Super Mega Team’s The Knight Witch is out now for all major platforms through publisher Team17 – we checked out the game’s PlayStation 4 version – here’s our review.
What struck us about The Knight Witch is that the title seems like it’s two things that were thrown together unexpectedly, and the gameplay appears to fit with that principle as well. The game is a mix of Metroidvania, deck building and bullet hell elements, but while that has the potential to become a bit of a mess it comes together rather well in this case. It’s definitely not a casual attempt to try something new though – it’s as challenging as many Metroidvanias are, almost to the point of being extremely difficult at times.
As you’d probably expect, The Knight Witch is set against a fantasy backdrop. In this case, followers of science and magic are at war and those who survive have gone underground, into hiding. The harsh conditions of the surface world have spurred the creation of an underground city called Dungeonidas, where you control a young Knight Witch called Rayne. The sense of safety that the city provides doesn’t last long though, as you get thrown into a grand adventure when a familiar threat resurfaces.
Where a lot of Metroidvanias heavily favor melee combat, The Knight Witch favors shooting and card-based magic – the latter of which isn’t too unlike the gameplay in Slay the Spire with a few dozen cards to select from. This helps you trigger special abilities as long as you have enough ‘mana’ to spend on them, and they’re fun to play around with as you discover which ones work best against which enemies – while also allowing you to mix up your attack styles.
Shooting feels less familiar if you choose to disable the game’s auto-aim feature, as things quickly start to feel overly fiddly somehow. We’d recommend leaving it on and enjoyed playing that way, but can also see purists not liking how unforgiving the manual aim can be. This is going to be especially frustrating during the game’s boss fights, which in the first half of the game are extremely challenging when you haven’t grown into your role yet – going into these fights without the right loadout.
It’s certainly a game that gets better if you stick with it, and its lush and colorful visuals help in that regard. You’ll also run into a few endearing characters along the way, and once you start unlocking and using some of the more interesting cards The Knight Witch becomes a nice hybrid of game genres that’s worth checking out.