Little Witch In The Woods has been bewitching our minds with its pixelated graphics and promise of magical adventure. With its limited-time demo release, I couldn’t pass up the chance to get a glimpse at one of the most anticipated video games in the indie world since before the start of the pandemic.
After giving the demo a try, I can confidently say that if you love magic, quirky characters and more cozy-style video gaming, Little Witch In The Woods is a must-have on your wishlist. Taking inspiration from popular games such as Stardew Valley, Little Witch In The Woods has the potential to become a very charming and entertaining video game.
What Everyone Should Know About Little Witch In The Woods Demo
Little Witch In The Woods is an endearing and whimsical indie game currently in development by Sunny Side Up. In this magical video game, you play as Ellie Blueriver–an adventurous and sometimes mischievous witch in training–on her way to completing her apprenticeship. With the guidance of her begrudging hat Virgil, Ellie will learn potions, harvest ingredients and assist townspeople to eventually become a formal witch! 🧹🔮
@SunnySideUp_DEV has been showcasing Ellie and Virgil on Twitter since 2019. Since then, this Korean development team of two has been forming a huge indie game following of fan art and the occasional content leak.
The demo for Little Witch in the Woods (from @SunnySideUp_DEV) it's out and it's adorable and I can't wait to play the full game ♥— Calendae (@Calendaae) June 20, 2021
I've made a little watercolor fan art for the occasion 🍃 pic.twitter.com/jOdwKgwa4q
According to the growing Q&A on their Discord server and the game’s Steam page, we can expect Little Witch in the Woods to release as a Steam early access video game on May 16, 2022. Unfortunately, it is unknown if the game will be available on Nintendo Switch or PlayStation (though it would be fantastic if it did).
The developers have also confirmed that Little Witch In The Woods will have a storyline with an end. However, as Sunny Side Up mentions on their Discord server,
“There are various ideas and discussions regarding additional content within the team, but nothing has been confirmed yet.”
This is an interesting and refreshing take–since many comparable video games have a relatively infinite amount of gameplay. Possessing a concrete ending is often preferable to some audiences since it can create a sense of completion, closer and accomplishment.
Little Witch In The Woods Demo Highlights
In the meantime, to satisfy our need for magic and adventure, a Little Witch In The Woods demo was made available for a limited time through Gamescom and Steam. And, to no one’s surprise, I nearly died of excitement and played the demo as soon as possible. 🤭
From start to finish (breaks included), the Little Witch In The Woods demo offered about 2.3 hours of introductory gameplay. It starts with Ellie traveling to her new apprenticeship when her train gets stopped. To blow some time, she decides to go off on an adventure in the surrounding woods, interacting with curious characters and harvesting all kinds of ingredients!
Essentially, the demo provided just enough content for the player to get a good understanding of the different mechanics and general start to Ellie’s story. Below are my initial reactions while playing through the first couple hours of Little Witch In The Woods and why it deserves a spot on any casual gamer’s wishlist!
#1 Adorable Graphics and Animations
Right from the start, Little Witch In The Woods presents a detailed and mystical world in a cute, pixelated package. As I explored the surrounding areas and the Witch’s house, I couldn’t help but compare the world to the bright and atmospheric Studio Ghibli vibe. The game uses a cozy, happy color pallet that gives off a very inviting and relaxing feel. Virgil’s speech bubbles could do with a bit of smoothing-out, but that was the only opportunity for graphical improvement that stood out.
And I must say, the soundtrack is just as cute as the graphics 🎶 😄
#2 Lovable and Quirky Characters5
The second aspect of Little Witch In The Woods (you’ll notice immediately) is the lovable and quirky characters. Ellie and her hat Virgil create this comedic dynamic that brings out their relatable qualities. The NPCs that you come across, albeit briefly, are interesting but don’t overwhelm you with unnecessary dialogue. Currently, there is no intention to include marriage-eligible characters, so I look forward to seeing how Sunny Side Up plans to develop and draw stronger connections between the player and NPCs.
#3 Intriguing Storyline and Backstory
Starting from the opening scene and scattered throughout the rest of the demo, Little Witch In The Woods drops bits of Ellie’s past during dialogue. This creates an enjoyable and engaging story-driven experience as more information about Ellie’s past unfolds.
We are given the impression that Ellie loves a good adventure, has a slight streak of naivety and is a bit of a troublemaker (let’s just say, she shouldn’t have shaken a potion 2 times too many 😂). More interestingly, Virgil frequently compares Ellie’s adventurous spirit to her mother (is Virgil a family heirloom??).
At the end of the demo, we are left with a solid connection with the main characters and a clear direction for the rest of the story yet to come!
#4 Hilarious and Well-Thought Dialogue
Within seconds of starting the game, you’ll notice that Little Witch In The Woods relies on text for dialogue (for both the Korean and English). This was a wonderful choice not only because important details can be identified in red, but it has an interesting way of infusing even more personality into characters than if it had full audio.
Virgil also frequently breaks the fourth wall, making for hilarious exchanges.
If you’re someone that prefers full audio, the developers at Sunny Side Up have considered dubbing. But, they haven’t been able to guarantee this specifically.
#5 Good User Interface and Experience
As you interact with more items in the world, basic instructions are provided to give clear direction. The minimal user interface is great and leaves more room to appreciate the game’s colorful environment.
To use different tools, you simply toggle through your options using the Left and Right bumpers (for controllers of course). When selecting items to use, the Left and Right triggers allow you to search for the correct item. To interact with an item, you would press “A”. Fairly straight-forward.
However, in the official release of Little Witch In The Woods, it would be wonderful to see Ellie’s pick-up animations go a little faster and to have some type of menu bar for tools/items. This way, the player doesn’t have to blindly cycle through to find the item they need.
There was a small bug in the UI (most likely from the Korean to English translation). But, I’m sure these small issues will be ironed-out upon the game’s full release.
#6 Familiar Yet Unique Game Mechanics
Many of you are probably familiar with the harvesting aspect in video games. A large portion of Little Witch In The Woods involves not only foraging for ingredients but proper preparation to create new, useable items such as potions!
However, Little Witch In The Woods takes the synthesizing process a couple steps further to eliminate any potentially boring, autopilot actions. Instead of simply gathering items and inserting them into a machine–you have to not only follow a recipe but you have to prepare your ingredients properly as well.
This was an ingenious addition to the game that makes the potentially monotonous harvest-create formula just complex enough to keep you engaged.
In retrospect, Little Witch In The Woods is a cozy, cute, and all-around enjoyable game so far! While the demo only showed and fraction of what we anticipate to be released, I have high hopes for the early access and eventual full-game release. Until then, all that we can do is keep up with updates from the publishers!
Developer Twitter: @SunnySideUp_DEV
Discord Channel: https://discord.gg/bvpWnhYF
Steam Community Hub: https://steamcommunity.com/app/1594940
Have feedback or questions? Let me know in the comments below 👇