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May 2024

Witch's Rhythm Puzzle

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC
Genre: Puzzle
Publisher: Eroge Japan
Developer: Fogime
Release Date: Feb. 15, 2024


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Switch Review - 'Witch's Rhythm Puzzle'

by Cody Medellin on April 16, 2024 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Witch's Rhythm Puzzle is a puzzle game meets rhythm game combined into a lighthearted ecchi romp!

Rhythm games and puzzle games have proven to be a genre mashup that works well together. Lumines really worked the rhythm part, while Tetris Effect used puzzle pieces to create music. Despite those success stories, few other puzzle games have incorporated rhythm in their titles. Witch's Rhythm Puzzle is the latest title to do so, but the execution leaves quite a bit to be desired.

Witch's Rhythm Puzzle takes place in a world where magic rules, and 10 witches live together in a tower to hone their craft. However, a mysterious force has taken over the clothes of some of the witches and forced them to strip the clothes of the other unaffected witches. It sounds like the plot of a porn game — and the characters make funny references to that — but it isn't that far from the truth when the developer's lineup consists primarily of these types of ecchi games. There isn't anything more scandalous than seeing several pixelated witches in their underwear.

You're given a 6x6 grid to work with, and blocks fall from the ground. Create a line of blocks, and it'll disappear and send an incomplete block line to your opponent's bottom row. Getting the blocks beyond the top line of the field counts as a loss, and some clothes are stripped off. The match ends after three losses, with the loser being stripped down to their underwear.

The rhythm aspect of the game dictates when blocks can be dropped and where the drop occurs. You have a metronome at the top of the screen as well as a beam of light that goes across the field. Hit the button when the light appears, and you'll drop a block at that spot, and the only penalty for hitting the button off-beat is the inability to drop a block at that moment.

The game starts off with a nice steady beat, but it doesn't take long before it throws some curveballs. Later songs start messing with the beat cadence enough that you'll sometimes wait for a full sequence to pass before you make a move so can you see how the pattern goes. Different beat types appear that do things like throw blocks at your opponent or produce blocks that are two squares tall or wide. Other beats shift the playfield, and the combination of these elements creates situations that are challenging but pleasing, since so few rhythm games or puzzles games do something similar.

The mechanics would make for an intriguing rhythm game if it weren't for the fact that it never feels like you can dial in the beats properly. No matter how much tweaking you do in both portable and docked modes, it feels like you need to hit those notes perfectly for the block to drop. Even if you do that, there are times when Witch's Rhythm Puzzle arbitrarily decides whether to drop the block at that moment or appear to be a little off-beat, which can cause some unintended mishaps in the later stages. Play the game on Easy mode instead of Hard, and you're given a slightly bigger window during which to drop blocks with the beat, but you'll still experience some of these issues, resulting in a few matches near the end where you'll get a number of losses before you catch a lucky win.

There isn't much left to the game when you beat the campaign. You have an endless mode, where you get to see how many opponents you can beat before losing. Defeating enemies unlocks different parts to a CG mode, where you can dress up any of the witches in static poses. That's really it, which is a shame since this game could've used a versus mode against another human player. The game's already set up for it, so its absence limits the desire to play much after the end credits roll.

The overall presentation is fine. Graphically, there isn't much to be seen beyond the basic background of the tower, but the pixel illustrations of the witches are rendered well enough in their various states of undress. The music is fine as a good conduit for beats, but don't expect anything that you'll want to hear outside of the game. Don't expect any voices, either, which is a positive, as voices could've made things more uncomfortable for anyone who isn't familiar with the game's origins.

There's a decent base to Witch's Rhythm Puzzle. The idea of a puzzle game dictated by rhythm has merit, and it would work fine if you can dial in the timing to play the game beyond Easy mode. However, with so little content, it's a short-lived, one-and-done game. It is an inexpensive title, but don't expect a hidden gem.

Score: 5.0/10

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