My Aunt is a Witch Review | You're a Witch Auntie

Having grown up reading the Harry Potter novels, I've always been a fan of stories revolving around worlds of magic, and so when I read the story synopsis for My Aunt is a Witch, I was definitely intrigued. My Aunt is a Witch is the story of Thomas, a 12-year old boy who goes to live with his Aunt, who he hasn't seen in many years, because his wicked stepmother no longer wanted him home, and his dad does whatever she says. Once he arrives at his Aunt Alice's house, he quickly learns that she is a witch who lives with talking hats, a talking cat named Grimmor, and Fabian. While the house is full of dangers, Thomas quickly steps up to the challenge and becomes his Aunt's apprentice to learn how to be an amazing potion master, despite having no magic in him to begin with. 

Being a visual novel, the story is delivered through dialogue and Thomas's internal monologue, both of which are written in a grey rectangle at the bottom of the screen. The font is simple and easy to read, and if you want to take a moment to appreciate the very beautiful art, you can always press Y (on Xbox) to hide the interface and screenshot to your heart's content. 

The opening exposition, and honestly most of the story, is extremely straight forward. They make sure to tell you exactly what is going on. While this can be nice at times, because you won't ever be lost on what is happening, it can drag on and make some scenes a bit too dull to read every word. Another thing that makes this hard is there are quite a few grammar and spelling mistakes. The game was originally made in Russian and later translated into English, which I am sure accounts for many of those issues, but if you're a grammar Nazi at all, I wouldn't recommend the game currently, but maybe after a few updates clean up the translation. Deeper into the game, I also found several issues pertaining to wrong names being displayed which made it difficult to understand who was actually talking. It always became quite clear after a few seconds who was supposed to be talking based on context clues, but for a game that is otherwise so to the point, this oversight can lead to confusion. Despite the technical issues, the story itself is quite fun. The magical world the developers created is full of danger and surprises. While it is a bit convoluted at times, and occasionally a line of dialogue will contradict the one before it, I overall had a lot of fun following Thomas as he went on a variety of whimsical adventures with his Aunt Alice and friends.

My Aunt is a Witch doesn't offer too much on the gameplay front, which isn't surprising considering it's a visual novel, and most of your playtime will be spent reading one line of text and clicking forward to the next. However, there are some interactions throughout the game's 2-3 hour story. The game does occasionally ask you to make a choice, though one choice often leads to a game over screen so make sure to save before making any choices. If you die you will have to load to whatever your most recent save point, and then you will have to re-do however many minutes worth of content that had passed until you return to that choice once more. You can save the game at any time and there are a total of 6 save slots so it is easy to save before any decision to ensure you can return back if you pick the wrong one. There are also a few search puzzles where you can explore Aunt Alice's magic-filled house as well as some other locations later on. Making potions is made fun by having an order of arrows that you must hit, using the d-pad on controllers. If you mess up 3 times, you've ruined the potion and must restart it. Your choices in the game are actually quite important as well. Some of the items you interact with, or paths you choose, may come back later and impact moments in the story, as well as what achievements you will get. 

By far my favorite thing about My Aunt is a Witch was the art and music. The music fit perfectly with the magical and whimsical tone of the story, and the vibrant and beautifully drawn visuals. Every frame is very colorful and when paired with an engaging score and sound design, it adds to the enjoyment of the game immensely. 

The trophy/achievement hunters will like to know that the game has some quick and easy achievements in it that you could unlock fairly quickly. If you simply read through the achievements list before playing you should easily be able to pop most of them by the end of your first playthrough, and with some strategically placed saves you can get the rest without much extra work. I currently have 17 of the 18 available, but the last one it seems requires me to replay the whole game, so I may leave this one at a mostly complete, at least until the next episode comes out and then maybe I will replay it to refresh my memory and complete that last one. Oh, and yes, My Aunt is a Witch is just Chapter 1 in however many the developers choose to make for this Thomas' story, so expect a cliffhanger ending.

Overall, My Aunt is a Witch has beautiful audio and visuals alongside a fun, but definitely not perfect, story full of magic and adventure. The game releases today, November 25, on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita for $9.99. A review code on the Xbox One was provided by the publisher.

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