Witchbound by Dark Doll Games – Crowdfunding Preview
I had the opportunity this past weekend to checkout the prologue for Witchbound from Dark Doll Games coming to Gamefound on January 24th. Witchbound caught my eye as I looked at upcoming crowdfunding projects in 2023. It was mainly due to the artwork at that point, it reminded me of anime and classic video games, not in the 8 or 16-bit style, but still nostalgic, and a bit of point and click adventure games.
So, how I normally structure these previews, I want to give you a good idea of the game, how it works, what stands out, and then I’ll finish up with if it worked well for me and my thoughts on it. Because, I know, that my opinion on a game is just that, my opinion, so I want to highlight how the game works so you know if it’ll work for you.
Witchbound is a game all about becoming a witch. There hasn’t been one on the island of Coven Cove in over a century. But you, well, as you can guess, you might be the first one in ages. Are you able to complete your storyline to become that first witch and help out the island?
I won’t give away the specifics of the story in the prologue, just instead give you the depth of the story. Whereas there are games like Middara, Tainted Grail, and Stars of Akarios that give you pages of story between everything, or for interactions, Witchbound limits it. It is Zelda or early computer RPG in that sort of way. You get prompts, interact with those, and then get a little story. I’ll talk more about prompts next with story mechanics.
Just know that this isn’t a solo game where you’ll be reading a ton of text. There is a lot of story to the game, but it isn’t long story. And that is something that sets it apart, for better or worse, from other adventure solo games.
Mechanics really fall into story mechanics in this game. As this is a game with very light game mechanics. You interact with objects, or points of interest is probably a better way to describe. And then you can have conversations with NPC’s of the world. And that is it really for your actions. There are mini games that I didn’t get to see the details of, but the main game is very simple.
But how does it work, let’s say you use your basic action, inspect, on a birds next. The basic action of inspect has a number of “1”. The birds nest has a number of “59”. You combine those two numbers to get “159” which you look up in a book. And there you get a little story. Or you could use your slingshot on it which might be “7” on “59” so “759” is the story you look up.
It is the same with interacting with PC’s. But instead of using a slingshot on them, you might use a prompt like “Hello” to start a conversation. Then you get a little blurb of conversation, some story, and maybe a quest. And you can get more prompts as you go along, so you might go back and talk to people again with those new prompts.
And there are also encounters you can come across. These are challenges that you can sometimes bypass and other times need to deal with. The mechanics, though, are the same. Use something on that encounter, and mash up those two numbers and see what happens.
Game Weight/Ease of Play
You probably can tell at this point in time that this is a light game. There are mini games that I didn’t get a chance to experience. And those will likely change up game experience from the core mechanic of combining two numbers. But Witchbound really is a light accessible game with what you are doing.
Once you know the core mechanic loop, combine the two numbers and read the text, you know the game. With that loop it means that this a game that is easy to pick up and put down. You won’t forget the core of the rules. And as you get quests you’ll have that knowledge of where you were and what you were going to do.
Finally, I think it should be highlighted that this is a solo game. Now, like most solo games, you can play multiplayer just be sharing the responsibility of making choices. But the game is meant for one person to make those choices and do the reading. There is only one character to control.
Who is this Game For?
This came up in the game play that I did, and talking with the designer, who is Witchbound for. I can give a lot of things it reminds me of. Zelda, point and click adventures, Little Witch Academia anime, and Roll Player Adventures. All with light mechanics and a bunch of story. Another game that I didn’t mention that I could compare it to is Legacy of Dragonholt.
So, who is this game for? If I were to hazard a guess, I think this is RPG’ers who want a solo RPG experience when they can’t get together with their group. There is that element, and if they don’t want to pull out a video game, this will give them an option.
But more so, I think this is for solo board gamers who want to get that narrative game to the table. They want to experience something that gives them a lot of story without too much setup. Witchbound is fast to get to the table, like I’ve said. So for the board gamer who wants to play something like Stars of Akarios, Middara, or Oathsworn, but doesn’t have the table to leave it setup, Witchbound will fill in that niche of story and ease to table.
Witchbound Mini Review
So, my experience with the prologue of Witchbound was a lot of fun. I definitely enjoy the simple mechanics of the game and experience. It made it easy for me to play with the designer via Discord. They would send over images like the one of the inn, black and white, and I’d pick what to interact with.
For me, this often times is what I’m looking for in a solo game. I look at Witchbound as a game that would be easy for me to play on Malts and Meeples. There is minimal setup and minimal information to show off in what I am doing. So it fits into that niche of gaming experience I really like.
My one concern, and even in the prologue which is short I did this, is I skipped around a lot. Following it move by move, you’d flip from one scene to another scene to another scene to connect where you are going. Or you’d read through dialog again to get a muffin. But because it is a solo game, I kind of sped through that at times. When I needed another muffin for a quest, for example, I skipped the dialog, just got my muffin and moved on.
That doesn’t bother me, but I feel like that will become more common in the game as you play. You’ll either flip from map to map to map to map to end up where you left off a quest. Or you keep track of that path or that map you were on and “fast travel”.
So just to wrap up, yes, this is a game that I like. But if it is one you’re interested in, I’d recommend checking out the page and seeing what more people think about it. Witchbound is coming to Gamefound on January 24th. And there is already a preview page up for it to checkout.
The timeline for delivery on the game, and it’s ambitious but with a one person company and components light game might be doable, is for delivery at the end of 2023 or early part of 2024. So, it might even be a game you could get for Christmas to give to someone, or maybe for Valentine’s Day.