Witchcrafty review for PS Vita, PC

Platform: PS Vita
Also on: PC
Publisher: Sometimes You
Developer: PigeonDev
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Seeing as Witchcrafty is one of the final games to come to the Vita, I want to be as generous as I possibly can towards it. I mean, the publisher, Sometimes You, supported the late, lamented handheld up until the last possible moment, working with developer PigeonDev to rush to get the game into the PlayStation Store before Sony cut off submissions forever. As someone whose love of the Vita possibly bordered on the unhealthy, that sort of thing speaks to me.

Here?s the thing, though: Witchcrafty is bad. It turns out that rushing a game to completion under tight deadlines doesn?t yield the best results. Who knew?

To be fair to Witchcrafty, you can tell that it could have been something enjoyable, given enough time. It?s in a similar vein to one of PigeonDev?s other games, the very good Awesome Pea 2, in that it?s a retro-influenced platformer, albeit one with a bit more of a metroidvania tinge to it. It looks kind of nice, and the chiptunes score feels appropriately throwback-y.

But everything else about the game makes it clear that it was released in a far-from-finished state. There are glitches almost everywhere, and even if they?re almost all niggling little details like occasionally getting stuck while moving forward, or not being able to attack, or inconsistent hit detection, they add up to make the game pretty frustrating.

It also doesn?t help that the save points in each level are few and far between, and that you barely have any health to begin with. It?s incredibly easy to get fairly far in one of the four levels, only to die (because again, you barely have any health, and you never know when the game will register that you?d been hit) and find that you?ve lost a significant amount of progress. While a lousy save system was my one quibble with Awesome Pea 2 — and, thus, may be a feature, not a bug, in Witchcrafty — here it feels hugely unfair, like something that could have been fixed if the game had been given a little more time.

Again, that?s not the fault of the game, its publishers, or its developer. The blame lies squarely with Sony for a poorly conceived, poorly communicated Vita store closure. But even if the intentions were good, the end result still isn?t, which means that you should probably give Witchcrafty a pass.

Sometimes You provided us with a Witchcrafty PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: C-