It’s simulator time, but this week, I’m reviewing a witchcraft simulator. Given that it’s now October, I felt the subject matter to be appropriate. However, had you asked me six months ago if I ever anticipated writing about a “witchcraft simulator,” I’d have laughed at you. Then again, Gas Station Simulator teaches that folks will play just about anything simulated. Witchy Life Story is a cute, low-stakes game that makes for an adorable few hours of gameplay, so if you’re looking for something to keep yourself or your kids entertained this Halloween season, it’s not a bad way to go.
In Witchy Life Story, your character is a slightly rebellious witch that’s been exiled to a town in the middle of nowhere by their grandmother for misbehavior. If you can make the town’s harvest festival a success, then you’ll be allowed to return and resume your training.
In order to guarantee the festival’s success, you’re stuck making potions, charms, and other items on demand for the local populace, and when you aren’t brewing, you’re meant to go around town checking up on your customers from the previous day to ensure that no one who got turned into a frog, if they didn’t want to be. That’s it, my friends. That’s the game.
Your primary task is to brew potions, and what would a witch be without a grimoire? It’s not like these mystical recipes show up on Allrecipes.com. Fortunately, you have a grimoire, and frankly, it’ll be your go-to for the duration of the game as it holds your recipes and helps keep track of orders. Importantly, while you can pin recipes down at the bottom of your orders tab, it’s not necessary to do so. You can brew at your workbench with the grimoire open, meaning that brewing becomes a much simpler task when you can just pull ingredients from a list.
Where do you get these ingredients? I’m so glad you asked. You have a garden, and it’s up to you to grow your ingredients, harvest them, and pull the weeds that threaten to choke them. Almost everything essential regrows during a day, and fortunately, the game lacks a “spoilage” mechanic. It therefore behooves you to harvest your garden every day. In the event that you do run out of a key ingredient, you can use fertilizer to speed up the growth process. You’ll get around three pieces of fertilizer a day, but you’ll need to take the time to compost because this witch is all about sustainability.
Your other daily activity involves following up with your clients, and while this may seem somewhat ridiculous, it’s a fairly important element to the game. While these follow up visits do unlock some entertaining dialogue options, most importantly, they allow you to get the know the characters via flashes of intuition. The information from those flashes gets automatically noted in the grimoire, so you’ll have access to it. That means you’ll be able to create bespoke magic for each character, which is key to the festival’s, and by extension your, success.
Witchy Life Story relies rather heavily on completion of daily tasks, and if you’re like me, you often don’t complete a day in a single session of gameplay. This is where Ramsey, your raven familiar, comes in handy. He perches over by your workstation, and clicking him reveals what tasks remain on your to-do list. He’s a nice feature that just brings home that the game’s target audience is a casual player.
Visually, Witchy Life Story adopts a visual-novel-style aesthetic. You have dialogue options that you can choose based on the situation, and your character’s expression will change based on your choices. The art style is indefatigably charming, and the backgrounds are lushly detailed. The music is pretty much exactly what you would expect—calm instrumentals with a few themes that change based on your location. Clicking through your options gives you a satisfying selection noise. Your raven familiar, however, is weirdly loud given the game’s overall vibe. You do have some decent character customization options, so you shouldn’t feel locked into a given type.
Like many visual novels, you have the option to date various characters, adding a bit of spice to the gameplay. Overall, though, Witchy Life Story is mostly a casual, peaceful point and click with just enough game elements to keep it from being a movie. Don’t expect a tremendous amount of freedom to influence the story because that’s not the experience Witchy Life Story wants to offer. Just relax and enjoy your brewing.
Witchy Life Story is an entertaining visual novel/witchcraft simulator whose adorable visuals and straightforward gameplay all aim to create a relaxing, pleasant experience. If you’re looking for complex puzzles, this will not be the game for you. However, if you want a game in which you can dabble when the mood strikes you or want something more “Halloween” than Animal Crossing, give Witchy Life Story a try.
Witchy Life Story retails on Steam for $17.99, which seems a touch expensive for what you get. However, it’s still an adorable game.
Stray Thoughts From Behind the Keyboard
- I don’t really think Witchy Life Story has a lot of replay value, honestly. You get to the end of the story, and that’s it. There’s not really a lot of room for additional exploration.
- There are no save point options, meaning that you don’t have the option of going back to change a specific decision. All you can do is play the rest of the game. I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, it can be obnoxious if you don’t like a particular choice you made. On the other, it encourages you to make your choice and move on, accepting the consequences. That’s honestly a bit refreshing in a visual-novel. However, your mileage may vary.
- The game definitely has some bugs that make playing frustrating, particularly when the dialogue runs all the way off the screen, making it impossible to read. Still, it’s a pretty entertaining way to spend five or six hours.
Platforms: PC, Steam