PlayStation Reviews

Control the dead in Witching Tower

Review Code Provided

Summary

Witching Tower sees your character, Anna Holland, imprisoned by an evil queen who wants to know the secrets of her powers. The queen, jealous of the price she had to pay to attain her powers while Anna, who was born with the gift, squanders it as far as the queen is concerned. You find out as you play, the lengths the queen went to to gain the powers Anna had been granted by birth and as is often the case, the queen went mad from her lust for power.

Gameplay

Witching Tower is not unlike Skyrim in the way it plays but there are some aspects to it that make it a little more unique, for example you find a tether like device that you can use to grapple on to objects and pull them down onto your enemies. It seems like a great opportunity for some decent gameplay but it’s unfortunately relegated to being used exclusively in a puzzle solving capacity. The other thing I liked about Witching Tower is that you have the ability to climb ladders and walls by placing your hands, with the move controllers, onto the appropriate surfaces, it’s a nice little touch and I’ve always enjoyed it when it’s been implemented in other VR games.

While it may seem like an action fantasy sort of game, the majority of Witching Tower will have you solving puzzles while the combat takes a back seat. The puzzles are simplistic enough that they don’t require any real thought to solve which is a little disappointing, the hardest time I had was trying to reach the pieces I could grab hold of, I had to utilise some creative leaning and rotating to be able to get to some things. If you do happen to get stuck though, there are hints available if you look at a specific puzzle with your witch sight enabled.

When it comes to the combat the game is a big let down, you’re given a torch to start with and it works fine for bashing enemies but sooner or later you’ll come across rusty swords, shields and maces and you think to yourself “I’m going to have a good go at smashing some skeletons with these.” That would be all well and good but the weapons don’t work, as far as I could tell, I couldn’t even block anything with the shield. The weapon that had the most effectiveness was the bow but it only worked at long range, if the enemies get too close you have to try and scramble for the weapon on your belt, which can be fairly difficult to do while you’re in motion. There are bombs in the game but once again they’re pretty much for clearing things that stop you from progressing, trying to use them in the middle of combat doesn’t work out so well since you need a source of fire to light the bomb, which also means finding some before you get chopped up and also having a bomb handy at the time.

You do get a permanent sword later on that you can upgrade if you find all of the collectable cards littered around that works a lot better so I’m willing to overlook the dysfunctional weapons as possibly a first day glitch. There’s very little chance that you’re not going to be able to upgrade the sword, unless of course you really don’t want to, the game will handily tell you when you reach the end of a level if there are any cards left behind and will allow you to go off and look for them before proceeding. Without the game telling me, I probably wouldn’t have known I’d missed some and wouldn’t have been able to upgrade the sword. Fighting the enemies when you do have a functioning sword is still a little bit of a let down, it seemed as though they could block most of my attacks while I couldn’t do much about theirs, so I had to resort to a tactic of constantly circling around them, chopping away at the air hoping my attacks would be effective.

Your character is supposed to be a powerful necromancer, but you don’t actually get to use the bulk of your abilities until later in the game. You do get a witch sight that highlights enemies and important objects but you’ll probably find that you won’t use it all that much unless you’re not sure what it is you need to do. You do see ghosts knocking about the place and you have to help them out of their jam by burning the item that’s keeping them tethered in their current predicament, at first it seems like it might be an optional thing but as you progress you find you need to release them from their torment because they’re standing in the way of important things you need to interact with and touching them harms you. When you do finally get access to your real necromancy power you’ll find that it only works on one kind of skeleton, which have to already be in the area and you’ll usually just have them walking about and operating switches for you. You can use them in combat as well but there aren’t very many opportunities to do so, I found it very disappointing that I could only use the power on one kind of enemy because it would have been quite good sending bats or dogs after your foes or better yet, allowing you to summon your own creatures rather than using only what’s available.

To Conclude

I really wanted to like Witching Tower and part of me does if I’m being honest but the game is just too short, I finished it in one sitting and I wasn’t exactly rushing it through, anything interesting about it is sorely underutilised. At the beginning of the game you’ll need to use a bomb to blow out a wall to get out of your cell but in the entire time I played I only had to do that one other time. The same goes for climbing, just once to you get to climb a rocky wall and a couple of times you get to use a ladder but that’s it. That’s its biggest crime, that it doesn’t do itself justice, it has all these ideas about things your character can do but just doesn’t use them, the necromancy is probably the worst offender since you spend the first half of the game locked away from your powers and when you do get to finally use them it’s mainly just possessing the same skeletons to solve puzzles.

It’s not a bad game and while there are issues with the combat with the weapons not working, I expect they’ll be fixed soon enough. It is worth playing for the brief amount of time it lasts, but in my opinion, I just wish there had been more of it. The puzzles stand out as the best thing about it by far which is a little bit of a shame because the combat could have been so much more as well.

If you want to learn more about the game you can visit Daily Magic Productions or if you want to buy the game for yourself, you can visit one of the links below;

PS4

Steam

Chris Bracewell
Been a gamer for a long time, is my favourite and oldest pastime. Occasionally, when the mood strikes; I enjoy dabbling in games design, primarily the artistic side.
http://www.northern-gamer.com