A Witch’s Tale – review

Japanese box art

It’s been pretty quiet, and I haven’t been playing any otome game… but I played and finished “A Witch’s Tale” on NDS. Now, to start… it’s puzzling that I couldn’t find an official website for this title, and could only find its wiki page. There’s a review on IGN as well, but that’s about it… I guess for screenshots you can check out the Play-Asia product page or IGN. Since I don’t know how to take screenshots off my NDS, this review won’t have any screenshots, but I’ll post some wallpapers found off Gamefaqs’ message board.

Box art

It was quite a fun game, provided you’re not looking for any difficult challenge. The first thing that struck me was the feel of the artwork; very similar to Tim Burton’s. The second thing was… “hey, this game derived from a lot of established stories, neat!”. In the beginning, there was a country of witches that lived underground, capable of using rune magic which no other countries could use. These witches came to feel jealous of the other countries that lived on the surface, for they had the star, the moon, and everything else unattainable to those who lived underground. Thus, led by their queen, the Eld Witch, they invaded the surface countries and started a war with tragic results. One of the countries’ ruler, Queen Alice, who happened to be able to use the rune magic as well decided to stand up to the Eld Witch. Queen Alice won, and sealed the Eld Witch and from then on rune magic was considered a forbidden magic, until it finally disappeared from memory and remained as nothing but a myth. The story started 1000 years later when an orphan girl named Liddel, the protagonist, heard about this supposedly-myth rune magic, and decided that that’s exactly what she needed to be the greatest witch. Trying to find the rune magic, she accidentally released the Eld Witch’s seal, and then had to repair the damage she had caused together with the seal’s guardian, Loue (a tomato-eating vampire). For the Eld Witch had started her revenge by cursing the countries on the surface, to get each country’s princess’ seal, to ultimately open a path to Queen Alice’ country and carry out her revenge.

The first country

The story didn’t sound that exciting, but I actually enjoyed the references to other stories. Liddel had to rescue 6 princesses from 6 countries, and the first country she got to visit was a country made of sweets and cookies, and its princess is named Gretel… and throughout the game, Liddle would meet various characters who appeared and disappeared without a notice, giving her cryptic hints… one is a purple striped cat smiling widely, another is a gentleman wearing a top hat, another is a white rabbit…

Liddel

The story was… pretty good to me, but you might think differently. Like I said, I enjoyed the references to the other stories, and there’s no complicated plot in the game… you just get bits and pieces of information regarding what happened in the war, and how it had affected the people in various countries. Also, the game has 2 endings… essentially you have to play the game twice, first time for the normal ending, and a second time for the true ending. Unfortunately, while the normal ending is rather unsatisfactory, the true ending… was very vague. I now understood why people said this game needed a sequel…

Loue

The characters were likeable (especially Loue), and Liddle was an interesting main character… she’s a tsundere. That made some of the conversations… amusing, I guess. The odd bit about the whole game is how little interaction you have between characters. So you’d spend 1-2 hours traversing the country and dungeons, find the main boss and rescue the princess… only to talk to her for about 1-2 minutes, then off you go to the next country. Despite this, each princess had a well-defined personality so that they’re at least memorable.

...these ones should be recogniseable...

The gameplay was rather tiring, I have to admit. My first complaint was for the battle system. It’s your standard RPG, so you get the usual attack, magic, item, etc… the thing is, whatever you need to do, you need to drag the icon to the intended target. Attacking? Drag that attack icon to the enemy you intend to attack. Magic? Drag that magic icon to the enemy you intend to attack. Item? Ditto. Since you have to drag the icon, you have to make sure that your stylus isn’t lifted from the screen… quite often I thought I’d done it, only to discover that I did it too fast and my stylus left the screen and I had to repeat the process again. Also, there were ultimate spells you’d get in the game as you rescued the princesses. To perform these, you have to trace a line on the screen within a time limit. Thankfully, when you start your second playthrough from a cleared savefile, you’d start with your level from the first playthrough intact. You get to keep your dolls too, more on that later. My first playthrough took around 20 hours, while my second playthrough took around 9 hours. It helped that in my second playthrough I still remembered the layout of the dungeons and what to do. Speaking of dungeons, there’s no difficult puzzle to solve. Dungeons were pretty easy to figure out on your own (I only needed to consult GameFAQs’ message board once). Trying to find all the dolls and cards, however, is a different matter…

(some) Tauth dolls

The game has some novelty values though. You have to collect ragdolls (called Tauth dolls) scattered all over place to be your party members. Only 2 dolls can be active during battle, and there are around 20+ dolls in the game (including the secret ones), each with its own attributes and elements. And speaking of dolls, Loue doll is probably the best doll you’ll get in the entire game. Made the last boss such an easy battle to win… Also, you can collect playing cards in the game to build a complete set, and when you’ve finished the game once you’ll unlock a room where you can play BlackJack against the characters in the game and view the artworks found in the game.

Thinking back, it’s actually not a game I’d call excellent… but has its own charms. At least it was interesting (to me), otherwise I wouldn’t had bothered playing the game a second time just to see the true ending.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Megumi
    Oct 01, 2010 @ 22:39:13

    True. That game is not awesome. It’s not a competitive or lovely RPG like Tales of Symphonia or even FF Tactics advances (don’t bother about the references, I suck xD).

    It’s something good if you want to spend some fun times. The plotline is not bad, there is a certain humor and the game is easy for you to finish it.

    Nothing else to say, heh.

    Reply

    • sharakael
      Oct 02, 2010 @ 00:11:06

      Most of the time, while playing the game, I found myself wishing that they’d spent more time on that game :S the storyline had potential, I thought, to develop into something more complex and all around darker. But well, at least it was pretty enjoyable.

      Reply

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About…

Just an otome game fan. ...who spends a lot of weekends playing otome games on PC with a Japanese dictionary propped open on her lap.
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