Violet Wisteria (XSX) Review

Violet Wisteria is a 2D side-scrolling action platformer based around Japanese fantasy. Unfortunately, the tri-combat system is both its main gimmick but also its biggest flaw.

When playing on Xbox, the “A” button jumps while the three other face buttons are assigned a specific attack that is associated with a color: red, white, and blue. To defeat enemies with a blue indicator, Violet must perform her blue attack (X button in this example).  However, each color is assigned an opposite color. If enemies are attacked with an opposite color, Violet gets launched across the stage like a springboard, in which the game calls “bounding.” 

On paper, this might sound like an intriguing gameplay mechanic but winds up being tedious, confusing, and frustrating in practice.  Not only is it difficult to remember which attack is assigned to which button, but another layer of complication is also involved because the player needs to remember which attack might bound off an enemy. Simply put, it is too much especially considering most attack decisions must be made very quickly during gameplay. Does blue bound off white? Or does it bound off red? Which button was the white attack, again? Too late, already dead.

This trifecta combat system is compounded by the unfair stage design, health bar, and checkpoint system. When playing on the easier difficulty, the player is granted a beefier life bar. Great. However, if you fall down a hole, which happens a lot due to the opposite “bounding” system, the player is sent back to the beginning of the stage. The lack of a player-friendly checkpoint system only results in frustration. The enemy knockback is also a major problem as enemies are often placed near a hole, making it easy to force a one-hit restart. The color assigned to each enemy is also random with each run so the player cannot memorize patterns to clear a path with each attempt.

Visually, the game’s presentation looks like it was made on a shoestring budget. The ugly spritework and cheap animation doesn’t justify the $15 asking price. The backgrounds are also laughably bad as sometimes the parallax scrolling moves in the wrong direction. Strangely enough, as poor as the in-game visuals are, the cutscene artwork is nicely done and reminds me of the Sega-CD era. The juxtaposition between the two visual themes is jarring at best. However, the only thing lower in quality than the in-game visuals is the soundtrack.

Violet Wisteria is published by EastAsiaSoft but it doesn’t feel like an EastAsiaSoft game (nor is it listed with an EastAsiaSoft price) as they have consistently released quality games at a budget price for the last several years. This is a black sheep in their library, one that unfortunately does not come recommended.

SCORE: 3/10

Not As Good As: Ufouria: The Saga 2

On Par With: Dreamcutter

Don’t Forget About: Evil Diary

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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