Release date: September 30, 2022
Developer: Sundew Studios
Publisher: Sundew Studios
Genres: Visual novel, light crafting elements
Modes: Single player
Categories: Light and Playful, The Occult
Witchy Life Story is a soothing autumn treat seasoned with equal parts sass and sincerity.
You play as a young witch-in-training—a willful, unscholarly member of the otherwise distinguished von Teasel family—who has been sent to the village of Flora to assist with the upcoming harvest festival and prove yourself worthy of continuing your studies. Using a variety of flowers and herbs from the garden near your temporary home, you brew potions, charms, oils, and incenses to (hopefully) aid in resolving the villagers’ relatable dilemmas (e.g. lacking creative inspiration, having difficulty with making new friends, or struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance). As the festival approaches, you’re faced with a dilemma of your own: you’re actually starting to enjoy being part of this community, and the assignment that initially felt like a punishment of sorts has become something you’re reluctant to leave behind.
It’s immediately apparent that a great deal of thought and care went into Witchy Life Story’s character builder, which features a range of body types, skin tones, hairstyles, and pronouns. There is a relatively limited number of outfits to choose from, but they’re all rather distinct, so you’re bound to find something that complements your witch’s look. The character design is your introduction to the art that is a defining feature and major selling point of the game—it’s a style that manages to be simultaneously homey and luxurious, filled with rich hues and tastefully overstated textures.
The standard in-game day consists broadly of two parts: preparing orders and delivering them. The former component involves reading your mail to take inventory of your requests, tending to the garden, and concocting the necessary spells. There’s nothing complex or time-consuming about this set of tasks—no puzzles to solve or extensive lists of ingredients to gather—just simple matching and point-and-click mechanics supplemented by deliciously charming visuals and satisfying sound effects. The result is a relaxing, almost meditative experience that serves as a welcome palate cleanser between the game’s extensive dialogue scenes.
Delivering your orders (and checking on the previous day’s clients to make sure their spells worked…mostly…as planned) constitutes the bulk of Witchy Life Story. These interactions are presented in typical visual novel fashion, with the occasional set of responses or actions to select from in order to advance the game. Very few of these choices appear to change the course of the story in any meaningful way; instead, they add a bit of flavor to the current scene (e.g. a character reacts differently depending on which extra ingredient you decide to put in their potion). There are, however, opportunities to flirt with three romanceable villagers, and whether or not you choose to do so unsurprisingly affects the nature of your relationships with them.
For new players, it is important to note that Witchy Life Story is primarily a visual novel/narrative simulation rather than an intricate crafting or management game. As mentioned above, there are crafting elements at regular intervals (and they’re quite enjoyable), but there is also a substantial amount of text to click through (also enjoyable, albeit not everyone’s cup of tea).
Overall, the game is indeed “a cozy story filled with chaos, friendship, and romance”  written with a good-natured sense of humor and an affinity for the more whimsical side of witchcraft. It’s a short, simple story, but sometimes those are the best kind—after all, “not every spell needs to be a ritual” .
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