If you watch a lot of anime then there is a good chance you might be familiar with the Little Witch Academia series. It sounds like an anime Harry Potter story just with Witches replacing the Wizards. While I can’t really comment on the quality of the anime, Chamber of Time is an original story set in the world of Little Witch Academia. It is a tough pitch to sell for those who have never heard of Little Witch Academia but if you are a fan, it does offer the ultimate fan service by offering you the opportunity to explore the academic world of Luna Nova with gorgeously animated visuals straight from animation house Studio Trigger.
So what exactly is Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time? The game is part action RPG and part interactive adventure. Does this ring a bell? Well to be honest, just like Persona, you will be taking part in the day to day school segments. These segments are usually the best part of the game depending on your tolerance and love for the anime. They will feature cameo from characters that play a key role in the story but if you are a newcomer, the game does offer a flashback option for them that will help you get a better understanding of their character.
The story kicks off once Akko along with her friends accidentally discovers a secret chamber that is accessible from the Library. Once they get inside this chamber, Akko ends up activating a time loop that forces the group to get stuck in repeating the same day. This story premise sounds similar to Groundhog Day but this time, you are getting Witches and actual magic involved in it. To escape from the curse of the time loop, Akko will have to figure out solve the mystery of the time device.
You will explore around the academy Luna Nova during the summer vacations, which is used as the setting for the game. Exploration is done in side-scrolling fashion giving you the freedom to go around the academy. There is a nice map that details your location and the important places. If you are not sure where to head next for the story, it can prove to be useful in locating objectives, although its flaw is that it doesn’t show the direction that you have to face to reach your objective.
If you are not a fan of Little Witch Academia, there is little interest in exploring the academy and talking to the students. Akko can also hear the gossips shared by the students as she roams around the academy grounds but they mostly end up being silly throwbacks to the anime characters. You can talk to other students and sometimes it is possible to get optional quests that are separate from the main story. Some of the quests feel like they were designed with the anime in mind, and they offer some nice lore and character interaction for Akko. Overall, I found the exploration highly enjoyable but lacking in rewards. I did like how they could tie up with the time loop mechanics of the game.
The combat system feels like it is a side-scrolling brawler. Akko will team up with her friends in a dungeon like environment where she can utilize her magic powers without any restrictions. This lets her use some powerful spells with ease and they are tied to the face buttons. You can also execute a powerful attack that will require cool down once used in battle. Difficulty is rather mixed in dungeons so you can find yourself with some of the challenging boss fights.
The combat is honestly underwhelming since not only it is rather lackluster, it also doesn’t offer much depth so you start to feel the repetition. Thankfully it is possible to play as multiple different characters so you will have more variety of moves to perform in battle. Another major issue with the combat is that the screen gets cluttered in the middle of a heated battle when your controlled character and other party members start spamming spells. During this moment, even the frame rate can hitch despite playing on a PS4 Pro. The dodging mechanics also feel rather shoddy in nature due to the stiff movements of enemy next to the players.
The one thing that deserves universal praise is the art style. Studio Trigger might have drawn the animations but I loved how authentic the game looked in action on the PS4. The cutscenes all feature little set of animated responses that really help make them look and sound better than the static visual novel style cutscenes. Character models are gorgeous with some nice animations to make them feel alive. The backgrounds give the impressions that they are a little lacking but Luna Nova as a whole has plenty of areas that you can explore so it ends up being a worthy trade-off.
Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time is an action role-playing video game developed by A+ Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, based on the anime franchise Little Witch Academia.
The weak combat and underwhelming RPG elements are the biggest hurdle in enjoying Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time despite offering strong visuals and a fun world to explore.