Overcooked, the kingpin of multi-tasking stress fests, will almost always be the benchmark for the type of multiplayer game Witchtastic is. They aren’t my go-to genre, but seeing Application Systems Heidelberg attached as the publisher grabbed my attention.

I’m not motivated by awards, but Red Fur Games received the Best Indie Multiplayer at IndieArenaBooth Gamescom 2022, so that had to be in its favour. Also, my little girl was up for some multiplayer action, so I had to cover it – especially after the fun we had with Potion Party.

Cutting to the chase, Witchtastic is a party game of mayhem for up to four players. You each play a witch (spoiler!) and have to prepare the ingredients for a potion, then have it shipped off by Fed-Owl to your awaiting customers. It’s hectic but surprisingly good fun.

Witchtastic release date
Source: PR

Witchtastic Review [Switch] – Every Witch Way

Unlike most vibrant party games such as Cannibal Cuisine or Moving OutWitchtastic opts for a subdued colour theme, mostly browns. It’s a bit drab and serious-looking. Even the customisation doesn’t add any pop or fizz to the presentation. There’s nothing wrong with the graphics – it just doesn’t feel that… lively.

Presented with a quaint world map, you visit locations as they unlock, hunting down herbs, chopping and grinding them, chucking in a cauldron, bottling it up, and then giving it to your owl to deliver to your client base. It’s a straightforward concept that gradually increases in complexity.

Hands up: we played this in Easy Mode (it was for my little girl – honest!), and it’s pasted on the screen, so should you attempt to say you’ve aced every level, fellow players of Witchtastic will be able to call you out and say that you need to try without the stabilisers. Even with it selected, it certainly gets hairy.

Witchtastic Switch Review - The book of strife
The book of strife. Source: PR

A Room With A Broom

An icon will show at the top of the screen indicating the requested potion. After a couple of runs, you’ll be able to source the ingredients, knowing what is required, though if you get stuck, hovering over the icon will show you what is needed. 

Initially, these will be leaves or mushrooms to chop or grinding garlic with a pestle. Once you have all the ingredients, you pop these into the cauldron, then grab a log to cook it. That’s easier said than done. As the intensity rises, you’ll have to chop down trees or use make-do twigs to cook your brew, and there’s a time limit until it needs restocking, or worse, if you don’t keep stirring, the contents could ruin.

Besides running around in a mad panic to find the goods and remember how to process them, or perhaps dashing back to a counter because you forget to pick up a tray to carry everything, Witchtastic starts introducing obstacles to block your path or creatures that will stun you, and therefore, slow down your workflow. Nothing like a bitch slap from your kid to wake you up.

Witchtastic Switch Review - If you go down to the woods today
If you go down to the woods today. Source: PR

Warts And All

Towards the end of the second area, further mechanics come along, and Witchtastic gameplay is no longer as manageable, and you must revise your strategy. For example, one of the ingredients is a ghost, and to obtain that, you have to trigger a switch and then scoop it up with a glass bottle. Bump into the ghost, and you’ll smash the glass. Try explaining that to your kid. At least you can dash about on a broom or get lit on coffee.

Who you co-op with in Witchtastic is key; you can have up to four players. We smashed through many levels (on Easy Mode), and our method was excellent. I would prepare the ingredients, and she’d fetch the wood and deliver the potion to the owl. In later levels with additional cauldrons, she’d take easier tasks, making simple potions, and I’d do the trickier ones. In other stages where obstacles block you, we would alternate on each side of the counter to keep things moving.

Witchtastic has been fan… marvellous. We couldn’t put it down, and I was guilty of saying, “Ok, last one”. I think we did a further five levels when I said this. Multiple times. Though it’s not the best-looking game out there, and the music can be monotonous, I can see why it won the award. Yes, it does get challenging in the later levels, but pair up with someone who’ll actually work with you, and you’ll make light(er) work and have a lot of fun.