Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon Nintendo Switch Review

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon's diversified gameplay comes from the excellent balancing between its well-designed puzzles and battles.

By SnowWhite, Posted 16 Mar 2023

It didn't take PlatinumGames long after the release of the Bayonetta 3 to start thinking about the next installment in the series. Only a few months after Bayonetta 3 hit the shelves, Nintendo and PlatinumGames came together with a new game. While taking a different approach, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon seemed like a deflection from the main Bayonetta series. A more family-friendly take on the series, a storybook adventure that emphasizes an intriguing combination of gameplay mechanics and surroundings than the typical action of the series we're familiar with. It's one of those games when you step into its world; you will likely wish you could remain there endlessly.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, Nintendo Switch, Review, Cereza, Female Protagonist, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed

Not only does Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon stand out from the other games in the Bayonetta series due to its presentation is more appropriate for younger audiences, but it also differs from the other games in the series in the way that it approaches its gameplay. It's an unexpectedly satisfying incentive for the fans wanting more after the Bayonetta 3. So shortly following the release of Bayonetta 3, Cereza and the Lost Demon provides a pseudo-origins story for the flirtatious witch. In this respect, it is both unique and reminiscent of previous games. A little more subdued, certainly not filled with wild sequences, hectic action, and intense battles.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is a prequel chapter set during the early years of Cereza. The story begins in a traditional fairy tale style. The narrator informs us that long ago, clans of umbra sages and witches lived in relative harmony in a faraway land. You take on the role of her younger self, an apprentice Umbran Witch who watches as the coven imprisons her mother for engaging in an affair with a Lumen Sage. Later on, she is taken under by the witch clan. After witnessing her mother's punishment, Cereza becomes an apprentice to a powerful witch Morgana. Like so many others, Morgana was also kicked out of the coven when she was young for practicing witchcraft. That's why she could empathize with Cereza and attend to her for aid.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, Nintendo Switch, Review, Cereza, Female Protagonist, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed

A few years later, Cereza's mother is sent to a deeper prisoner, where she might never return, and Cereza becomes desperate to save her. Because she loves her mother, she wants to become powerful at any cost for her rescuing her. Her goal is to one day be powerful enough to free her. She is constantly tested by a mysterious voice from the Avalon Forest, although Morgana forbade her from entering the forest. While practicing her magic one night, she accidentally calls forth a powerful demon called Chouchou, which takes possession of her doll cat, Cheshire. After receiving a series of visions in a dream, Cereza ventures into the mystical Avalon Forest to become more powerful. But she doesn't realize the mysterious voice is a specter in her dreams until it's too late, while she also finds out that the demon that possessed Cheshire is there to aid her.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon isn't your average Bayonetta game if you have yet to guess. It's a single-player, cooperative game. The two characters need to work together during the exploration phase and the usual fighting that bridge chapters to overcome the traps and obstacles of the Avalon Forest. Both Cereza and Cheshire are under your simultaneous command, with the former being controlled by the right joy-com and the latter by the left. This mechanism, combined with the adaptability of the Joy-Con, makes the game perfect for local cooperative play, even though it was intended for a single player. The challenge is well-balanced, and new elements are introduced methodically to keep players engaged. Cereza has some basic magical abilities, allowing her to manipulate forest elements and temporarily weaken foes. Cheshire deals most of the damage and has various defenses to keep himself and Cereza alive. It's not simple to describe, but the pieces naturally fit together.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, Nintendo Switch, Review, Cereza, Female Protagonist, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed

Since the gameplay mechanism requires close coordination between the two characters, it takes some time to get used to the controls and memorize which thumbstick and buttons correspond to which character, but once you do, you'll find yourself in a pleasant rhythm. Movements in the woods are usually synchronized or involve moving only one character at a time, which is helpful. In addition, Cereza can use the time-saving Hug Mode, which entails hoisting Cheshire aloft like a stuffed animal to provide whatever assistance is needed without resorting to magic.

In particular, the game's mechanics, which allow you to transform Cheshire into Cereza's stuffed cat and toss him to higher, otherwise inaccessible areas, make this an appealing option. Some enemies, for instance, required me to use a combination of Cereza's special spell and Cheshire's melee attacks on the right stick of the controller for an effective kill. Coordinating the actions of both characters is a key part of solving puzzles. It is fun to figure out how to get both characters to the same location despite taking different routes. Solving one of these puzzles is always rewarding, even if some can get tedious after a while.

Action and exploration are both present in Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon. At first, you're confined to the main path, but as you progress and open up new routes for Cheshire, you'll have more freedom to explore and engage with the environment. There are many things to find, but the resources needed to activate Cereza and Cheshire's enhanced skills are the most important. While many parts of the map will be inaccessible until you acquire the appropriate ability, making the exploration feel a little like a Metroidvania. A growing arsenal of grapple hooks, water squirts, and ground pounds are needed to untangle the forest's maze of pathways. While Chesire's fireballs serve as unimaginative keys to common elemental obstacles, water-propelled lily pads help bring the action to life.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, Nintendo Switch, Review, Cereza, Female Protagonist, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed

With the emphasis on going backward, the map in Origins becomes even less useful. A map that doesn't permit you to keep track of the direction you are going doesn't help matters. Too many details are left out, and the camera constantly changes perspective, making it hard to get a feel for the layout of certain regions. Another source of frustration is that fast travel is restricted to a small number of locations. While together, they cannot stray too far from each other or will have to return to the last checkpoint. Cheshire can move wherever it pleases, while Cereza can use her elemental powers to stay on the designated path. Sometimes you need to use both characters simultaneously, so learning how to synchronize with each is essential.

