Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon review

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon acts as a prequel to the Bayonetta game franchise, giving players a peek into the childhood of the series’ protagonist Cereza.

However, rather than just another entry into the Bayonetta franchise, the game offers something unique that can be played by those not familiar with the previous games.

Here are some details of the game and my review of the Nintendo Switch title.

What is Bayonetta Origins about?

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is an action-adventure game that mixes together puzzle-solving, exploration, and dungeons for players.

A unique mechanic of the game is that you use the left Joy-Con (or left-side of your controller) to control the young witch Cereza, while you use the right Joy-Con (or right-side of your controller) to move her demon companion Cheshire.

The game sees Cereza enter a forbidden forest to seek out the power she needs to save her imprisoned mother. Along the way she summons a demon into her stuffed toy, and the pair work together to escape the forest’s faeries and find Cereza the power she needs to send the demon back to its home and face off against those who have her mother in prison.

Dark yet wholesome

cereza and cheshire in bayonetta origins

Telling the story of a child Umbra witch, the tale takes on a dark yet wholesome feel. Cutscenes are portrayed as storybook pages, with charming art and a dedicated narrator working to unfold the tale.

This wholesome feel carries over to the design of the forest and world Cereza inhabits. Different environments are a sprawl of colour and whimsy, while still having a somewhat mysterious feel.

The dynamic between Cereza and her demon is fraught with tension, but they develop a bond despite their antagonism toward each other.

Interesting gameplay

cereza and cheshire fight

As you explore the forest, you will encounter faerie enemies. As you progress, you will be introduced to different classes of faerie with unique abilities.

You can also defeat dungeon-like instances in the game, dubbed Tir Na Nogs. To complete one of these instances, you will usually need to solve a puzzle or defeat a group of enemies.

When fighting, you will use Cereza on the left controller to hamper enemies with spells like Thorn Bind. Meanwhile, Cheshire provides the attack power, unleashing attacks and combos on incapacitated enemies.

When Cheshire runs out of health, he needs to enter Hug Mode and return to Cereza to recharge his power.

The ability to upgrade both Cheshire and Cereza’s abilities keeps gameplay fresh. Meanwhile, boss fights include phases and unique steps needed to defeat your enemy.

So while elements of the game repeat themselves (like the need to defeat Tir Na Nogs), you stay invested in the game because it introduces enough new elements that feel novel.

Environmental puzzles also adapt to Cheshire’s growing abilities, making each new region feel unique.

A few frustrations

One drawback of the game is that when you die and respawn at a checkpoint, the potions you used do not revert to the number you had when the game last saved.

This means that if you fail to defeat a boss and restart from a checkpoint, you’ll have fewer potions each time.

This is especially frustrating during the final boss fights, which switch up the game’s mechanics significantly and place emphasis on perfectly-timed dodges. Eventually, you may find yourself restarting the fight all over again with no potions at all to help you through the boss phases.

The final moments of the game also include back-to-back boss fights, so to brew more potions you would need to reload a much earlier save and go through the same fights again, likely depleting your resources all over again.

Hopefully, this gets fixed in a patch. But if you find yourself facing this problem in the game, there is a way out – changing the damage settings.

This means that even if you find yourself without potions and a long boss fight ahead, you can reduce or completely remove the damage a boss inflicts against you. While it’s not the way one would prefer to finish the game, it does save you from needing to reload an earlier save to make more potions.

Finishing the game will unlock an additional tale that you can play, told from Jeanne’s perspective.

Review verdict: Is Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon worth playing?

cheshire and jeanne

Despite the potential potion bug I encountered, there’s a lot to love about Bayonetta Origins. Its style and gameplay are starkly different from other Bayonetta games, but this gives a fresh approach to the franchise.

The dark, sweet tale is charming and endearing. So if you enjoy adventure games with puzzles and interesting protagonists, give Bayonetta Origins a try.

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