You play as the ‘witch’ living on your own in an overgrown swampy area not really sure what’s going on with life and just sort of existing. Then one day this goat turns up, eats most of your grimoire and then speaks to you about who they really are (they aren’t actually a goat but it was the handiest vessel they could find at the time).
The goat leads you to a part of your garden where there are alters that need to be filled with different materials/ingredients so you go off to collect them. This is where you start to full learn the game mechanics, crafting, using tools and ‘scanning’ things for weaknesses. The first quest is fairly simple but I had a huge moral twitch with the catching & killing of the adorable woodland creatures (you can see that here). I would’ve much rather been able to get a bird feather on the ground under a tree or something instead of what I had to do. But this is totally just personal preference, I have a whole thing about not killing animals in games (if you shoot the dogs in Division I will leave you to die, every time).
After you collect your initial resources you find out that you made a deal to help Goaty McGoaterson with a sleeping lady issue, she’s even nicely encased for you in a glass coffin, in a tomb you just happened to have on your land (very Snow White). This is where the game really begins and you portal back to the first area to embark on more collecting and questing. It was here I also started to realise it was going to be a slow grind to complete the game.
I do not have a problem with side quests and additional tasks, I really don’t. I am one of those people who did every single one in Dead Rising 2 because I am a completionist – but this started to feel like a bit of a drag after an hour or so. I didn’t feel that I had accomplished much towards the main story but I had about 8 objectives piled up. So for me, this is a game I need to set serious time aside for so I can feel like I have made a dent into the story. So far I don’t feel that way but I will be playing more of it as I want to see how it unfolds.
In terms of game mechanics it works perfectly and its SO BEAUTIFUL to look at. Honestly, this game is easier on the eyes than most games I have played this year. Its just astonishing and I love the artist style for this game so very much. Learning spells and crafting are both very pleasing, and you have a vast inventory for everything you collect and make. I did find myself just grabbing everything all the time as you don’t know what you might need, nor do you ever seem to run out of room – so once I learned a new thing I would make multi copies of it, just in case, which actually did pay off a few times.
I am hoping later on into the game play we learn why we have a cauldron on our head, but if we don’t I assume it’ll be an artistic choice, but still it would be nice to have that closure (we shall see). Its such an impressively polished little thing and I was so pleased to see that its available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PlayStation and PC. I didn’t play it with a controller through my PC as the controls were easy enough on keyboard/mouse but I imagine that as with the attention to art work, the ports onto different devices will work just as smoothly and I feel he price tags are entirely justified with the quality of the game that has neem produced.
3.5 paws out of 5
Probably the most beautiful game of 2021. With a great story and excellent mechanics a lot of this is very pleasing, but it does feel a bit grindy in terms of the many many many side quests. If you want to lose a day to something relaxing this is for you. Very much worth the price for the clear love and attention this game was made with.