Metallia is a witch who lives in the swamp, bound there by unexplained magics but far from trapped. If she can’t leave the swamp, that’s perfectly fine, seeing as she loves it there, so the logical course of action is to spread her swampy home throughout the world. This is going to take a champion, however, and that’s where the Hundred Knight comes in. As the Hundred Knight, you’ll grow from little more than a shadowy sprite into the true power of the Hundred Knight. Which is still a cute little shadow sprite, but with a whole lot more combat options at its disposal. The Witch and the Hundred Knight is an action RPG where you run through forests, smack down dozens of monsters, and dominate villages as the magically enslaved servant of an evil witch. Just to be absolutely clear, Metallia isn’t a likeable anti-hero, “villain with a heart of gold” type of character, but actually evil (more on this later). Fortunately, the Hundred Knight is charmingly innocent despite his master, and while my time with the preview build has been short, it’s shown a combat system that promises to be rich with possibilities.
Initially the Hundred Knight has just a simple sword, great for hitting something once and then again, but as you find more weapons you can equip them to create combos. Finding the same kind of weapon doesn’t automatically mean you shouldn’t take a look at it either, because a rare version of a common weapon can be more powerful. Certain enemies are more susceptible to one weapon than another, so it’s a good idea to tailor the loadout to the region’s weaknesses. Adding another nice layer of complication, the Hundred Knight has different forms, called facets, that distribute stats for offense, defense, magic, etc. While I’ve only gotten to play with the standard balanced Knight so far, the possibilities for the tank, ninja, and wizard-style facets mixing up combat are promising.
As you run through the areas, attacking the smaller enemies and locking on to larger ones for a more focused offense and better dodging options, a counter is slowly ticking down the Giga Calories remaining. The Hundred Knight gets hungry from being so energetic, and once the Gcal counter is empty his health starts draining. You can use a snack or spend points earned in battle to pump the counter back up, or you can use the points as a temporary boost in abilities for as long as you remain in the field. It can be a surprisingly tricky decision, especially when trying to estimate how long the dungeon boss will take. If you completely blow it you can always teleport out from a checkpoint and restart where you left, but that costs the potential for bonus items on beating the dungeon and the temporary stat boosts all reset to zero. Still, it beats dying.
As enjoyable as the gameplay aspect of The Witch and the Hundred Knight has been so far, there is a caveat that needs to be mentioned. Metallia is not only a terrible character but also the driving force of the game. She talks a lot, filling up every cut-scene with her obnoxious personality, but it’s possible that there’s a redemption story for her somewhere. The problem is that it’s going to be too little, too late when it happens. It’s not the kind of spoiler I’d normally give away but is something people should know before going in-
The Hundred Knight defeats Metallia’s witch rival at the end of the second level. Metallia has already made herself unlikeable by constantly referring to her rival as “slut” and “whore” every chance she gets, which is often, but after the witch’s defeat she goes for broke. She changes the witch into a mouse and then summons three male mice to screw her rival senseless. This is made completely and undeniably clear with full text and voice acting- Metallia sets her rival up to be gang raped. It may be a cute and mousey gang rape, it may happen off screen as mouse-witch runs away pursued by the three “hot and horny” male mice, and later events show that the chase is interrupted before it can turn to a gang rape, but it’s still attempted rape. Who the hell thought this was a good idea and what on earth is wrong with them? If that hits your “Oh HELL no!” triggers that’s perfectly understandable.
The Witch and the Hundred Knight is shaping up to be a fun little action RPG, but some things are hard to overlook. Traipsing through fields of monsters, searching out stray treasure chests, and wandering through small villages and beating up homeowners to raid their houses is good fun, but doing it in service of someone who’s actually evil, rather than cartoonishly so, isn’t going to be for everyone.