Gaming on a Budget: The Legend of Dark Witch

The Nintendo eShop is quickly becoming wonderful place for cheap, quality games. Every time I want to bring a new, inexpensive option to the readers I go to the eShop first. One title that caught my eye was The Legend of Dark Witch, and I’m glad it did. Let me break it down for you.

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The Legend of Dark Witch

Developer: Inside System

Platforms: 3DS ($3.99)

                      Steam ($4.99)

The first thing you’ll notice upon starting up The Legend of Dark Witch is the obvious Mega Man influence. The game plays very similar and has a similar aesthetic. Sure, it starts super-cute anime-style girls, but the gameplay is your same basic jump-and-shoot that you’re used to. The game starts you at a stage select, much like Mega Man games, and you can choose them in any order. Each stage plays like some standard platforming fare, and there is a boss room located at the end of each. Upon defeating the boss, you can that boss’ powers.

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What’s different about this game is the power up system. When you defeat an enemy, you gain Tres crystals. These increase a meter at the bottom of the screen that is setup much like the power up meter in the Gradius series. The meter is segmented with different powers and you can select which one you want based on how high the meter is. This allows you to do things like power up your standard shot, change it to a “Meteor” shot which is a more wide-spread shot, and increase your speed. It’s a very versatile system, so much so that I found myself rarely using the accumulated boss powers. Between stages, the game allows you to permanently level up your powers, lives, life bar, and other things which help to level out the challenge.

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Speaking of challenge, the game is difficult, but not frustratingly so. I found myself having to repeat boss battles a few times, but I never wanted to throw my 3DS across the room. It’s a nice, balanced challenge that remains fun throughout. This game has some of the better platforming I’ve experienced in recent indie titles.

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Basically, when you add up the fun Mega Man-style throwback platforming, the various and versatile power ups, and the low price, The Legend of Dark Witch is a huge win. It was one of my favorite games that I played last year. The sequel was just released as well, and I look forward to playing it soon. Cheers to Inside System for a fun ride.


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