We’re big fans of Little Witch Academia over here at Castle Rice. It’s a great anime with gorgeous animation, and whole lot of heart. It’s like an all-girl version of Harry Potter except somehow more anime. It’s the kind of sincere, good-natured show I’d let my daughters watch, if I actually had any I know about.
Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time sees you playing as Akko, the anime’s lead character, investigating yet another mystery of the Luna Nova Magical Academy. The “Chamber of Time”, hidden inside the school, has activated — trapping Akko and some of her friends in a sort of Groundhog Day situation. You’ll need to get to the bottom of it and stop time repeating itself by unravelling the secrets of said time chamber.
To do this she’ll need to explore Luna Nova to unearth rumours, then jump into one of the game’s “dungeons”. That second half of the game plays like a side scrolling brawler, similar to Dragon’s Crown or Streets of Rage. It’s this section of the game that we got hands on with. It was a short affair only a handful of screens long, but it gave us our much anticipated first look on how the game actually plays.
The game’s animations and visuals perfectly capture the vibrancy of the anime it’s based on. It doesn’t feel like an approximation of Studio Trigger’s style for the anime, but a loving recreation. This is definitely a good year for Bandai Namco games based on anime.
Combat can get pretty messy, and in a way that feels fun. With two friends at your side who are pretty competent in a fight, it didn’t feel too challenging — though of course, this was a very early demo. Akko has three basic attacks from light to heavy, and a dash that can also alter her move set. On top of that, her arsenal is loaded with spells for different situations, one calling a meteor from the sky, for instance, or her ultimate “Shiny Arc” bow and arrow that demolishes enemies in a straight line.
Moving from screen to screen, there was also a hidden route with some bonus treasure, perhaps hinting that later dungeons will be a bit less straightforward than just going from one end of the dungeon to the other. The screen-filling boss of the dungeon was harder to take care of than his weak minions, and dodging his big fists was necessary. Chipping away made, of course, his head fall to ground level, where the real damage could be dealt.
The demo was extremely short, but it was nice to get a quick look at how it’s shaping up. The dungeon gameplay is pretty fun mechanically, and the heart of the show’s stunning animations is definitely present in the design of Chamber of Time. We really want to take a closer look at how exploring Luna Nova will be handled next. Fans of the anime should definitely be keeping their eye on this one.
Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time releases in November in Japan, and “Early 2018” in the west — for both PlayStation 4 and PC.