I love to read, always have. Growing up in the 80’s I would devour any book I could get my hands on. Mystery, western, science fiction, you name it and I would read it. One of my favorite types of books was Choose Your Own Adventures. These would allow you to control the story, and you could have 10 different stories in 1 book. I even converted the upper shelf of my closet into a secret reading area – I was a lot smaller then. Visual novels have become a rising genre in video games, and some even go beyond just a plain story. My Aunt is a Witch by Graven Visual Novels is the newest entry into the category, and it has a few twists.
You take on the role of Thomas and become the newest potion apprentice to your Aunt Alice, who is a witch. Once an accomplished teacher, Alice has fallen from the good graces of The Witch’s Counsel and is hoping that you can help her regain her standing. Along for the ride is Alice’s’ boyfriend, Grimoor, who she turned into a cat after one too many arguments. This motley crew will take you for a ride as you explore the magical world, learn about family, and discover your potential.
Game play is pretty simple. Most of the game will be spent just using one button to advance the story. Click it to start the next line of dialogue, click it again to speed to the end of the sentence. There is not an auto advance feature, so you will have to forward your way through the story. You will also use a few other buttons to find things around the house. The control scheme is where the 1st problem is in the game. You have to be very careful as you are going through dialogue that you don’t hit something you shouldn’t. The Save and Load buttons are too easily accessed while playing the game. You can be clicking through dialogue one second, then accidently loading a previous save wiping out a bunch of game play.
The story is good but has a few hiccups that take away from the overall game play. First you must know that this is only part of the story. I was playing through the game and just as I was really getting into the story, a big To Big Continued card popped up and the game was over. It is also clear that the game was not originally written in English. There are many sentences that are written in such a way that will leave you scratching your head. You will encounter not only poor grammar, but words that don’t even make sense within the context.
Graphics are bright and colorful. There are background scenes for each location and the characters that are part of the story will pop in and out. While this helps you distinguish the characters and follow the story, often the expressions on their faces do not reflect the situation on the screen. The menu placement also interferes with the enjoyment of the game. For a good portion of the top center is obscured by the menu through out the game. At other times the menu is on the side of the dialogue box, which is a lot better.
My Aunt is a Witch is out now on Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and Playstation 4. The game comes with a $10 price tag which isn’t that bad. Unfortunately, with all the problems in the game, and the fact that it is only part of a game, you will find more frustration then fun in this title. Hopefully they will release a bundle that includes both this game and the sequel.