The Knight Witch Review – Colorful Shmup Adventure

    Title: The Knight Witch
    Developer: Super Mega Team
    Release Date: November 29, 2022
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Team17
    Genre: Shmup

The Knight Witch takes to the skies of the underground in Super Mega Team’s newest release. The game sees you playing as Rayne, a knight witch in training, who lives in an underground city known as Dungeonidas that houses the last bastion of various races following a devastating war caused by a family known as the Daigadai that a team of witches known as the Knight Witches led by a woman named Robyn was able to end.

As the city celebrates the day the war ended, it is attacked by Golems that took part in the fight against the Daigadai family. The golems start capturing everyone and putting them in cages for a mysterious purpose. With the Knight Witches busy trying to stop the invasion, Rayne uses her old spell cards as well as new ones that she finds on her journey and begins her adventure in protecting the city from these mysterious invaders while trying her best to keep the power of linking in check to make sure the Knight Witches keep their abilities to preserve Dungeonidas.

Knight Witch works similarly to a bullet-on-rails shooter, as you will spend time flying through the skies of Dungeonidas and taking down golems that stand in your way. However, you won’t be kept on a rail system as you’ll spend time traveling through the open world maze-like maps and trying to complete your objective instead, rather than blasting enemies until you reach the end of level boss and dodging bullets in the process.

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Your primary weapon is magical bullets of light that Rayne fires toward the enemy. She can fire anywhere or lock onto a target to attack until they’re destroyed, in which case she moves on to the next target in the area. Further, she also has spell cards as a secondary power that will give her advantages to some of the more dangerous battles that she will face on her journey, such as a sudden ambush that locks her in an area until she destroys all the Golems, or a brutal boss fight that she has a risking of dying from and forcing the player to start the battle all over again.

These spell cards range from summoning swords to deal additional damage to a group of enemies or bombs that Reyne can plant in the air so it can explode onto the enemy; there’s also a shield that will protect Rayne from getting hit from a specific direction.

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You start with a set amount of spell cards in which three will appear in random order during gameplay, but when you come across an arcane beacon, you can choose new spell cards to put into your set to use in the future. These spell cards are also powered by mana you can gain when you reach these beacons. These beacons can also be used for a place where Rayne can rest and recount how far she’s been on her journey, as well as for her to go to a Training Palace, where Rayne can test out her new spell card abilities.

The open world map is vast and, at times, complicated, which will sometimes cause the players to get lost in where they’re supposed to go; fortunately, the player can use a magic gust of wind to lead them toward their objective. But, unfortunately, sometimes the gust of wind will point to a direction that the player can’t get through as it’ll be blocked off, which will lead them to be frustrated with how hard it is to reach their objective and having to resort to finding an alternate path without having to use a mechanic that’s supposed to lead them to continue the story.

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The Knight Witches get their power from people who believe in them, which serves as the leveling system. With each person Reyne helps throughout her journey, the more links she will gain until she levels up to gain boosts to either her bullet attacks or her spell damage.

Later on, Reyne can make public announcements throughout Dungeonidas, which will give the different dialogue choices that will give her a certain amount of links to help level her up. Sometimes players will find green shards they can give to Skeletons. The shards aren’t used to pay for items as the Skeletons need them to make their furnaces bright enough to give Rayne some armor that will provide her with a temporary health boost or food that she can eat to heal herself from damage. Reyne can also find armor magazines that will allow her to unlock new armor for her to make.

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In addition to the skeleton NPCs she can meet, Rayne can buy spell cards from a potion brewer named Madame Paquita or buy a random set of cards from Lord Yupi and his evil pet snake Sigurd. However, to get the cards from Yupi, Reyne will have to pay Yupi with a certain amount of coins called Yupi coins; some of these cards can be useful, while some may not.

For a more permanent boost of health, Rayne can find seeds throughout her journey that will give her a permanent heart or more mana that she can store for her spell cards; they’re also floating mana stones that Rayne will find during her journey to use her spell cards without the risk of losing mana, as the stones give Reyne an unlimited amount of mana that she can use to test out her new powers. However, they’re used to solve puzzles in the area, such as unlocking a door or getting an item the player is looking for.

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Some items cannot be reached, no matter what you do, until you get the right power for it later on, in which case, you’ll need to backtrack later on to get the item.

Knight Witch’s more positive features are its beautiful and bouncy 2D art style that gives it the fantastical theme that it’s trying to show, as well as gives life to each character that’s either floating in the air and who are on the ground, such as Reyne, her husband Akai and villagers of Dungeonidas. Its music also helps set each scene, and the area that Reyne flies in and gives off an addictive nature will leave players wanting to listen to more of the soundtrack later on.

While Knight Witch starts as an easygoing flying adventure, enemies and bosses will quickly throw you into a difficulty loop. It won’t be surprising if you die during your first attempt at taking down a boss for those unfamiliar with bullet shooters.

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Overall, despite its sudden difficulty spikes at specific points in the story or when fighting bosses, The Knight Witch is a great way to burn off some hours when you aren’t busy and for fans of on-rail arcade shooters. It’s fun to challenge yourself as you dodge bullets that the Golems and bosses fire as you attempt to take them down.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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