Bayonetta Origins Preview: Cherry and the Lost Demon

Fresh off its third entry, the Bayonetta series has established itself among the best Nintendo Switch games by delivering a unique and stylish flavor of slash-em-up filled with over-the-top battles and even more over-the-top attitude. As such, it makes sense that its upcoming prequel would be a cute and relaxing interactive storybook that looks like it’s straight out of the Disney vault. Hope for?

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon develops the backstory of the franchise in the form of a pastel-colored adventure that challenges you to control two characters at once while solving puzzles and defeating enemies. And despite its apparent incongruity with the main series, and the fact that it wasn’t very high on my radar, Bayonetta Origins quickly became one of my most anticipated games after about 30 minutes of playtime. Here’s why this upcoming Nintendo fairy tale is something to look out for when it rolls around on March 17.

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Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is an enchanting puzzle-filled adventure that serves as a prequel to the high-octane Bayonetta series.

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For those who are new, Bayonetta is a kinetic action franchise that sees you shoot, slash, and hair whip all manner of otherworldly enemies as the game’s titular talking witch. Bayonetta Origins, which casts you as a young woman named Cherry (who, spoiler alert, would eventually become Bayonetta) is decidedly No it’s. Whereas the main Bayonetta games have you mashing buttons to smash the head of a giant with a huge demon foot, Origins is a slow-paced, storybook-like adventure with a more accessible approach to combat and storytelling. puzzle solving.

The fairy tale comparisons go beyond the beautiful watercolor worlds of Origins; The game’s narrative literally unfolds in the form of a digital storybook that you flip through as the narrator guides you. I found the introduction a few minutes too long, there’s a fair amount of text to read setting up Cherry’s quest to become more powerful and her relationship with her demon friend Cheshire, but once I really started to play, I was hooked.

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Bayonetta Origins employs a unique dual-stick setup that allows you to control Cherry on the left half of the controller and Cheshire on the right. They each have distinct abilities: Cherry can cast spells and is immune to certain environmental hazards, while Cheshire is the brute of the duo who can mow down enemies and destroy debris blocking your path. There are also times when you’ll need to merge the characters into one, causing Cheshire to shrink from a giant monster to an adorable doll that has its own unique set of abilities.

Guiding two characters with a single controller was a uniquely brain-splitting challenge that reminded me a lot of the excellent Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and figuring out how to use both characters in unison to defeat enemies and solve puzzles was immensely satisfying. For example, you can use Cherry to hold an enemy still while attacking them with Cheshire, or use her demon friend as a kind of grappling hook when the two characters merge. You won’t need the same split-second combat time as you would in a standard Bayonetta game (a few quick taps of the ZR button downed most enemies), but you’ll have to use your brains during some of the sections of the game. more complicated puzzles. . I was briefly stumped by an obstacle course area that required me to strategically move Cherry and Cheshire around independently, and enjoyed a little satisfying moment once I figured it out (a Nintendo rep may or may not have given me the idea). slight hint).

I would be remiss not to mention the gorgeous visuals in Bayonetta Origins, which really make the game look like an interactive cartoon with bright pastel colors, seemingly hand-painted environments, and adorable fluently animated characters. While the Switch hardware is starting to show its age, as evidenced by games like Bayonetta 3 and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, Bayonetta Origins fixes system limitations by focusing on style over pure fidelity.

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I went into my Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon demo with low expectations, and came away looking forward to spending more time with Cereza and Cheshire. If you have a Nintendo Switch, it should be on your radar, even if you’ve never played a Bayonetta game before.

While hardcore Bayonetta fans will find plenty of new lore to delve into, Origins is shaping up to be simply a great action-adventure game that people of all ages and skill levels can enjoy. If you’re looking to introduce a younger member of the family to Bayonetta, or just want something to scratch that Zelda itch before she arrives in Tears of the Kingdom in May, chances are she’ll have fun with this one. Bayonetta Origins is available to pre-order now and hits stores on March 17, and we’re already looking forward to playing more.