There is something to be said for the storytelling style of games. Mostly these days games have transcended far beyond the original and simplistic gameplay of Doom to become deep, enriching stories set in unique an wonderful lands. Some games even draw off stories from the vast human history, twisting and changing it as they wish.
A story however is only half of a game. A game needs the gameplay and the mechanics to back that up. Sadly Sorgina: A Tale of Witches lacks somewhat there. A traditional Basque story of magic and wonder that while aimed at kids does not bring polished gameplay to the table to back it up diluting down the interesting story experience. A broken, janky world stops this story from enthralling as well as it could have.
Based on traditional Basque Country legends and mythology, you take the role of the young witch Sorgina, who must overcome obstacles to defeat the lord of darkness, who struck on the eclipse and trapped her sisters. Your role therefore is to amend this wrong by travelling through various levels, completing puzzles and defeating enemies with you simple magic. Be warned, there is a lot of this story thrown at you from the beginning, so make sure you pay attention.
You move Sorgina around various levels, tackling basic puzzles with your magic and aiming to get to the end. Puzzles themselves are simplistic such as using your magic to shrink or grow objects and should not tax any child. Within the level you also collect tokens known as eguzkilore (not a typo) simply for the achievement of gaining them all.
Now aiming the game at children is not a bad idea. There is a lack of good games that I can plonk my younger relatives on when I need a few minutes to breath that don’t involve dragging a Nintendo console out. But it seems the younger demographic has meant that the developer thought they would not care about polish, and the game just feels lazy and slapped together in Unity rather than something which actually feels like it would entertain a child.
This first felt apparent with the characters movement. There is no controller support for this game, which means that you will be playing with your mouse and keyboard WASD style. The camera does not turn when you move the mouse unless you hold the right mouse button which means that dealing with camera-sensitive challenges such as platforming, especially when it involves magic use as well can get very frustrating very quickly.
The world itself also lacks any real sense of a final polish. Your graphical options are very limited, missing crucial options for PC such as vsync causing me to run this game at well over 100FPS constantly. Objects can look disjointed from one another, especially the characters, who possess a different art style to the rest of the world. The game also regularly wigged out on me when I died, spawning me below the worlds. This constant mix of styles, from the slightly cell-shaded characters against the much more simplistic world with its blocky trees and objects and the drawn character thumbnails which jump up when you interact with objects made it difficult to really feel drawn in to the story.
And that is really the crux of the issue with this game: The story may be a wonderful telling of mythology and legend in an interesting way but the janky controls and weird amalgamation of graphical styles means that it’s difficult to fall in love with the story as much as the developers obviously wanted you to.
Now I cannot speak for how this game would really do for a child in this review, children may breeze past these faults with no issue. But if I had to entertain a younger relative for a few hours, I would be much more likely to dig up a copy of Crash Bandicoot or let them play Wii Sports than to give them this. A strong story and premise hold this game up to a score of 5, but poor execution stops it from being higher.