Bullet Witch was originally released in 2007 for Xbox 360. Even back then it received only mixed reviews at best. Now, 11 years later, suddenly a PC port appears. While fans of other games are begging and pleading for proper ports and remasters, developer and publisher Marvelous, Inc. just released this outdated and flawed, but not entirely uninspired shooter apparently without a care in the world if anybody actually wants to play it. This is our Bullet Witch review.
When you compare Bullet Witch with other games of that era, for example, BioShock, Crysis or Mass Effect, it becomes quite evident that this game never really looked good, but probably did ok for its budget. Fast forwarding 11 years, it aged pretty badly. While the character models are still acceptable – modelling the curves of Alicia, the witch you are playing, was probably on top of the priority list – the environment is characterized by low details, a mix of grey-brownish depressing color tones and is as generic as the few sorts of enemies you are gunning down en masse. The port doesn’t add much besides higher resolutions, framerates and supposedly some light effects.
Gameplaywise the name Bullet Witch already tells you everything you need to know. You are faced with a classical shooter, spiced up with some magical powers that you unlock step by step. You are not equipped with classical guns, but a device called gunrod, that can be transformed into an MG, a shotgun, a sniper rifle or Gatling gun. Compared to her professional colleague, Bayonetta, Alicia, unfortunately, misses most of the graceful movement and rather steers like a tank. The PC port does not help in this respect as the controls are adapted with minimal effort to make it somewhat playable with mouse and keyboard. Even the short keys in the spell wheel still show the names of the Xbox buttons.
After each stage, you collect skill points to unlock or upgrade your weapons and spells. Given the short length of the game – 6 stages with a total playtime of 3 to 4 hours – this feels more like a tacked on gimmick than an integral feature of the game. The same is true for the spells, which are actually the highlight of Bullet Witch. They are proof that indeed some heart and soul went into the game.
While maybe lacking budget or talent, the developers tried to incorporate their creativity and orchestrate these spells impressively. There is indeed some undeniable fun in bringing down helicopters with a tornado, impaling your enemies on rose spears or destroying an entire street with meteors just to bury the demons under the debris. Yes, the environment is even destroyable to some extent. However, as you get your most powerful spells towards the end of the already short game, there are little more than two or three occasions to effectively use and enjoy them. After you finished the story, there are some additional missions to choose from, including “highlights” like “Find and kill 50 demons that are hiding in a way too big map within 30 minutes”.
Speaking of demons, the story is so generic and silly that even explaining how the demons came into the world would already give away the one little plot twist it has to offer. Therefore all I can say is that an army of demons took over the world and the last resistance of humans is crumbling in their fight to find the source of the plague. It’s not entirely clear if your enemies are only demons or if the foot soldiers are actually undead. What we know is that they can talk and use weapons, which adds some originality to the setting. The demon army is literally an army, as they even use tanks and helicopters.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on Steam with a code provided by PR.