Trigger Witch (Switch) Review
In Trigger Witch, you play as a witch with a gun. A simple premise sets up a mighty marriage of a twin-stick shooter and action-adventure game that’ll make you wonder why the genre combo hasn’t been attempted a dozen times over. This 16-bit throwback game is host to quick shooting, puzzle-solving, a quirky story and is sure to please fans of both genres alike.
Developed by Auckland-based game studio Rainbite, Trigger Witch sees you in the boots of Colette the witch as she’s given her first-ever firearm. From here, you’ll carry out the classic action-adventure fare – going from dungeon to dungeon, tackling environmental puzzles, grabbing collectibles and unique weapons, and so on. However, Trigger Witch sees each screen of the overworld or room of a dungeon as a chance to throw you into a twin-stick shooting range, so make sure to loosen up your thumbs since baddies swarm you at every turn.
Trigger Witch takes obvious inspiration from the 2D Zelda games, especially A Link to the Past. Just stepping out of Colette’s house and seeing the landscape will give you a huge hit of ALTTP nostalgia, and the rest of the adventure will do the same. The game also puts you on Colette’s broomstick for a few fixed shooter sections, in the style of Galaga, for good measure and gameplay variety. However, Trigger Witch isn’t the ‘bullet hell’ some of its twin-stick shooter cousins have been described as. Suppose you have a solid grasp of the genre already. In that case, you shouldn’t have too much trouble here, aside from the bosses, which don’t gel with the health potion refill mechanic, but even this isn’t a dealbreaker as death doesn’t have any repercussions and respawning is a cinch. The game also has a co-op mode where a second player can drop in at any time, which is a quick fix of fun. This does feel like a last-minute addition to the game as the screen can get overly crowded during combat, and the difficulty doesn’t adjust itself to cater for two players, but again, this elective add-on is no dealbreaker.
At first glance, Trigger Witch will have you believe this is a cutesy kid game, with its bright colours and bubbly personalities. That is, up until the moment you blast an adorable onion monster right between his googly-eyes, and he explodes into a pool of pixelated viscera, staining the bright green grass beneath him. Stains that won’t disappear quickly either; in busy rooms, you can easily paint an entire room a lovely shade of red and forget what colour the floor was to begin with. Rainbite includes an optional Piñata mode as well, replacing the buckets of blood with colourful confetti, so the kids and the squeamish can still have a go.
The writing in Trigger Witch has a great deal of charm – witch pun intended. The characters have lighthearted banter, make corny jokes and get dramatic intense moments, all in the fashion of your classic 16-bit adventure game, but Trigger Witch’s narrative is where the writing really shines. The game’s intro sees the witches of Evertonia long having given up their traditional magical heritage in favour of a firearm-based culture, known as Ballisticism. This cultural shift leads to the witches erecting a dividing wall between them and the neighbouring goblins who couldn’t contend with their new school of thought, but years later, a new evil is looming, and Colette is the hero destined to save the day. There are some interesting ideas at play here, but none of the story is too heavy-handed for those just looking for a bit of bloody gameplay.
Trigger Witch’s finale is the real icing on this cake, however. After hours of witchy hijinks, the shadowy villain shows themselves and they reveal is sure to leave you staring at your screen wide-eyed and slack-jawed. Without giving anything else away, we’ll just say that the curveball ending alone makes Trigger Witch worth playing.
The game shouldn’t take you more than 10 hours to beat; give or take some for players looking for 100% completion. After beating the main story, there’s a neat little resolution arc to wrap up Colette’s adventures in Evertonia. There’s also the option to start a New Game+ with existing weapons and buffed difficulty – nothing too noteworthy, but additional post-game content is always appreciated.
This magical mashup of genres is certain to impress fans of both twin-stick shooters and old-school action-adventure games. With a sweet story and setting to boot, definitely keep Trigger Witch on your radar.
- Non-stop twin-shooter action
- Brilliant genre mashup
- A crazy finale you have to see to believe
- Unrefined healing system during boss battles
- Tacked-on co-op mode
- Aesthetic is not for everyone