Reviewed: November 12, 2009
Released: October 6, 2009
NIS is king when it comes to developing or publishing titles that are engaging, full of witty humor, and has great characters. So when A Witch’s Tale, their newest endeavor landed in my lap I was excited. It’s no secret that I love RPGs here are GCM and my list of reviews can prove that.
In time of the Halloween season, “A Witch’s Tale” brings players into a neo gothic tale in the style of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” mixed with aspects of “Alice in Wonderland”, “Hansel and Gretel” and even the “The Wizard of Oz.”
A Witch’s Tale puts you in the shoes of Liddell, a young witch-in-training, who wants nothing more that to be the greatest witch the world had ever seen. Liddell comes off to me as a female version of Laharl from Disgaea. She is bratty, selfish and adventurous, which lands her in her current predicament.
Seeking out forbidden magic, much to her friend Kitty’s advice, Liddell accidentally breaks the seal on a magical tome that releases the Eld Witch from her prison. The Eld Witch seeking revenge puts a curse upon the six kingdoms, causing monsters to appear in the kingdoms. It is Liddell’s reluctant mission to fix what she caused and stop the Eld Witch with the aid of her new vampire ally Loue.
When this title was first announced it was to be an action RPG in the style of Zelda. But somewhere down the line that idea was throw out the window and it was turned into a turned based RPG instead. I personally like turned based battle systems to a point especially on handhelds.
The entire interface of A Witch’s Tale is touch based much like that of the last Zelda DS title, but it doesn’t work out quite as well. You navigate Liddell through areas that are way too big, a reminder of what was to be. Outside of battles, Liddell uses an umbrella to destroy obstacles in her way. Items are also found while breaking said obstacles that will aid you on your adventure. Not all items can be used by you personally but exchanged for something you can use.
The battle system used here is one that I actually quite like. This rather unique system uses a drag and drop attack and item usage system. When selecting either standard physical attacks or magic you drag them from the Action Panel or the Revolver. If you are using magic you can access more spells by spinning the “barrel” with the arrows. It sure beats the usual box menus that every other RPG uses.
Due to the large size of the areas, the frequent random battles do come as a bit of a bother. The areas were obviously meant for wandering monsters, but now nothing more that empty corridors that you will constantly go back and forth across. One of the things that sort of bugs me is the lack of any real indication of where it is you’re supposed to be going. Often times you will find yourselves going back to the particular NPC to get a better idea of where you’re going.
Graphically, A Witch’s Tale pulls of several looks from The Nightmare before Christmas angle to hints of the Emerald City to my personal favorite, the Sweets Kingdom. Presented in a 2D over the top design like that of Zelda only a lot cooler overall. I expect nothing less from a title published by NIS. The sound quality is good and I have no complaints there. The score is no masterpiece but deserving of this title.
As far as replay value goes I can see myself playing A Witch’s Tale again. It took quite a while to beat considering all the backtracking and wondering around I did. But what sold me on this title are the story and the characters. If it wasn’t for that I would have liked it a whole lot less. You can pick up A Witch’s Tale up at most retailers for around $30 dollars.
At the end of my witching good run, I found A Witch’s Tale to be enjoyable, despite its flaws. The controls are decent, a little bothersome on occasions but the battle system is pretty easy to use and is a welcome change from what I’m used to. I recommend this title to anyone looking for a fairly simple RPG.