Much like this Pocket Witch review, the game begins with no introduction. You, as a tiny pixelated witch, have to walk from left to right. Level 1 complete. Achievement unlocked. There’s no story, no action and no challenge. Level 2 comes in with a button prompt. This is a jump. Now you have to get over some small obstacles to reach the exit. Hardly compelling stuff.
The game continues in this fashion. Five levels down. Then 10. Suddenly, you’re at level 20. Things have changed, but so incrementally you’d be forgiven for not noticing. You’re making pixel-perfect double jumps across huge pits of pointy sticks. You’re having to collect keys and avoid chainsaw wielding foes. Dodge fireballs, avoid bubbling purple goo… you get the jist.
Pocket Witch isn’t a complicated game, but it certainly is a challenging one. After a few incredibly easy levels you’re going to be pushing your platforming skills hard. It’s never quite as chaotic as the likes of Super Meat Boy. There’s a lot less happening on screen, and a much smaller level structure. However, that doesn’t mean that the difficulty is easing up. Just because you’re not facing meat grinders, doesn’t mean you won’t regularly be meeting a nasty end.
That is, nasty in the context of losing. In terms of visual design, Pixel Witch has a charming brightly coloured, pixel-based aesthetic. There aren’t trails of blood or anything similar. A simple puff of smoke when you meet your end, and you’re back to the beginning of the level.
This presentation lends itself to the now familiar eastasiasoft design. A simple collection of levels which the player could potentially complete in an evening, much like Sissa’s Path or Hatup. Though, similarly to the latter, to work your way through every level in such a short space of time is going to take a lot of skill, and even more patience.
If you’re learned anything from this Pocket Witch review, it’s that you shouldn’t judge a game by it’s cover. Or keyart. Or whatever. The game at first appears to be a family friendly adventure, but in reality it’s an intentionally challenging game based entirely on player precision. If you’re looking for some family fun stick with Maggie the Magnet or Kid Ball Adventure. However, if your platforming prowess hasn’t been exercised of late, Pocket Witch could well be the challenge you’ve been looking for.