Wytchwood begins with a mysterious old witch waking up in a slightly confused state after a long slumber. She’s not quite sure how long she’s been asleep but by looking at the state of her home and surrounding garden it seems like it’s been quite a while. The kooky witch can’t really remember much of her past but there is a strange old goat who seems to know her quite well.
It turns out that in the past she made a deal to collect twelve souls from wicked people for the supernatural billy. The reasons for this involve a sleeping beauty who is in a glass coffin at the back of the witch’s property. The witch doesn’t remember any of the details about why this lady is there or why she agreed to help, but by gathering the souls she hopes to wake the maiden as well as restore her memory.
Wytchwood Review PS5 – Soul Gatherer
To collect these souls, you’ll need to explore the countryside, research new recipes, gather ingredients, and craft new items. You’ll have a grimoire to hand which will slowly fill with new recipes as you wander around the world. By using your witching eye you’ll be able to see enemy weaknesses as well as more detail about the flora and fauna you come across.
This is very much a crafting adventure, by that I mean that while there are enemies there isn’t really much in the way of combat. Instead, you’ll need to use your crafted items and tools to turn any nasty creatures into more alchemic ingredients, which you can then turn into more items.
It’s definitely a relaxing experience and there’s nothing particularly hard about this game. Sure, some of the critters that you come across can get a little bit angry if you go near them, but it’s usually pretty easy to step out of their way. The animations and monster designs are also strangely adorable even when you have ghosts or giant spiders trying to take a bite out of you.
Wytchwood is basically one giant To-Do list of things that you’ll need to gather and craft. For example, one of the souls that you need to gather early on will lead you to a quest where you’ll need to create a growth potion. To do this you’ll need to mix together some flower petals, magic paste, and apothecary humors. While you can find petals lying around the forest floor, you’ll need to make the other ingredients yourself. To make the apothecary humors you’ll need to gather ichor from bugs, but to do that you’ll first need to make some bait to attract them. To make bait you’ll need to get some meat as well as some sticks.
The whole game follows this kind of structure. To begin with recipes are short and simple but as you progress through the game there will be more and more steps before you can create the final item and collect another soul. This means that you’ll end up doing a lot of back-tracking through the various areas to gather all the necessary materials.
Wytchwood Review PS5 – Pace Yourself
It’s one of those games that is best played in short bursts. Spending time gathering fireflies in the forest only to find out half an hour later that you now need a bunch more for a different recipe can make the game seem a little repetitive. Thankfully there is a warp hub that lets you quickly travel to different biomes which does definitely ease some of the back and forth that you’ll end up doing.
In between the many fetch quests are some pretty entertaining stories. Many of the people that you meet are twisted versions of characters from fairytales. Whether it’s the three little pigs who are forcing peasants to work for them under dangerous and cruel conditions, or the big bad wolf trying to pick-up pretty young barmaids for nefarious reasons, the game has a pretty good sense of humor even when dealing with grim topics. All of the stories are engrossing and some of them are surprisingly heartfelt.
Visually the game looks beautiful, with a range of different environments for you to explore, ranging from luscious forests, to spooky graveyards, or bustling market places. The character designs are grotesque but at the same time bizarrely charming. Even your witch has a unique look, with a heavy cauldron on her head and bird claws as feet. The distinctive look of all the places and characters does a great job of making everything feel quirky and creating a world where you’ll want to see everything.
The overall gameplay loop might be a bit repetitive for some but this really is a very relaxing and charming craftathon. If you’re the kind of person who gets lots of satisfaction from having a long To-Do list and ticking tasks off then this really is a game for you. The storytelling makes gathering all twelve souls an absolute delight and you’ll always be looking forward to seeing what the next wicked soul is like. With a gorgeous art style and distinctive character designs this is a great game for those who are looking for something a little bit different.
Wytchwood PS5 review code provided by publisher. Version 1.000.004 reviewed on a PlayStation 5. For more information, please read our Review Policy.