Witch’s Garden

cover

Now with bouncing.

Witch’s Garden is a 2012 game by Windmill Oasis.

vndb EGS

Story

Yousuke came to the bustling tourist city of Kazashiro to attend the school there. The Western-style houses lining the streets and the townspeople’s attire give the city an exotic charm. To top it off, a ‘witch’ named Ayari will be living with him at the boarding house Oasis, which is owned by his aunt Yuuko. Later, he meets two other ‘witches’ Suzuno and Misumi, and reunites with his older sister-like childhood friend Ririko, who is a ‘knight’. Every day is full of exciting events and before long, they are brought again into a different world. Surely this is the world of love.

[from Micchi’s blog]

An placid moment

An placid moment

Review

The main attraction of this game, the thing that was more promoted before its launching, is its novel E-mote system, by which the characters move and their expressions change in real time, bringing them close to being animated (and the Dramatic Mode, an auto mode where the text windows disappears when there’s voice, is almost like seeing an anime). To see it for yourselves, here’s the last of the promotional videos:

The E-mote system works; and together with the good art (and plenty of CGs variations, especially in the lengthy H scenes), and abundant effects (most notably in the battles) it makes for a very pretty game. At first the E-mote system was a little distracting, but once I got used to it I really came to appreciate it; it really brings out the charms of the characters.

Charms which the characters don’t lack. If there’s one thing this game is doing well, is the moe. The heroines are lumps of cuteness; they’re completely adorable. Voice acting is also spot on.

Standard witch transport medium: the pumpkin carriage

Standard witch transport medium: the pumpkin carriage

They are for the most not as amusing as, say, the Shukufuku no Campanella cast, though. Being the previous game from Windmill Oasis makes it an obvious comparison; and first of all, they share an extreme fluffiness and sweetness that permeates the whole setting (you know, those worlds where everyone is just so good with everyone else). Witch’s Garden is maybe a little darker, but the key word here is “a little” (well, two key words).

Witches on the Holy Night

Witches on the Holy Night

Besides that, Witch’s Garden doesn’t have the long boring stretches Campanella had (being all around shorter probably helps); but it doesn’t have it strengths, either, like the silly and amusing interactions between the characters. Here, the heroines being just school mates makes it so there are not so many situations when they’re all together for something other than the MC (actually, I don’t remember if there was a situation where they were ALL together). There are no awesome final battles like in Campanella, either. Campanella’s world was also slightly more interesting (though Witch’s Garden setting is not as shallow as it could seem at first glance). Also, I liked more the character designs of Campanella.

However, as much as this seems like harsh with respect with Witch’s Garden, in the end it’s this one which has the upper hand: it may not have some memorable situations as Campanella, but it’s more consistently enjoyable.

Presenting the teacher: Tama-sensei

Presenting the teacher: Tama-sensei

This, however, applies mainly to the main trunk; in the routes aspect, Witch’s Garden has a clear advantage.

The routes are good, and well grounded in the setting; some routes are better than others, and the highlights are Suzuno and Ayari’s routes. Every heroine story stems naturally from their personalities, backgrounds, and from them living in Kazashiro city; they’re stories that could only happen in the context of this game, and every one shows different aspects on the secret of the city (again, some more than others). Sustaining this is the overall setting, which is better thought than I had given originally credit (which may have been part of the point); it’s certainly not just a gimmick. And after finishing the five routes (pro tip: playing Suzuno second to last, and Ayari last), you unlock the True Route, which explains and solves everything. Too well, maybe; solving everybody’s problem in this single route may make one question what was in the end the point of the routes. A satisfying end kind of compensates for it, though.

The opposite of a private moment

The opposite of a private moment

So the plot is not half bad, and the setting is well though off. Still, this is first and foremost a character based game; if you are going to play this, expect moe and icha-icha, rather than a deep story. But in the moe and icha-icha aspects, it truly delivers.

Advertisements

7 Responses to “Witch’s Garden”

  1. Hey, I hope you can see this. It’s been a while since you posted this blog, but I hope you can answer a few questions.

    1. Can you give a summary of each route? Especially the true route, it was the most confusing for me. I finished the game, but without being able to read any of the text, I couldn’t really understand anything.

    2. What was the reason behind the tournament?

    3. Why did Ayari’s hair color change at the end of Yukimura’s route?

    4. What was going on with the black haired witch?

    5. What was the reason behind the Aunt’s attack?

  2. Just one last question.

    I couldn’t get the characters to move and talk like this in the video,

    Is there a way to turn this on in the options menu or is it just something that was shown in the trailers?

    • That’s how they usually act outside the CGs. If you didn’t touch anything in the options that’s what you should be seeing. If you are just skipping through the text maybe you’re missing it, though.

  3. hi, its been a long time since you posted this. but I hope you could answer my question. is there an english patch to this game?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: