Zizou vs the World
Retro revivals of popular 90’s genres have started to gain a lot of fans lately and with the increasing demand there have been a lot of surprisingly good games. One of such games was The Legend of Dark Witch: Chronicle 2D ACT for the Nintendo 3DS developed by Inside System and Flyhigh Works and released in 2013. This 2D budget action side-scroller turned into one of the biggest surprises of the eShop for me personally due to the amount of depth and variety put together for a budget title. Due to its popularity, the original game was ported to Steam and now to the PlayStation Vita.
Story-wise we’re looking at a standard basic plot of any old-school game of this genre, there are magical crystals in this world known as Syega which have been stolen, with these magical crystals people have lost their ability to use magic so it’s up to Zizou Olympia, the titular Dark Witch, to find the Syega and save the people from their suffering.
Soon after starting the game you’ll realize that The Legend of Dark Witch is highly influenced by the likes of the blue bomber, Mega Man. You’re able to pick from one of six stages right from the get-go, each featuring a different boss at the end which will grant his own signature move to Zizou once defeated. This very much sounds like the previously mentioned Mega Man but there’s more depth to the gameplay, besides the standard affair there’s a power up bar that fills up as you defeat enemies, these power ups can go from making Zizou faster to powering up her shots to deal more damage. Adding to this there’s also a blocking mechanic that comes into play, especially during the bosses. By pressing any direction right when you’re about to get hit you’re able to block the incoming attack, mastering this is necessary to overcome most bosses in the Normal difficulty.
The backgrounds are well designed and the soundtrack is pretty catchy, the enemies also look the part but don’t have a cohesive design and lack in variety only having a couple of enemies that get color swapped throughout the game. There are some stage specific enemies like the buff snowman in the ice level but having one or two extra enemies would’ve gone a long way to give it a bit more flair. The level design is decent, they’re a little bit more straightforward than other action platformers but they still offer some small puzzles and challenging platforming segments.
Sadly, though, the PlayStation Vita version doesn’t add much to the original game other than having the gameplay screen framed in with some additional info which while helpful doesn’t justify the bump in price of this version. There’s also a strange frame stuttering that happens from time to time, it’s really not a big deal but definitely noticeable for people who’ve played it on the 3DS or Steam.
The Legend of Dark Witch is a solid action platformer that manages to give its own twist to the classic Mega Man formula. The Vita version doesn’t add much to the original game which makes it hard to recommend to owners of either 3DS or Steam versions but if you’ve never played it before you might as well get it on the PlayStation Vita.
SGR SCORE: 7/10