The Legend of Gwen by wiwigames
The Legend of Gwen is a 3D platformer where you play as an adorable witch protagonist on a quest to defeat evil and save her magic school. At first glance, the game has a happy, magical vibe, but unfortunately, the gameplay needs to catch up to expectations.
I received most of my information about the game from the description on Steam. I certainly didn’t get it from attempting to play the game. There is no tutorial, no introduction, no explanations or context. There is nothing to set the scene. I didn’t know where to begin, so I just started experimenting. There was a map with numbered levels, so I picked one and started to play.
The game’s primary goal is to explore each level and collect five stars within the time limit. If you fall off a cliff or touch an enemy, you will be transported back to the beginning of the level and have to start all over again. It sounds straightforward enough, but I soon learned that the frustration this game would inflict on me was the only thing legendary about Gwen.
The Witching Hour
The controls in this game leave a lot to be desired. Gwen is a charming little witch with pretty hair, a cute dress, and an infectious giggle, but she plods along like Frankenstein’s monster. There needs to be more assistance with depth perception, though I suspect that that, in and of itself, is the game’s real puzzle; My jumps were terrifying leaps of faith because of these severe flaws in perspective. I had no idea where I would land because Gwen doesn’t cast a shadow. I fell to my death over and over again.
I figured out how to change my camera perspective, but it only swivels 90 degrees and inexplicably only works at some points in the levels but not others. A game’s physics has to make sense, and there is no consistency or rules of physics in Gwen’s world – crucial elements in a 3D platformer – which made me want to give up.
The game offers plenty to explore. There are a lot of levels, you can explore any of the points on the level map, and you don’t have to complete them in numerical order. I only managed to achieve one level. It was fun to see Gwen do a little victory dance, much more graceful and energetic than anything I had managed to make her do during the game.
I attempted all the levels on the map, and they all look exciting and unique. There are some fascinating creatures and monsters to fight. At one point, I touched a broom and flew across the abyss of death, which was terrific until the magic wore off, and I promptly fell off a cliff and died. Despite these flickers of promise, my desire to explore levels and enrich my experience was constantly dampened by my struggle to survive just one jump.
A lack of Practical Magic
The most frustrating aspect of this game is that it has so much potential. The concept and storyline appeal initially attracted me to the game. The 3D platform graphics and artwork are well-executed, and the music is surprisingly chill and relaxing…and kept me from throwing my computer out of the window.
Unfortunately, these bright spots are not enough to keep the magic of Gwen alive for me. Clunky controls and a maddening lack of good user experience design make it difficult for me to recommend The Legend of Gwen to anyone with an endless supply of time and patience (and perhaps a streak of masochism).
The Legend of Gwen is available via the Nintendo Store, Sony Playstation Store, Microsoft Store, and Steam.
Watch the trailer for The Legend of Gwen below: