A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Glorifies guns and gun violence in a humorous way, with lots of puns and jokes about weapons and ammunition. Simple concepts of good and evil, with minor sub-themes focusing on the value of tradition, helping people in need, and trying to sympathize with and get along with rivals.
Positive Role Models
The hero is a brave young woman earnestly interested in doing what's best for her little village. That said, she's unfazed by combat and killing, and looks forward to adventures that involve lots of violence.
Most of the main characters -- including the strong, capable hero and her entire village -- are female.
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Ease of Play
Five difficulty settings let players choose their own level of challenge, but even the easiest is no guarantee of success. The controls are intuitive and easy to learn, with basic elements introduced via a lengthy in-game tutorial and additional mechanics added gradually so players have time to practice and master them.
Violence & Scariness
Players use rifles, pistols, grenade launchers, and other ballistic weapons to shoot monsters, including blobs, bugs, dragons, and other fantasy creatures. Large splashes of red blood coat the environment with each kill. The action is presented from a top-down perspective, and the retro graphics are very blocky and not very detailed.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Several non-player characters smoke pipes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Trigger Witch is a downloadable twin-stick shooter for Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Switch. Players take on the role of a young woman from an isolated village of witches that has largely abandoned magic in favor of mastering various types of guns. She sets out on an adventure to learn more about the magic and history her people have forgotten. It's presented in a retro style viewed from a raised perspective. The graphics are blocky and not very detailed, but combat -- against a variety of fantasy creatures, from blobs to armored dragons -- is focused on using guns, and killing enemies results in large splashes of red pixelated blood. The game's upbeat narrative, which contains simple messages about helping others and fighting for what you care about, feels a bit at odds with the bevy of jokes and puns about guns and ammunition found in both dialogue and the names of locations. There's no strong language or sexual content, but several non-player characters are seen puffing on tobacco pipes.
Is It Any Good?
The combination of Zelda-like exploration and frenetic top-down shooting makes for an interesting retro fusion experience. Most of Trigger Witch's action should prove pretty familiar for experienced gamers, and the basic mechanics have been well executed. The gradual learning curve that comes with learning to aim and shoot effectively while constantly strafing and dodging enemies makes for a good hook, and simple contextual puzzles -- like hitting switches to activate moving sidewalks and choosing the right weapon to destroy key objects -- helps break up the routine of combat. That the witches have largely abandoned magic in favor of guns makes for a pleasantly silly narrative shtick, and it's clear the writers had lots of fun leaning into the witches' love of guns and coming up with goofy wordplay.
But whether the novelty of Trigger Witch's core concept will see players through to the end is an open question. Dull dungeon design is compounded by unsatisfying graphics, which often feel more as though they were plucked from 30-year-old games rather than inspired by them. And getting stuck in unfairly cramped areas of the map where you're unable to avoid enemies (or the blasts of energy they fire) can grow frustrating. Even playing on the easiest of five skill levels doesn't ensure your survival in these situations. It could also do with some simple quality-of-life improvements, like a little map in the corner of the screen to help keep players oriented while exploring and a means of switching between weapons that doesn't involve reverting to the basic hand cannon whenever more powerful guns run out of ammunition. Trigger Witch can be fun in short bursts, but there are plenty of better retro shooters and Zelda-inspired action games available.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.