In this day and age, I imagine it can be hard to come up with new twists on classic genres like platformers. Devolver Digital and Moon Kid’s Witcheye sets out to do just this though. Conceptually it succeeds, but in practice, I don’t think it did quite enough to keep things fresh throughout my couple hour-long playthrough. As a port of a mobile title, I can’t fault it too much for this though.
The story is a bit interesting, given that it’s largely the reverse of what one might expect. A wizard tasks a young adventurer with stealing a witch’s spell ingredients in order to gain great power. Though he craftily succeeds in his quest, the clumsy adventurer slowly loses the magical items along his journey back to the wizard. Meanwhile, it’s up to you as the witch to trail the fleeing knight as a flying eyeball and reclaim your property.
What sets Witcheye apart from other platformers is its unique control style. Though a bit simple, this is largely due to its origins as a mobile title. Movement is applied via the joystick as could be expected, but you’ll continue to move in that direction until you change it or hit an obstacle. This is both a blessing and a curse, since you can just as easily nudge yourself in a slightly off angle as move at the perfect one. For even more precise controls, you can swipe the touchscreen, but joystick controls felt more natural to me. Lastly, you can stop yourself mid-air to help dodge incoming attacks.
In your quest to retrieve your treasure, you’ll play through over 50 stages in six worlds, each with its own environment and set of hazards. For example, the volcano levels feature lava that will instantly kill you, while water levels slow you down and slowly push you upwards when underwater. Each level is also filled with a variety of enemies that will try to get in your way. Each requires a slightly different way of defeating it, and Witcheye does a great job of teaching you how before you start seeing them regularly. That said, most enemies can be skipped entirely unless you’re going for the game’s collectables.
A single playthrough only lasts a couple hours at most, though there’s a lot of extra content to unlock that adds to Witcheye’s replayability. Beating the game on Normal unlocks Hard, which then unlocks Severe. In addition, a few other modes, including a boss rush and speedrun mode, are available as additional bonuses. That said, even in my short time with the game, I grew a little weary of it. These extra modes and such are nice, but there’s not a lot to change up the actual gameplay, so by the end, everything felt like it ran together. I do think I’ll be coming back to Witcheye at some point, but likely in small batches.
All in all, Witcheye is a cute little platformer. Its movement mechanic can be a little annoying at times, but overall it is a nice change of pace from what you would expect from others in the genre. Though short and simple due to its mobile origins, there’s a lot of extra content to unlock to add to the replayability if you feel inclined to keep going. Even if you don’t though, for the price, Witcheye could certainly do a lot worse.
A review code for Witcheye was provided by the publisher.