Witchfire is a roguelike first-person shooter with a fantasy theme. Its world is under attack from witches and his holiness the Pope has sent witch hunters to deal with them with magic and firearms.
Players take control of a hunter, and like many other roguelikes, must go through the same level over and over, upgrading their equipment and abilities to the point that they can finally defeat that level’s boss and unlock the next one.
Witchfire offers a few semi-open world maps that need to be unlocked one by one. Players can wander around the maps, cleansing the area of the witches’ minions and gathering perks and upgrade points that will make their weapons and magic more powerful.
The nice thing about this open world is that the boss fight is available right from the start, so players can go for it whenever they feel ready. They can also return to their hideout using portals found across the land, or continue gathering resources more at the risk of death and total loss. This risk-reward system is quite similar to most Soulslikes in this way, and I appreciated it.
However, my favorite parts of Witchfire were random events and calamities. The random events might be a lost soul or a cursed place that works like an arena or miniboss fight that rewards extra resources. In calamities, players have a limited time to reach a specific point, but if they fail, a horde of super-powerful enemies will hunt them down. There’s also a recurring, roving miniboss called Warden that searches for the player — it’s a bit like Mr. X in Resident Evil 2.
In terms of gameplay itself, combat is focused on gunplay and the use of magic is limited. Three guns and two types of magic can be equipped during each run. The guns are nothing out of the ordinary — just the same sort of rifle, shotgun, and SMG combination seen in most titles. There are different types of spells to use, magic takes a relatively long time to recharge and I generally forgot to use it in combat.
Unfortunately, while Witchfire manages to find its own identity in terms of theming, when it comes to gameplay it feels and plays like so many other titles out there. On the plus side, Witchfire is still in Early Access, meaning the developers still have time to polish things up and add some spice.
Currently available in Early Access on the Epic game store, no official release date has been announced.