Bullet Witch

She's got bullets, she's a witch. Any questions?

Bullet Witch is the best bad game you'll ever play. This third-person shooter plonks your eyeballs a few yards behind Alicia, the titular Bullet Witch who's out to rid the streets of those gun-toting zombie scumbags, the Geists. This she achieves in two ways, both of which are derived from her extremely descriptive moniker. First up, the 'Bullet' part - Alicia is equipped with a ridiculously huge gun/broom thing, which she can either ram into some slimeball's face, or, more conventionally, use to shoot at her assailants. Unlike other shooters, a lack of ammo isn't exactly a concern; additional rounds are taken from a self-replenishing magic bar, meaning that unless you're particularly careless, for all intents and purposes you have infinite bullets.

The second part of her nickname leads us to the magic bar's other use; witchcraft. A tap of the bumper buttons brings up a (somewhat overly-ornate) pagan menu which allows you to select from a number of spells in real-time. These range from simple little hexes such as the creation of a temporary wall for cover or the summ-oning of a flock of ravens to attack your opponents (of course!). Then there are the bigger ones which almost completely drain your magic-o-meter, that allow Ms B Witch to control the elements themselves and unleash devastating attacks on her enemies.

It's utter baloney, of course, but oddly lovable with it. The strange shape of your weapon seems to contribute to a very unsteady aiming mechanism, but this is balanced out by the non-stop bang-bang gameplay that, like running around in someone else's house wearing nothing but muddy shoes, you know is wrong but somehow feels wonderfully exhilarating - hurling trucks about being a highlight. Similarly, if you were to analyse the visuals in the same anally technical way you might analyse, say, a toaster, you'd find it deplorable - but despite it being obvious that Cavia had no real budget to play with here, the environments are hauntingly desolate, and if you can get past the rough edges it's sure to capture your imagination.

Bullet Witch's real problem is that you never quite get the feeling that it's fulfilled its potential. Levels are structured around Devil May Cry's scoring system, but the attacks lack the versatility and organicity (Not even close to being a word - Ed) of Capcom's title. The emo-tastically tasty Ms Witch can flip and twirl like an ant-infested Lara Croft, but there's rarely ever any handy platform for her to clamber onto. The levels are as flat and one-dimensional as the gameplay - but despite its problems, you're quite likely to find it, well, a bit of a blast.

The verdict

Some occasional postcards of pure blockbuster magic delivered in a giant envelope of utter mediocrity.

  • Atmospheric, inventive
  • Clunky
  • Over-reliant on tired genre clichés
  • Very short - ten hours max
Xbox 360
Action, Shoot 'em Up