Sometimes the game industry goes in bizarre and unexpected directions. Did anyone ever really expect the Wii to take off the way it did? I know that if I tried to explain that Nintendo’s GameCube followup was a console controlled by pointing at the screen with a glorified TV remote, Young Cory would have laughed in Old Cory’s face. Here we are, though, in a world where the Wii was a worldwide sensation that played a big part in opening up the world of video gaming to a wider audience. Crazy, right?
Here’s an other crazy thing: we’re talking about Bayonetta and its sequel on a Nintendo console. Actually, it’s even crazier than that, because this is a re-release of the games on a second Nintendo console. Yes, you no longer need to own a Wii U to play Bayonetta 2, thus bringing down the number of games you need to own that system to play down to…uh…four, maybe? Poor Wii U. Anyway, yeah: it’s a double-whammy of Bayonneta on Switch! It’s great! It’s really not something I’d ever expect to be playing on Nintendo, but here we are!
If you’re not familiar with the concept, the titular heroine is an Umbra Witch, part of a nearly-extinct clan of spellcasters who once helped to maintain the world’s balance. They were nearly decimated by their nemeses, the Lumen Sages, leaving Bayonetta one of the few remaining Witches. The games follow her quest to learn more about her past and the fate of the Umbra Witches.
She’s not your traditional broom-flying, cat-owning, wart-causing witch, of course; Bayonetta’s armed to the teeth and ready to kick the butts of any angelic menaces she comes across. These games are sort of the proto-PlatinumGames and most of the studio’s later releases would hearken back to Bayonetta in some way. In particular, Bayo’s signature Witch Time technique, rewarding you for precise dodging by offering a burst of bullet time, has come up time and time again in Platinum’s subsequent releases.
There’s not much I can say about how well-made these games are that hasn’t already been said. They’re tightly designed and encourage mastery, rewarding practice and patience with progression and upgrades. It’s good that we don’t do video reviews here at Popzara, since I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself, but suffice to say that if you’ve got the time and effort to improve then the Bayonetta games are more than happy to accommodate you. If you purchase the game new you’ll get a download code for the original Bayonetta as well as Bayonetta 2 on a card, and they’re both solid; I’ve got a little bit of a nostalgia thing for the original and tend to prefer that one, but each is worth a look.
You’re probably more interested about how this looks and plays on the Switch than anything else, so worry not: it’s great. In particular, these games shine when the Switch is docked, but they’re perfectly playable in handheld mode as well, which is quite the feat when you see it in action. One thing that’s worth noting is that you really ought to have a Pro Controller for Bayonetta, since the level of precision that you’ll need to be effective is somewhat more difficult to attain with the Joy-Cons; if you’re playing in handheld mode, though, you’ll probably just have to adapt.
That’s about it, really: it’s Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 on the Switch. We’re living in a timeline where you can play perfectly usable versions of Bayonetta 1 + 2 on a handheld – a Nintendo handheld – with promises of more high-heeled action on the way. As I said, sometimes the game industry goes in bizarre and unexpected directions. What a beautiful thing.