Witch Rise review for PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC

Platform: PS5
Also on: PC, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PS4
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: lightUP
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

It’s been awhile since I last reviewed a game from lightUP, and I have to say that absence has made my heart grow fonder. Notwithstanding the fact I hated the last I played from them a year ago, I have fond memories of the first few games I played from them, so I was eager to check out Witch Rise in the hopes that they’d regained their former glory, relatively speaking.

Unfortunately, Witch Rise is more a mixed bag than anything else. While it’s not a broken, unbalanced mess like the last few games I’ve played from them, it’s also not as good as the first few. It’s somewhere in between, which makes it hard to feel too enthusiastic about it.

That said, as far as I can tell this is lightUP’s first foray into 3D gaming – their previous output being exclusively in the 2D realm – and the good news is that they’ve pulled off the basics of an old-school first-person shooter moderately well. You have a sword and a magical staff, and you use them to fight your way through dungeon after dungeon. Occasionally you stumble across a boss, and you gather all kinds of potions along the way. Pretty standard stuff, really.

Maybe a little too standard, in fact, because it never feels like Witch Rise has any ideas other than “copy old-school shooters.” There are a few different biomes, and the enemies are different colours as you open up more of the map, but it basically feels like you’re playing the same rooms over and over again, even as the colours change. It also doesn’t help that there’s very little feedback as to whether your attacks are landing; even when the enemies flash a different colour to signify a hit, it feels awfully unsatisfying.

Mind you, I can’t imagine playing Witch Rise long enough to get bored by any of it. It’s a Ratalaika-published game, which means you’ll unlock all its trophies long, long before you’ve explored every nook and cranny of the dungeon and defeated the eponymous witch. If trophies are all you’re after, that may be enough, but otherwise, it’s hard to feel too enthused about any of this.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Witch Rise PS4/PS5 code for review purposes.

Score: 6