There are also locked areas in Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, some of which are optional but necessary for the plot. Among them, the Tír na nÓg dungeons are notorious for their challenging puzzles, which typically involve splitting the pair and requiring them to work together. In some instances, you will be required to battle your way to the end of Tír na nÓg, while in others, you will be tasked with solving one of the intriguing puzzles. You'll need to rely on Cereza's magic in almost every instance.

There's a chest waiting for her right before the end that will grant her extra points and add increases her life. With so many positive outcomes from successfully mapping Tír na nÓg, it's clear that doing so is worthwhile. It's satisfying to work out the various puzzles, whether related to the overarching map or the Tír na nÓg mini-dungeons; some of the puzzles in the latter are required, while others are optional.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, Nintendo Switch, Review, Cereza, Female Protagonist, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed

Gameplay is initially straightforward, and the unlockable first set of bonus abilities doesn't significantly alter this. Later on, when you've gathered enough elemental cores, however, this will take on a greater degree of variety. They endow Cheshire with four unique forms; some of these are required to defeat certain later enemies, while others play a role in unlocking supplementary areas of the world. Cheshire and Cereza receive power-ups throughout the game, increasing their attack and defense stats. There are no unique skills that significantly alter the gameplay. The most notable variations concern the many guises that Cheshire uses. This knowledge also allows access to previously unreachable areas. During the battle itself, cooperation is also essential. Even in the rare boss fights, you'll need to use Cereza's thorn tendrils to tie up your opponent before using Cheshire.

When it comes to battle in Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, Cheshire is more important because it is the one who can banish the dark fairies from the Avalon Forest. Even though Cheshire is the most pivotal character during battles, he still needs Cereza to divert his attention from some bad guys when there are too many of them. As Cheshire cannot die, it might seem like fighting is simple, but it's not. Protecting Cereza from harm is a major concern in battle, and you still have to worry about defeating your opponents. Though she appears defenseless at first glance, she can hold off the fairies with a few dark pulses. Claw strikes and similar actions from Cereza and Cheshire can be chained together into combos, and elemental attacks can be used against specific types of enemies.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, Nintendo Switch, Review, Cereza, Female Protagonist, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed

But to make matters worse, Cereza is the only character who can't die in battles because doing so would end the game prematurely. Conversely, if Cheshire loses his magic or health, he will transform into a doll and need to be hugged until it returns. Adding new elemental forms to Cheshire's repertoire makes things more chaotic, as some enemies have defenses that specific types of attack can only breach. You'll want to watch for those with earth, water, or fire shields so that they can be easily identified. In later levels, enemies are frequently armed with a magical protection bell of their own, one made of fire that can only be broken by water.

However, at least in battle, these four unique classes require much more magic to function. Even if Cheshire is avoided, there is still a risk that the energy will be depleted before it can be replenished. Thankfully the pacing here is completely different from the Bayonetta games, being much more deliberate and slower. This lets you pay close attention to what's happening and develop a strategy. Overall, the battles are a bit chaotic if you don't get used to the controlling mechanism, especially during the boss fights, which turn into a bit more randomly mashing attacks while keeping an eye on both the characters become most challenging.

In terms of Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon’s visuals, it takes on that aesthetic successfully and illustrates how a studio can achieve unexpected results even when limited by hardware's graphical capabilities. Platinum Games' willingness to experiment with different visual styles is worthy of praise. Those expecting a more intense experience along the lines of the main series may be confused and disappointed by this game's overall relaxed approach. All the characters are designed nicely, especially young Cereza, who is cute and loveable. The voice acting deserves credit and does a good job in the story's cutscenes of conveying the growing friendship between Cereza and Cheshire. Jenny Lee, the story's narrator, who also serves as our virtual traveling companion, deserves much credit. Her deep voice perfectly conveys the emotional weight of every scene.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, Nintendo Switch, Review, Cereza, Female Protagonist, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon has stunning visuals and fantastic gameplay. Fans of the main series should pay close attention to this game because of its uniqueness. It has a very different kind of attraction that trades fast-paced combat for relaxing exploration and puzzle-solving. The game's diversified gameplay comes from the excellent balancing between its well-designed puzzles and battles. Though it doesn't present much of a challenge, the game's relaxed mechanics will help you take in the beautiful setting and engaging narrative. However, if you're also hoping for a great deal of freedom or a lot of fun, you might be left feeling let down.

As you progress through Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, you might forget you're playing a Bayonetta game. However, the game adds a layer of richness to Cereza's personality, significantly contributing to this incredible character's narrative. The gameplay is also mostly effective, but it does get a bit monotonous at times, and after you get used to the controls, it's not the most difficult game, yet it's still a lot of fun. Bayonetta fans might not want to miss playing it, while fans of fairytale-style games will also find great delight in it.

Asura Kagawa (@AsuraKagawa)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): Switch
Publisher(s): Nintendo, Nintendo of America Inc.
Developer(s): PlatinumGames Inc.
Genres: 3D Platformer
Themes: Adventure, Fighting, Puzzle
Release Date: 2023-03-17

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