Hogwarts, Eat Your Heart Out

Visually, there’s no getting around the fact that not everyone will be a fan of Little Witch Nobeta’s “loli” aesthetic, or the preponderance of, say, cute but delusional female bosses and other assorted fan servicey elements. It’s not like you’ll get in trouble if Mom walks in, but if the developers had put in a little less pantsu, they might have appealed to a broader slice of the Western market. With that said, they’ve clearly put a lot of effort into the game’s visual style, from the costumes, to the animations, to the lighting effects. 

Aurally, the music hits the right notes, although some tracks will play for a tad too long, especially if you get lost. The Japanese voice acting is decent, but at times the English translation lacks flair, which had me feeling that some of the characters’ motivations and quirks were getting shortchanged. 

What surprised me was the castle itself, which not only plays host to many secret passageways, mindscapes, vertical caves, and even dark sections where you’ll need to use a magical light orb to progress, but at times features gorgeous views that I didn’t expect to encounter in an indie game. 

The levels also provide a plethora of platforming challenges. Sometimes you’ll stop, look around at your environment, and think, “hey, I bet I can charge up my Thunder, run, double-jump, then spam the attack button to get over to that ledge”, or “I wonder if there’s something around this blind corner that I can access by jumping between the narrow ledges?” Sometimes a dead-end is just a dead-end, but other times you’ll find a number of hidden collectible treasures and one of 45 chests. In true Dark Souls fashion, the in-menu descriptions of items help fill out the lore of the game. 

If you’re anything like me, you may end up stuck at multiple points, retracing your steps due to the game’s total lack of any kind of map or compass. Yes, your sense of direction will be tested, but mostly in the darker and more claustrophobic first half of the game. 

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Mohamed Elarby

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