While most interactive fiction games are either parser- or choice-based, “The Shadow Witch” is set up as a console role-playing game using the RPG Maker 2000 engine. The game never takes much advantage of that format, though, and it plays like a standard light puzzle game that simply has an unusual interface.

Gameplay: The goal of the eponymous witch is to commit a few acts of petty evil at the expense of her neighbors. There are only a few rooms in the game, and the acts to perform are straightforwardly about finding an item somewhere and then using it on another item or NPC. It’s a short game, and it ends abruptly without giving the player much sense of accomplishment or resolution to the narrative. 3/10.

Mechanics: Despite the engine, the RPG elements are present but unused. The usual RPG Maker menus are still in the game, and the protagonist even has custom abilities and equipment, but they’re unused in the game; there are no battles (at least, I successfully finished the game without any) or other RPG interactions. 3/10.

Presentation: The game has custom graphical assets, and it does play like the opening scene in a longer RPG. The characters have distinct speech patterns, but the text itself isn’t very interesting, and the idea of a character pulling malicious pranks on saccharine NPCs wears out its welcome quickly in an already short game. When it does end, the resolution is abrupt and doesn’t fit the tone of the rest of the game. 4/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You like old-school console RPGs.

Score: 3

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