The month is October 1944 at the height of the second World War. In a Nazi occupied Norwegian town of Sundäe, the Okkulte-55 is on a mission to put an end to the war by unleashing an ancient curse. Alexei Krakovitz, a quadriplegic professor with the ability to communicate with the dead, and Akiro Kagasawa, Alexei’s faithful assistant from Japan, are on a mission to put a stop to the Nazi’s evil plans by going undercover in classic adventure style. With dry dark humour that’ll sure to have you smiling from ear-to-ear with slight pangs of guilt as shiny red cherries on top, Nine Witches: Family Disruption is sure to be a wild ride.
With point and click adventures becoming increasingly popular on consoles, they’re becoming less “point and click” and more “walk up to and press”. Nine Witches doesn’t break the boundaries but as you can swap between Akiro and Alexei Krakovitz, the player can use the professor’s Astral Sensitivity. In this mode, the player is able to see into the astral plane and interact with spirits who are tied to the earth. Astral Perception allows the professor to discern psychothermal waves, revealing interactive objects in the environment. While this is simply a fancy way of being able to see what can be interacted with - a common trait in most point and click adventure games - Nine Witches uses this to its advantage by hiding objects from plain sight, being able to control individuals with weak minds and overall allowing the player to have a wider arsenal of possibilities in order to solve puzzles.
Something you don’t see in many point and click adventure games is action sequences. Throughout Nine Witches, there are various gun showdowns that are simple and break up the occasional monotony of seeing which objects interact where. These moments have Akiro with his occasionally jamming pistol taking on Nazi soldiers, German Shepards and zombies. The combat isn’t anything to write home about as you simply move, roll and shoot left or right. In the later segments, you can pick up more powerful guns but they quickly run out of bullets, leaving you needing to go back to Akiro’s pistol that somehow contains an infinite number of bullets.
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Story / Personality
Nine Witches: Family Disruption combines Nazi Germany with a supernatural theme, hitting every mark with an overlay of absurdly dark humour. The topic that is the Nazi regime in the early-mid 1940s can be a less than jovial one and yet, Nine Witches throws enough supernatural phenomena, over-the-top wackiness and seemingly random humour that helps to mask what could have been a bitter aftertaste.
While the dark humour is often clever and witty, it feels as though the game purposely balances this with shoehorned immature toilet humour. To put it bluntly, the running joke of the sound effects accompanied by Akiro’s irritable bowel syndrome made for awkward eye rolls.
Graphics / Art Direction
Pixel sprite-based graphics can sometimes feel like the lazy way out but in the case of Nine Witches, this cannot be further from the truth. The game features some absolutely brilliant lighting effects that sit well with its theme of the city being shrouded in a seemingly never-ending night. In addition, the game's subtle details are certainly commendable with patches sewn onto military outfits and makeshift textures that provides a level of depth with its top-down perspective with flat 2D sprites.
From the very beginning, you are given the option to play in black and white with an Otto von Zelluloid Mode (Otto of Celluloid, meaning old 35mm film and a reference to a director character in the game). As someone who used to work as a projectionist at a cinema before it all went digital, this amused me greatly.
Music / Sound Design
The soundtrack does a solid job at creating serene ambience. It has a clever reliance on recurring melodies and sound bites, whether that be a tune from a music box or a distinct laugh that is its own running joke. It’s the little things but these recurring melodies seem to activate senses of nostalgia within its own game, something that is not easy to achieve naturally.
Final Score: 93%
Nine Witches: Family Disruption is a phenomenal point and click adventure entry that would make the likes of LucasArts proud. Taking the context of World War II and combining it with supernatural elements and side-splitting dark humour blends seamlessly to create a world that desperately deserves a sequel. Many companies have tried and failed with point and click adventures and for Indiesruption to knock it out of the park with their debut title, I’ll surely be keeping a close eye on the company’s future projects.
Thank you for checking out our Nine Witches: Family Disruption Switch review, thank you to Blowfish Studios for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
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