REVIEW: ‘WitchSpring3 Re:Fine’ Is Charming, Cute, and Full of Potential, But Still Feels Lacking (Switch)

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WitchSpring3 Re:Fine

WitchSpring3 Re:Fine – The Story of Eirudy, the Marionette Witch (WitchSpring3 Re:Fine) was initially developed Kiwi Walks as a mobile game and originally published in South Korea by Clouded Leopard Entertainment. Now, however, WitchSpring3 Re:Fine is now seeing wider releases globally on the Nintendo Switch thanks to ININ Games.

Our story follows Eirudy, a white-haired witch who lives separate from the world. Her sole companions are her enchanted puppets, which Eirudy attempts to make capable of speech. But Eriudy’s world gets turned upside down when she finds soldiers in her quiet neck of the woods. Things only get more tangled when Eirudy meets a young man who opens up her entire world. 

WitchSpring3 Re:Fine is billed as a unique RPG, but honestly, it isn’t. In fact, I’d say WitchSpring3 Re:Fine reminded me a bit of Rune Factory and older Atelier titles, like Atelier Annie on the Nintendo DS. I was also reminded of Final Fantasy, but I think that might not be fair in the case of WitchSpring3 Re:Fine, and might be too easy of a comparison. What does set the game apart is its Magic Circle system, which come in two flavors: Main Magic Circles and Supportive Magic Circles. The former determines the element and strength, while the latter offers buffs that alter the magic itself. While a bit tricky to understand at first, I found with a bit of reading and some close attention, I understood the system well enough.

Still,  the game has the vibe of a lot of fantasy RPGs, pulling on elemental magic, genre typical beasties, and the like to create the world that Eirudy inhabits. The turn-based battle system is familiar enough that players of all levels can easily adapt to it without too many hiccups. Basically, if you’ve ever played or watched someone play a JRPG, you’ll be okay. There’s also some material-gathering you’ll do, which reminded me of the Atelier series, where material gathering is key to crafting.

In fact, gathering is your first task in the game, as are many rote RPG mechanics that help you get accustomed to this world. This definitely becomes apparent in the in-game battle system. Battles are turn-based: players. In the case of Eirudy, this is a combination of magic and swordplay, with both being blended for magical swipes against enemies. But for the most part, everything present here will be familiar to most players picking up this title.

Interestingly, WitchSpring3 Re:Fine is also billed as a stand-alone title in the WitchSpring universe, and by and large, that’s pretty true. I felt like I could enter the WitchSpring universe in this game without prior knowledge. It’s not always perfect, but you can, by and large, handwave any confusion away or simply lean on prior JRPG settings for personal explanations. There are some occasions where you’ll need to pay attention, but for the most part, everything is stored in your in-game Journal, which will help you keep track of the story at large. Plus, you’ll get some good training right upfront.

The game features multiple languages with a Japan dub track. That means that players who choose from one of the game’s five languages—Japanese, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, and English—will still hear Eirudy and company in Japanese beneath the subtitles. However, players will also be able to enjoy Korean voice acting, which I personally feel makes Eirudy shine a bit more. It’s a shame too because Eirudy’s Japanese voice actor, Marika Kouna, has done loads of popular anime and video game character voices. 

I’ll credit Kouna’s performance to the director, and not to her skills. It feels like she was asked to give a more reserved performance versus injecting a bit of warmth into Eirudy most of the time. Then again, you could argue that that fits Eirudy’s characterization in the game. However, I definitely recommend you play this with the Korean voice actors instead. I need to give Eirudy’s Korean voice actor a lot of credit: she really conveyed a lot of nuance in Eirudy’s voice, which felt a bit muddled in the Japanese performance of her character. It perks up Eirudy and gives a bit of flavor to her, even though she’s still largely solemn. I also recommend rebalancing the voice acting as soon as you can because they’re a bit hard to hear beneath the booming BGM. Unfortunately, you won’t get to adjust it until you can access the in-game menu, as well as all the options. 

