Briley Witch Chronicles (C64)

Briley Witch Chronicles (Witchsoft) $9.99 USD

Game title: Briley Witch Chronicles

Game description: The Briley Witch Chronicles is a story-driven Japanese inspired RPG that follows the adventures of Briley Forester - a shy recluse and gifted games programmer torn from her modern-day world by a mysterious spirit and dumped into the backward village of Maepole. To avoid being forced to carry out hard labour on the farm fields, Briley accepts an offer to work as a slave for the local bakery. As Briley explores the village, she will find that many of the locals are not going to be responsive to her. But as she goes around carrying out errands, mixing potions and completing side quests, the villagers start to warm to her and Briley starts to become aware of her witch powers. The game is filled with plenty of objectives for you to carry out and does heavily rely on turn based combat to level up characters. There is in excess of 16 hours of gameplay on offer.

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  • Production - 85%
    85%
  • Fun - 70%
    70%
  • Depth - 90%
    90%

Summary

Your enjoyment of the Briley Witch Chronicles will rely on how you accept or interpret the storytelling on offer throughout the game and its casual pacing. Being based on the first four of Sarah’s The Briley Chronicles fiction books, some of the scripting will miss the mark as the story is primarily aimed at teenage girls (not a demographic that the C64 is broadly known for these days). But if you set this aside, you will findĀ the story narrative within Briley Witch Chronicles delves into the good and bad of personal relationships – making it relatable to the gamers who otherwise would have little to no interest in witchcraft and pagan times. Being a Japanese style RPG means you get to play through many random turn-based combat – which I personally find to be a tedious aspect about this game genre. While Sarah has provided a difficulty setting to make it easier to get through these segments, I found this element to really disrupt the flow of the game. The combat system itself is easy and intuitive to use and it is interesting to try out new spells on enemy creatures and bring fallen friends back to life but the novelty of using it did wear out for me, especially when the difficulty ramped up during the second half of the game and most of the melee attacks would miss – it really did feel like a bit of grind to to get through. As such, it felt like a chore to complete the game The overall graphical perspective will remind you of the early Final Fantasy games and contain enough detail to be able to distinguish one character from another and look good without being spectacular, though it should be said that the character portraits during interaction are quite impressive. Adding to the overall experience, the game features an extensive music soundtrack that is atmospheric and varies depending on the environment setting. The Briley Witch Chronicles is a watershed title for the Commodore 64 but I doubt that most people who have purchased the game will end up playing more than 5 hours. The casual pacing and the need to spend a lot of time exploring back and forth to the same locations in order to gradually open up progress will be an impediment to many players who are time poor. Throw in the the grind of the random combat system and the game can almost be described as a niche title. Luckily for me, I enjoyed the story telling and like exploration games so I was able to see it through to the end and found it a rewarding, if not flawed, experience.

Overall
82%
82%
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User Review
2.67 (3 votes)

Pros

  • Wonderful storytelling
  • Good cast of characters
  • Easy one button control
  • Varied soundtrack

Cons

  • Tedious combat system
  • Second half relies too much on grinding

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