Wendy: Every Witch Way Review (GBC)
Have you heard of this game? Chances are you haven’t. Wendy: Every Witch Way is a fairly obscure Gameboy Color game that you’d probably pass over if you saw it today. Afterall, Wendy the witch is a children’s cartoon character and the vast majority of games made for the Gameboy were intended for kids.
Boring stuff right?
Based on experience with the excellent Shantae, I’ve been seeking out the other games made by Wayforward over the past few years. Wayforward was one of the few developers to truly “get” the Gameboy Color; their games turned the hardware limitations into strengths and produced excellent games for the system that rival the best NES or Master System games.
Is this game really worth seeking out or is it just honestly another licensed kids game to avoid? Going in with little info other than it was a Wayforward game, I wanted to know the answer.
Everyone’s favorite pre-teen witch accidentally opens a chest containing magic stones, and they escape when they are given the chance. The stones run off to a floating castle, and the flying castle becomes grounded by the stones. Gravity has now gone haywire, and Wendy must now retrieve the stones so everything can become normal again.
Wendy is quite a strikingly good sprite and animates with the cartoon fluidity that only Wayforward could pull off. The game really pushes what it means to be 8-bit.
The game employs parallax scrolling, the color schemes used are spot on, and every enemy is clearly visible and distinctive.
Unfortunately, the audio is pure old fashioned gameboy crap. Most of the tracks just sound bad and are completely forgettable. The game does use some voice samples for Wendy, which sound clear, but are equally annoying.
The main attraction to Wendy is the ability to control gravity and walk on the ceiling or floor at will. This makes it a lot like Metal Storm on the NES, but even better as the jumping mechanics and pathways are cleverly thought out.
Placed throughout each stage are several stars which when collected, boost the power of Wendy’s magical attack. The more stars Wendy gains the more powerful the attack she gains. The stars are also tied to her health meter, so every time she gets hit, she looses one star and becomes less powerful.
Some enemies can only be harmed by changing gravity which is a really cool gimmick and gives the game a great unique charm.
After every three stages, you’ll play a really dumbed down horizontal auto scrolling shooter. This mode places Wendy on a broomstick, with the ability to fire and dodge, but it’s not very flushed out at all, nor any challenge. After only a few minutes fighting through the same two or three enemies, you’ll be glad it’s over and back to the sidescrolling action. This mode feels rather rushed compared to the rest of the game.
Very minimal, surprisingly enough. There are spiked walls, ceilings and floors, but you’ll almost always know where they are even with the limited viewing space of the GBC. There are no bottomless pits or anything that will kill you in one hit. You’ll probably never die even once playing this completely though from start to finish.
The game offers a few more difficult stages if you play on a GBA, but even these exclusive stages are still nothing that will enrage you.
System Availability and Price
Wendy is a GBC exclusive, but best played on a GBA SP or Gameboy Player to access the exclusive stages. It’s rare, so it’ll go for $25+ online. I was hyper lucky to find my copy recently.
Unfortunately, there’s very little dirt I can dig up for Wendy: Every Witch Way. It’s not tied to any cartoon or comic release at the time, its not very well known, even as far as Wayforward games go. I’d love to be able to say the creative team based it heavily on the NES cult classic Metal Storm, but I can’t even find any info to substantiate that claim. If you know any dirt on Wendy, please drop a comment and I’ll be sure to amend this section later.
-Yet another beautiful game using Wayforward’s legendary engine.
-Colorful, bright, enjoyable to look at.
-Gravity control gameplay is a ton of fun.
-Password save with only four characters.
-Extremely short, even by platforming standards. You can beat it in less than an hour.
-Very little verity.
-No battery save, but then again, it’s so short its understandable.
Wendy: Every Witch Way is extremely fun, extremely short, and for whatever reason, extremely rare. If you should ever come across this game, pick it up. You won’t be disappointed. It is only surpassed by the truly excellent Shantae which came out a year later.
Platform: Gameboy Color
Genre: Action Platformer
Release Date: Mid 2001
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Publisher: TDK Mediactive, Inc.
Also from the developer: Shantae, Xtreme Sports
Buy or skip: Buy