As we age, our memory is not as good as it once was. We become forgetful and our decision making can be dubious at best. However, we don’t let this stop us and it merely becomes a bit of an inconvenience. This everyday occurrence is the core premise of Wytchwood and can be seen throughout its whimsical story.
Developed and published by Alientrap, this is a crafting adventure title. It’s a game that perfectly balances exploration, interesting characters, and a never-ending to-do list. You must complete quests, appease strange beasts, and venture deep into a fairy tale fantasy world.
Wytchwood will make you smile.
The thought of endless back and forth combined with inane tasks normally fills me with dread. Yet, this is the core premise of Wytchwood and I was left smiling throughout. I don’t know if it was the colourful world, exuberant characters, or mad quests that worked, but I didn’t care. I was invested from the opening gambit and I allowed its absurdities to take me on an insane journey.
You control the old witch of the woods who awakens to discover her mind is a tad hazy. Matters are made worse when she is accosted by a talking goat. Surprisingly, the story somehow gets weirder from this point! You are told of a contract you have struck with this hooved demon. To fulfil it, you must capture 12 souls and this will awaken the sleeping beauty under your house. Once the contract is complete, the goat will disappear and your memory and the many mysteries will become clearer.
Layers upon layers of quests and crafting.
The world revolves around your house in the woods. This central hub allows you to access portals from across the world. Sadly, though, the gateways remain locked until certain tasks have been completed. This linear approach may be frustrating for some, but it stops you from getting ahead of yourself and I appreciated it.
You may think you like the idea of an open-world adventure. But too much freedom in Wytchwood is an overwhelming and confusing thing. Because of its layers of tasks and the sheer magnitude of crafting options, you can quickly become swamped down. Luckily, however, the aforementioned linear style keeps this under control, mostly.
While undertaking her main quest, the witch must help untold amounts of people and creatures. She must utilise tools that she begs, borrows, and steals to obtain much-needed resources. These, in turn, are used to craft magic spells, potions, and protective charms. There is a monstrous list of items and craftable objects, and this adds to the challenge of the game. Yet, the difficulty doesn’t end there as resources are area-specific and this ensures plenty of back and forth during every task.
Leave no stone unturned.
In a title that is obsessed with crafting, you must thoroughly search every location. The witch is like Mary Poppins and she can carry an endless amount of weight. This was fantastic, as you could store as many ingredients as you could find. However, danger lies around every corner and death undermines your progress.
I didn’t expect a little old lady to be battle-ready, so, unsurprisingly, this frail witch is low on health. Subsequently, she gets her ass handed to her repeatedly. If you die, and you will, you respawn at your hovel but you lose much of your inventory. This was an annoying but essential mechanic that demanded a tactical mind while ensuring the gameplay wasn’t too easy. Losing your stuff was a setback, so using the chests in each area was essential.
Wytchwood is a beautiful game to play.
Utilising an isometric viewpoint, Wytchwood’s action is easy to follow. The game takes in a vast amount of locations, from swamps, mountains, graveyards, fields, and more. Each captures the fantasy theme perfectly, and they all look wonderful and unique. I loved the fairy tale imagery, the large spaces, and the use of visual novel style still pictures. The combination of different approaches helped to break up the adventuring element and gave the gameplay some rigid structure.
The whimsical atmosphere continues with the fun, yet bizarre, audio. There is a distinct folksy soundtrack that plays throughout and this is wonderfully complemented by the strange and magical sound effects. I found it easy to lose myself in the fairy tale charm and was easily swept along for the ride. Though I loved everything I heard, I was left a little disappointed by a lack of narration. I didn’t expect there to be a fully acted story, but to receive nothing was slightly underwhelming.
Lots going on, but easy to handle.
Wythchwood asks you to juggle many elements at once and this could have been confusing. Fortunately, however, a brilliantly thought out UI enables you to manage your resources while tackling the endless list of tasks. Alongside this, you’ll experience an array of simple commands that are easy to understand. Furthermore, thanks to the clear instructions, you’ll rapidly master the fundamentals.
It’s true that the story plays out linearly, but you are free to select which tasks to complete first. Consequently, you feel in command of how the story plays out, and this adds to the replay value and longevity. Alongside this, you may craft as much as you like while trying to tackle the large achievement list.
Wytchwood is a whimsical must-play title.
On paper, I should have disliked much of what was on offer. Constantly walking back and forth is normally tiresome, yet, in Wytchwood, it’s fascinating and enjoyable. The brilliant blend of craftables, characters, and areas makes this a moreish and unforgettable title. Its brilliance took me by surprise and this was a gem I’m glad to have discovered. Unsurprisingly, I loved it and you must buy it here! Can you solve the mystery of the sleeping maiden? Hunt down the souls, banish the goat and get your memory back.