’t exactly the kind of game you’d expect upon hearing the aforementioned term. This isn’t a F2P game with gacha mechanics, time wasters, or loads of microtransactions. Instead it’s an upfront, full-priced, retro-inspired indie that could easily be enjoyed on a system like the Switch. Now that it’s finally available on Nintendo’s console, a much better overall fit for its gameplay and design, it’s time to see if it was worth the wait.

Witcheye

This eyeball is ALMOST kinda cute…

Witcheye starts off with a somewhat lengthy story clip that showcases a brave knight setting out in an adventure seeking a wide array of magical artifacts owned by a seemingly evil witch. Turns out that, in fact, you’re not supposed to control the knight, as it turns out that he’s actually the game’s main villain. You control the titular witch, roaming through various levels in order to recover her jewels and her magical artifacts. For reasons behind my comprehension, she transforms herself into a flying eyeball and that’s what your supposed to play as for the rest of your adventure.

The gameplay is pretty simple and straightforward. With either the analog stick or a swipe on the Switch’s screen, you decide in which direction your flying eyeball should fly towards. It will proceed to fly on a straight line, ricocheting on any nearby walls, until you either tap the screen or press any of the face buttons to make the eyeball immediately stop in its place. In order to kill an enemy, you simple have to ram into it at the right angle, avoiding spiky or hard parts of their body. This is how you’ll defeat bosses as well. In short, that’s the whole control scheme, and the gameplay can be summarised as going from A to B, defeating a miniboss in each level, as well as a boss at the end of each chapter.

Witcheye

Boss battles almost always revolve around looking for the point in their bodies that isn’t hard or pointy, and then bashing it until the poor thing dies.

This game is very short, as most of its levels last for less than a minute. It is a bit replayable, however, as each level contains three moderately hidden gems and a very well-hidden gem for you to locate. That might extend its duration by an hour or two, but you’re look at just a handful of hours in order to complete it in multiple difficulty settings. Even in harder modes, I didn’t think Witcheye was THAT hard, though it’s never that easy to begin with. It feels as challenging as any other game from the SNES era, as this game is basically a lost gem from the 90’s that just happened to be coded and released two decades later.

It looks like a proper Super Nintendo game, even if things look a bit too stretched and pixelated. The game just doesn’t take that much advantage of the Switch’s larger screen, owing to its mobile roots. Its character animations are quite impressive, however, with its bosses being its main highlight. The soundtrack is also something I would have expected from a high quality 16-bit era game. It’s much catchier than expected and has some really good tunes. I can only wonder the vast majority of people who simply ignored this game’s soundtrack back when it was only available on mobile, as most people just enjoy these games on mute, or while listening to their own library of tunes.

Witcheye

Hooray, a water level…

Witcheye feels right at home on the Switch. By no means a revolutionary game, much less a lengthy one, it still features a wide assortment of enemies, sceneries, and secrets to unfold. It would have certainly been a bonafide hit, had it been released back in the SNES days. Considering its minuscule price tag and how polished it is, I see no reason why I shouldn’t recommend Witcheye to any Switch owner looking for a quick arcadey fix.

 

Graphics: 7.5

It looks like a Super Nintendo game with some really good character animations, although everything looks a bit too stretched and pixelated.

Gameplay: 8.0

Witcheye‘s gameplay loop is very unique. You might think its control scheme is a bit odd at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it and will control your flying eyeball like a pro in no time. Even though you can use the Switch’s touchscreen, I think the game is best enjoyed with an analog stick.

Sound: 8.0

Witcheye‘s soundtrack is way catchier than what I would have expected from an originally mobile game. Its sound effects aren’t anything special, but they get the job done.

Fun Factor: 7.5

It’s a really fun and innovative game that would have been a hit had it been released back in the SNES days. Sadly, due to its mobile roots, it’s very short. It left me craving for more.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Witcheye is available now on Switch, PC, iOS and Android.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Witcheye was provided by the publisher.