Speaking of Eirudy, initially the Nameless Witch, I found her… interesting. Sometimes I liked her, but most of the time, I wasn’t very charmed by her. And while I love her over-the-top outfit, love the fact she wields a sword and magic, and find the concept of a witch who works with dolls pretty neat, she often felt a bit bland, even in the midst of character growth. I might be being a tad bit hard on her character, but I don’t find her memory. She got lost amidst remembering the plot, trying to read pop-up windows, and remembering some of the game’s mechanics. 

WitchSpring3 ReFine - But Why Tho (2)

Graphically, the game looks like a dollhouse and kind of feels like you’re playing pretend, in a way. Everything is in chibi miniature with a storybook-esque feel. The game flips to stunning illustrated stills for character moments. Both styles give the game a magical vibe, which is fitting for a story about a witch. I’m especially fond of Eirudy’s very magical costume: it has that fantasy witch vibe down pat!

That said, WitchSpring3 Re:Fine also looks like it belongs on a smartphone, not the Nintendo Switch. It has that puni plush-esque vibe where everything is squishy. Then again, this kind of tracks for this entry into the series. After all, WitchvSpring3 started life as a mobile game. This is a port of that game, with some artistic updates. It makes me curious how this game looked back on smartphones.

Ultimately, my biggest complaint is the font size, and geez, WitchSpring3 Re:Fine has the smallest text possible! I know the Nintendo Switch Lite—which I used for my review—has a smaller screen size, but the text is so small that I had to play with the Switch fairly close to my face. This might not be a problem for most players, but it’s definitely an accessibility concern. Perhaps there will be an update to remedy this, though I wouldn’t count on it. For now, be prepared to dock your Switch if you want to see the text without exhausting your eyes. Otherwise, the numerous text boxes will strain your vision, making this a fairly frustrating experience.

Even with the temptation of multiple ends, I couldn’t find it in me to keep on playing around in Eirudy’s world. That might be due to the general sluggish feel of moving around her world, the uninteresting plot, and the general “mobile game port” feeling that left me wishing this had been built a bit differently for the Switch. It’s cute, but… that’s kind of where I fell off. Cute wasn’t enough to do it for me this time, nor was it enough to keep me engaged with Eirudy and her world. Whatever combination of things it was, WitchSpring3: Re:Fine just isn’t the game for me, and that’s okay. 

Ultimately, WitchSpring3 Re:Fine is a perfectly average title with its highs and lows.  It’s not my kind of game, but I’m certainly glad that fans of this Korean franchise will be getting a chance to have it on a major platform. Bogged down by the shadow of its mobile game past, WitchSpring3 Re:Fine will probably appeal, primarily, to fans of the franchise. Newcomers might find this entry hit or miss: it just depends on if Eirudy and her story grab your attention. I will say that the Magic Circle system—this is used to power up your magic—was a bit confusing. That might be due to the overwhelming amount of info stuffed into each textbox, which unfortunately suffers from the small font size.

WitchSpring 3 Re:Fine will be releasing on the Nintendo Switch on August 13, 2021.

WitchSpring3 Re:Fine
  • 5.5/10
    Rating - 5.5/10
5.5/10

TL;DR

Ultimately, WitchSpring3 Re:Fine is a perfectly average title with its highs and lows.  It’s not my kind of game, but I’m certainly glad that fans of this Korean franchise will be getting a chance to have it on a major platform. Bogged down by the shadow of its mobile game past, WitchSpring3 Re:Fine will probably appeal, primarily, to fans of the franchise. Newcomers might find this entry hit or miss: it just depends on if Eirudy and her story grab your attention. I will say that the Magic Circle system—this is used to power up your magic—was a bit confusing. That might be due to the overwhelming amount of info stuffed into each textbox, which unfortunately suffers from the small font size.