Trigger Witch – The Magic of A Shotgun
PS4/5, Xbox One/Series, Switch
I want you to picture something for me. Imagine a clearing in a lush green forest, trees older than your grandparents. The forest is peaceful and you hear a faint gentle melody carried in the wind. Little pink creatures are snoozing in the afternoon sun. Giant bipedal mushrooms stand around smiling happily as creatures reminiscent of traffic cones without the high-vis colour scheme stand around holding sticks. Into this idyllic setting comes our hero Colette, a newly graduated witch, who proceeds to pull out her Battle Blaster and annihilates every one of these creatures she can see. The once idyllic scene is bathed in the blood and leftover chunks of the previously adorable and happy creatures.
Who needs magic when you’re packing an assault rifle.
And that is the main hook of Trigger Witch. Gone are the days of utilising magic in the world of Evertonia. With the appearance of the Ordnance Rift and the firearms that were bestowed by it, the old magical ways were cast aside and mostly forgotten. Now it is all about Ballisticism, the firepower that allows you to unleash a hell-storm of bullets on your foes.
At its core, Trigger Witch is a top-down twin-stick shooter, fighting your way through hordes of creatures as you try to solve the mystery of the ‘Man in Black’ who suddenly appeared through the Ordnance Rift. As you journey through the world of Evertonia and beyond you will unlock a personal arsenal that would put Rambo to shame. It took me about 7 hours to complete the story, but completionists chasing trophies and unlocks will be able to make it last a few hours longer. The good thing is you have the freedom to follow the storyline or just wander around and annihilate anything you come across, banking the gems you need to pay for those sweet weapon upgrades.
The storyline is part linear journey, part open-world exploration. Once you get through the tutorial you are given three objectives, two of which you have to complete before you can try for the third. The order you do those first two is completely up to you, and if you want to spend an hour or two searching for weapon parts (another essential ingredient to upgrading your weapons) and farming gems then you can. The same structure plays out in the story’s second act, once the game world opens up into another area. While some of the narrative beats can be seen coming ahead of time, I was genuinely surprised and couldn’t stop myself from having a chuckle at the identity of the Man in Black when it was revealed. I cannot say too much for fear of spoilers, but I enjoyed the effort the development team put into making this fully realised world instead of just throwing a character into wave after wave of combat. I also want to shout out to the pop culture references embedded in the game. I’m pretty sure I didn’t pick up on all of them but the ones I did elicited chuckles and added to the enjoyment of the game experience.
While you are free to roam the world, the real challenges come from the dungeon areas. Filled with enemies, traps and puzzles, these dungeons both propel the story along and provide numerous challenges, whether it is fighting multiple waves of enemies to unlock the way out, or working out the puzzle to gain access to a key chest. No two puzzles are alike and you will find yourself having to backtrack through the dungeon to access previously blocked areas. You can bring out a map at any point to help figure out where you need to go but be advised to search each room carefully, as the map does not show missed chests. It can be slightly frustrating to have to wander around from room to room to find a key chest you missed the first time around.
The only other gripe I had was with the varying difficulty of the boss fights. Some of them had me ready to throw my controller and pack it in, while others further into the game I cleared with ease. It could be in part that I was just able to pick out the pattern better in those fights or that it was easier because I had upgraded some of my weapons, but it still felt a bit hit and miss. Fortunately, it is nothing that will ruin the game for anyone, and even if you do need a few cracks at a particular boss it is all experience anyway.
Finally, some of the most fun I had with Trigger Witch was when I had my daughter joining me for some couch co-op. At any point, a 2nd player can join in and have access to all of the weapons and upgrades that Player 1 has and join in for some mass slaughter. It adds extra challenges though. Where originally I would zip around the screen, only focussed on dodging incoming fire, when you bring in a second person you suddenly have to compensate for the fact the screen won’t just move with you. This led to a couple of hairy moments and instant death for myself and my daughter, but it was also a heck of a lot of fun.
Trigger Witch was reviewed on the PS4 with code kindly supplied by the publisher.