Review – Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon

A Cute Storybook Beginning

Overview

Developer PlatinumGames
Publisher Nintendo
Genre Action RPG
Platforms Switch (Reviewed)
Release Date March 8, 2023

Bayonetta has become a bit of a first-party darling for Nintendo in recent years. After wrapping the trilogy and dealing with the voice actor kerfuffle of Bayonetta 3, the release of a game that tells the series’ origin story feels well-timed. Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon feels like an excellent way to tell a fresh story while making the franchise more palatable for younger audiences.

Content Guide

Violence: There is some animated combat with no blood or gore.

Sexual Content: Unlike the other games in the franchise, Cereza and the Lost Demon does not emphasize or sexualize any of the characters.

Drugs and Alcohol: There are no drugs or alcohol.

Language/Crude Humor: There are a few instances of minor profanity used in the narrative.

Dark/Spiritual Content: Cereza and the Lost Demon features several elements that may give players or their guardians pause. Cereza herself summons a demon to control and fight for her. Her coven’s magic uses their hair as part of their spellcasting. There are other nefarious magical elements at play Cereza will have to contend with.

Review

Two lovers, an Umbra Witch and a Lumen Sage, fell in love and bore a beautiful daughter with the blood of both. In an effort to restore balance to the two clans, the sage was banished and the witch was thrown in a solitary cell to live out her days. Cereza, the beautiful young child borne of this union, was sent to be raised by Morgana, a powerful Umbra Witch that could teach her to grow into her powers. The young girl, who visits her mother in prison daily, learns her mother is to be moved deeper into the prison where she can’t be reached. In a desperate bid to stop that from happening, the young girl disobeys Morgana and ventures into the dangerous Avalon Forest, chasing a creature from a dream to realize her wishes. Using her training, she summons a demon into her stuffed cat, Cheshire. After a tenuous beginning, the two learn to rely on one another to complete Cereza’s quest and get Cheshire back home.

Cereza and the Lost Demon, while thematically dark, is actually a well-told, relatively clean fairy tale. The narrative is well-paced, the characters are endearing, and the world feels mysterious and magical. The way the tale’s beats are delivered through animated pages and engaging storytelling make for an excellent story you’ll feel like you’ve been told at bedtime as a child.

Fans of the classic indie game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons will find Bayonetta Origins‘ gameplay familiar. You have two characters you’ll command, each with a different side of your controller. With the left joystick and buttons, you’ll maneuver Cereza, while the right side lets you control Cheshire. You’ll have to manipulate them both to solve environmental puzzles, which often require both characters to complete and combat Avalon Forest’s evil inhabitants. While Cereza can summon and utilize Cheshire while roaming the woods, in combat she takes on more of a support role, binding enemies in place when able to set up the beast for massive attacks. The girl is the duo’s brain while her charge brings the brawn. As the story progresses, you’ll be able to level up both characters, learning new skills and improving others. Cheshire will get access to new elemental abilities, too, granting both expanded complexity for puzzles but also more dynamic combat, requiring that he alter forms to address different threats on the fly.

The gameplay is at its best, both in combat and puzzle-solving, when both characters are heavily involved. It can wind your brain up a bit to send two characters in different directions simultaneously, but executing the maneuvers will give you a shot of serotonin few other experiences can match.

While Bayonetta Origins‘ gameplay is a fantastic experience, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the frustration certain endgame experiences caused. There’s an uncharacteristic difficulty spike, sure, but the fact that failed attempts still consumed healing items was an unexpected frustration I wasn’t expecting. Beyond that, I found the game easily manageable throughout.

As previously mentioned, Bayonetta Origins‘ aesthetics are a treat. They really nailed the storybook look and feel with bright colors and watercolor animation singing in unison to deliver an exciting-yet-cozy-feeling feast for the eyes. The voice acting and soundtrack are fantastic, too, pulling you deeper into Avalon Forest and Cereza’s tale.

While I think the subject matter of a witch summoning a demon may be more on the mature side, Cereza and the Lost Demon is a fantastic game with a story that hits home on notes of excitement, despair, teamwork, resolution, and more. The game is beautiful and well-told with gameplay mechanics that will stretch your cognition a bit without becoming frustrating. Whether you’re an existing fan of the Bayonetta games or not, there’s something in here everyone can enjoy.

Review copy generously provided by Nintendo

The Bottom Line

 

This cute, thematically dark twin-stick Action RPG is a fun, engaging tale you can enjoy whether you're an established Bayonetta fan or not.

 

8

Posted in , ,

Joe Morgan

Husband, gamer, software developer, animal lover. When he's not writing for GeeksUnderGrace, he's probably fishing or working on content with his wife for Coffee and Adventure, their YouTube channel

Leave a Reply