Bizarrely, Witch Thief is a bullet hell game where bullets are the least of your concerns; a sudden freeze can leave you with a single frame to react to a fireball (and you don’t move fast enough to get out of the way even if you have the reflexes to respond appropriately), while other times you find yourself hit by objects that are either behind you or obscured thanks to the camera’s refusal to cooperate.
Witch Thief has some good ideas and is fun at times, but it's poorly thought-out and extremely frustrating, even considering the bullet hell genre.
Overall, Witch Thief is an interesting concept for an action arcade game. The controls were smooth and the graphics crisp. If the character didn't depend on facing where the camera was and had no lag, this would have been a better game for me.
Witch Thief understands the importance of working with 3D space in a difficult genre. Beyond that, however, it's hard to look at as anything more than an interesting curiosity. The randomness of something as essential as an extra life makes every attempt feel like it is being influenced by outside forces. It's also hard to get excited about fighting the same dolls over and over again. Then there are the bosses, which are either destroyed in seconds, or chased around the room for several minutes. There's no solidly enjoyable middle ground.
Bullet hell games are meant to be challenging because when you beat that boss you’ve been struggling with it can feel highly rewarding. Witch Thief doesn’t feel like that though because the amount of frustration that you go through just really isn’t worth it in the end. The story is underwhelming, the dialogue confusingly unfunny and the characters are generic and unlikeable. It feels fun to play at times, weaving between the waves of attacks is the highlight of the experience but you never feel like you give anything back. Instead, you just have to survive long enough for the health bars to disappear out of boredom rather than you being good. There is too much emphasis on luck and what makes this game unique is also its biggest letdown which makes it an unworthy addition in the bullet hell shmup genre.
Witch Thief is the worst shoot 'em up this critic has ever played. It is barren of redemption, and is an unsightly blight on the Nintendo eShop. The outrageously long load times should be taken as a warning for anyone who wants to give it a chance, and hope there is some light at the end of the tunnel. There are so many quality bullet-hell titles available on Switch these days, courtesy of Arcade Archives, that nobody should need to be tormented with this one.