Tiny Witch played tricks on me. After what I thought was, maybe, fifteen or twenty minutes tops, I looked up to discover I had sunk over an hour into the shop-running sim. The cozy core conceit boils down to this: A witch is granted the opportunity to open her dream store.
But there’s a catch in the fine print. I’m cursed to stay in the establishment, reliving day after day, until I reach my sales quota. Tiny Witch‘s high-pressured, fast-paced retail experience is ensnaring and I have a devil of a time putting down the controller when I just know I can get that final sale to push me over my goal.
My witch isn’t terribly concerned with morality. Instead of harmless love potions or helpful flying brooms, I make and sell biddable minions to evil dungeon bosses. The game makes no bones about the fact that I’m essentially providing slave labor to the baddies, and the contrast between the adorable pixel art and my central purpose manifests an ever-present air of humor.
Gameplay works similarly to games like Overcooked or Godlike Burger. I run from one end of my shop placing ingredients in caldrons or pestles while increasingly agitated customers await their orders. If I make my set quota by the end of one day/night cycle, I receive currency that will help me upgrade my operation.
This includes outfitting the prep station with tools to make a wider variety of more expensive minions — like zombies or skeletons. Or I can spruce up the shop by placing decorations or animal familiars to inspire my customers to give larger tips or keep their anger from boiling over.
This last helps greatly because, true to life, dealing with irate customers on a busy day is painful. In my witch’s case, this is a little more literal than usual as customers left waiting too long will often attack me while I try to prepare their order. It’s rude. Dealing with this on top of bursting pipes, burning ingredients, and breaking my curse in Tiny Witch is a serious, but spellbinding undertaking.