The Witch and the Hundred Knight Review: Crude but cute

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

There’s a solid button-mashing action RPG hidden underneath the crude exterior.

INFO:

Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
Available for: PS3, PS4

REVIEW:

The Witch and the Hundred Knight is not an Engrish mistranslation of a title. The Hundred Knight is a name – the name of a demon summoned from the depths of magic, a fearsome fighter with a hundred arms whose name strikes terror in everyone who hears it.

Unfortunately for the Swamp Witch “don’t-call-me-Lia” Metallia, the creature she gets instead is not exactly what it says on the tin. The version of the Hundred Knight summoned by Metallia is a perpetually confused little critter with arms too big for its body and a tendency to get randomly dizzy.

This is who you get to control in the game.

It turns out, the Hundred Knight is actually not as much of a wimp as it looks, and in fact packs quite a punch. Your task, as the swamp witch’s summoned familiar, is to seek out special pillars, defeat their protectors, and destroy them. This spreads the swamp across the land and allows Metallia to exit her home and travel the lands – since apparently she is confined to the swampland.

Metallia is quite a powerful witch, but she is nasty and mean, and would be an anti-hero if she weren’t so wholly unlikeable. The swamp witch curses and tantrums her way through witch after witch, sometimes destroying, sometimes straight out killing, and at times even eating her fellow witches (although to be fair, many of the other witches are not particularly pleasant either).

Despite the unnecessarily crude and childish writing, the actual game is quite fun. The Hundred Knight can equip up to five weapons at a time, which he uses in sequence to create powerful combos. As you progress through the game you find better weapons, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Much of the fun of the game is arranging your weapons into a combo that best fits your fighting style.

The Hundred Knight also gets a number of Tochka abilities, which he gets from Metallia or finds in chests. These abilities give the little Knight even more variety – use the decoy Tochka to draw enemies while you pummel them with slow hammer weapons, or summon a handful of mini-knights to help you on the assault.

As you go through each level, you have a time limit of sorts – a counter counts down from 100 the moment you enter the level, and if you let it drop to 0, the Hundred Knight starts bleeding health and is weakened considerably. While there are plenty of ways to slightly recover these energy points you’re really seeing how far you can get each time. Checkpoints, bonuses, different “facets” of your character and item limits all work together to contribute to a varied gameplay that is as addictive as it is fun.

As you play, you learn more about this strange and annoying witch you’re inadvertently working for. What kind of effect will destroying all these pillars really have? Why is the immortal witch getting ready for an apparently inevitable death? The Witch and the Hundred Knight may have its flaws, but it’s a fun romp through a magical world as an inherently evil creature.