Wendy: Every Witch Way
Wendy: Every Witch Way is a platform shooter developed by WayForward Technologies and published by TDK Mediactive for Game Boy Color on 2001-08-28. The game is based on the Harvey Comics character, Wendy the Good Little Witch. The game was intended to be a tie-in for an animated reboot, but the cartoon never materialized. Like many licensed games, Wendy: Every Witch Way appears to be built on a totally unrelated game engine, in this case, one which uses a gravity flipping mechanism seen earlier in Metal Storm and later in VVVVVV. I don't know anything about the comic series, but I doubt this was a common theme. The game is also one of the few late GBC titles to contain special content when played on a backward compatible Game Boy Advance.
In the game's story, Wendy opens a chest owned by her aunt inadvertently causing several gemstones fly out into the sky. The stones have anti-gravity properties and were holding a dark castle aloft, but, with their release, the castle falls to the Earth. Wendy must fight her way through the denizens of the castle and recollect the gemstones, all the while flipping gravity in order to avoid hazards.
I played this game while randomly searching through the Game Boy Color library in hopes of finding a new game to enjoy. I liked the mechanic and the easy game play, but was surprised when I beat it so quickly. I won on normal difficulty on 2022-05-07, on hard mode on 2022-05-08, and the three GBA levels on 2022-05-09.
I don't own this game, but I have beaten it.
Best Version: Game Boy Color
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The game engine is solid and player movement feels comfortable.
- The gravity flipping mechanic is enjoyable and some monsters are designed around it, being weakened, strengthened, or otherwise affected by it.
- The graphics, animation, and full screen art all looks nice. I'm not familiar with the comic on which the game is based, so I can't be sure, but it does appear to source a fair amount of full screen character art from it.
- The game's music is competent and fits the game. There are also several digital sound effects which are always welcome on weaker platforms like the GBC.
- The scrolling shooter "bonus" levels add a nice change of pace to the game, even if they are the game's low point.
- The super code you get for finishing the GBA levels lets you always have full-power shots regardless of your heart level. It's minimal, but it offers a tad more replay.
- As far as I can tell, the only difference between normal and hard mode is that the spikes kill you in one hit in hard mode. It was hardly even worth the bother to play it again since you see the full ending in normal difficulty.
- The difficulty swing is a bit erratic at times. Most of the game is quite easy since enemies are weak and your health is frequently replenished. However, later in the game, there are some difficult jumps that require very accurate mid-air gravity flipping. On normal mode, this isn't a problem since spikes only injure you, but, on hard mode, I died numerous times before I got the timing right. It's nothing an experienced gamer can't navigate, but they're much harder than the rest of the game's calibrated difficulty.
- With only 16 levels, none of which are very long, the game is on the short side. The Game Boy Color supported large ROMs, so there was more than enough space to hold additional maps. And it would have been nice because the game doesn't really explore everything the game engine could allow for.
- While having additional content when the game is run on a Game Boy Advance is an interesting idea, there is nothing special about the new content that would prevent it from running on a Game Boy Color; it uses the same GBC hardware. Really this is just a marketing gimmick that makes it harder for the player to enjoy the additional content, so they might as well have made the game 19 levels long.
- The opening requires you to watch several company logos before you can play the game which is always annoying.
- The end boss is painfully easy. It doesn't move and only shoots directly forward. You'd have to be asleep to even get hit by it, let alone lose to it.
The game was released in the USA and Europe. Both regions use this same art, just with slight differences to the graphic layout. It shows Wendy zapping a skeleton while the castle's other monsters flank her. It fits with the game, though doesn't advertise the gravity switching mechanic.