Using the 2D sidescrolling Mega Man gameplay formula, Legend of Dark Witch is Circle Entertainment’s latest low-cost 3DS eShop title that offers a fair amount of entertainment value despite having a brutally high difficulty factor.
Just like Mega Man, players are free to choose any stage in any order, each ending with a challenging boss battle. Once these bosses are defeated, their power is absorbed and can be used against other bosses. Platforming can be challenging at times, especially in the later stages, and references Mega Man even further with platforms that disappear, platforms that are controlled by shooting a switch, and some jumps that require pixel perfection. Even the final stage pits the player against all the bosses again in a hub room that looks like it was ripped right from the NES Mega Man games. Not that these are negative issues, it is just the resemblance to this classic series is uncanny. There are also a ton of unlockable features once the one hour campaign is finished and the high score with fastest times leaderboard offer additional replay value.
Legend of Dark Witch is an extremely challenging game simply on the Normal (middle) difficulty setting. Working your way through each stage isn’t normally that challenging aside from a few unfair platforming sections, but each boss can take down the player in just a matter of seconds. Luckily, there is an option to lower the difficulty via the stage select screen but the easy setting then become a little too easy as bosses have easier to read attack patterns and takes more damage with each hit. Without question, the difficulty has some balancing issues. I even found using the default blaster as the best option when traversing levels and fighting bosses instead of experimenting with absorbed boss powers.
Combat takes queues from the Mega Man formula but expands upon it to make it its own. Each defeated enemy rewards the player by filling up a meter at the bottom of the screen. Once this meter fills up enough, attacking becomes more powerful. For example, the simple shooting attack, which is easy executed by simply holding down the attack button versus individual taps, starts as a basic straightforward shot but can grow to a fiery three-spreader after killing a solid batch of enemies. Even jumping becomes easier with a float ability after enough baddies have been destroyed. Besides instantly growing stronger, this power can then be used as currency during the stage select screen to make absorbed boss powers stronger, increase health, or even increase the overall number of lives available. It is a rewarding system that has a slight learning curve but is a welcomed and main feature of this downloadable title.
Like other Circle games, the pixelated visuals are nicely done with a matching quality soundtrack but there is no stereoscopic 3D option. Unfortunately, the translation is a little rough with a story that barely makes any sense but Circle games usually focus on a very simple, but yet highly addicting, gameplay mechanic and Legend of Dark Witch is no expect to this reputation. If you don’t mind the uneven difficult factor and quirky plotline, Legend of Dark Witch is probably one of the best Mega Man clones you’ve yet to play especially with such a low price point.
Not As Good As: Mega Man X
Wait For It: Mega Man 11
Also Try: Witch and Hero
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com