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The Legend of Gwen is a Japanese indie game platformer about a witch named Gwen that jumps around, collects gems and such, and shoots magic at enemies.
It is a relatively simple idea, and it is now available for Nintendo Switch fans in the west.
So is this one worth your time and money? Find out in our The Legend of Gwen Switch review!
Jumping into The Legend of Gwen
The Legend of Gwen is about a young witch named Gwen who just arrived at a school for sorcery, witchcraft, and more. She desperately wants to become the best witch in the world, but unfortunately, she doesn’t even get a welcome party. Instead, evil has arrived.
The evil does not hesitate and begins to take everything away from the school, and now poor Gwen is left with no teachers to teach her about wizardry! She has to overcome obstacles, defeat the evil, and save the school.
Honestly, the story of The Legend of Gwen is very hard to follow. It does not give you a whole lot of information, and the still images alongside the hovering speech bubbles from NPCs do not do a whole lot of good to build things up or give the player any reason to care.
Gameplay and platforming
If the story wasn’t confusing enough, the gameplay is going to convince you that this is not a good experience.
The Legend of Gwen is a 3D platformer with a fixed camera that does give you the ability to rotate the camera at 45-degree increments on a horizontal plane… sometimes. I do not have issues with this decision, but I am annoyed by just about everything else.
For starters, The Legend of Gwen is painfully difficult. Not the kind of difficult that challenges the player, but the kind that makes you want to pull your hair out. Think of the game like Turbo Tunnel from Battletoads on the NES, except it is the entire experience and not just one level.
Sure, it is doable, but do I really want to put myself through that much torture? Well, lucky for you, I did, so you do not have to.
In addition to the difficulty, the platforming is wonky, slow, and not fun. On top of that, the depth perception most of the time is a nightmare.
You need to collect a set amount of stars to clear a stage, but since there is a very short timer, racing to finish is kind of necessary. However, falling off or even getting touched by an enemy kills you and sends you back to the start. Too many deaths or running out of time will basically restart the entire stage. Enjoyable, right?
Boss encounters are even worse, as the requirements for defeating them are once again wonky and not very dependable. The amount of times I died doing the exact same thing that worked previously is infuriating, which makes the programming side of things in The Legend of Gwen to be disastrous.
The art and sound of this apparent Legend
I will give The Legend of Gwen some credit because the art style is on the cute side, and most of the stages are colorful and look rather nice, despite being poorly designed from a gameplay stance.
Character models are solid, including the bosses, but there are some stages where the lighting (or lack thereof) makes things nearly impossible to see.
The soundtrack is decent for the most part, but it does get repetitive quickly, especially on stages you have to repeat multiple times because of poor design and bad RNG. There are little voice segments in The Legend of Gwen, but unfortunately, they come off as more annoying than anything else.
Verdict on The Legend of Gwen
The Legend of Gwen is yet another example of a Japanese indie game that tries too hard to feel like an old 8-bit game while having modern day graphics and controls. What we are left with is a lackluster story, a painful gameplay experience, and a title that you will want to quickly delete after downloading.
It is sad, because the look of The Legend of Gwen is nice and the idea has potential. However, the execution is way off, and what we are left with is an unforgettable game for all the wrong reasons.
Games like The Legend of Gwen
Thankfully, there are some significantly better 3D platformers on the Nintendo Switch, but I will specifically focus on the indie ones. So if you are itching for something better than The Legend of Gwen, check these out:
- Lunastice is a fantastic 3D platformer that does throwback correctly. This is an excellent indie title that is not only a fantastic experience, but it is incredibly affordable at only $4.99 USD.
- It Takes Two is not a single player game, but this is one of the best indie game platformers on the market! This cooperative experience has won multiple awards and provides many smiles as you solve puzzles with a friend.