The new game from Platinum, Bayonetta Origins, does call for some ambidexterity though, as players manage two characters at once. The right side of a Switch controller is used to control Cheshire, a stuffed cat imbued with demons, and the left side is used to control Cereza, the young Bayonetta. Each Joy-analog Con’s controller is mapped to a specific character’s movement.
A different kind of agility is needed to play Bayonetta’s upcoming adventure, a prequel in the style of a storybook called Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon. This is especially true of games developed by PlatinumGames. The new Bayonetta game, Bayonetta Origins, has a much more laid-back attitude than the previous Bayonetta games, which are packed with balletic, bullet-buffeted action. Instead of white-knuckle ass-kicking, the Nintendo Switch game is driven by puzzle-solving and storytelling.
Shoulder buttons can be used to perform actions such as attacks and spells. Bayonetta Origins begins to develop into a more complex game than its visuals might suggest once you add some light combat and spells, some of which are powered by a tiny rhythm game.
Cereza isn’t particularly strong in combat. That’s where Cheshire comes in, a displeased demon who is summoned into (and cannot escape from) Cereza’s raggedy stuffed cat. His sharp claws can slash through evil fairies and thorny roots that obstruct Cereza’s path. Cheshire is a hulking beast, heavy but not particularly agile. He can also shrink down to the size of a regular stuffed cat toy, allowing Cereza to carry him like a big baby. (Adorably, picking up and carrying Cheshire is known as “hug mode.”) Cheshire is otherwise in “unleashed mode.”
A few chapters into Bayonetta Origins, where the young Cereza is studying in and exploring the eerie Avalon Forest, I jumped into the game. Cereza is a novice witch who uses spells to grow and change plants known as Infernal Plants as she learns the fundamentals of witchcraft. In order to create new bridges and pathways through the forest, these roots emerge from the ground. Cereza has the ability to trap adversaries in a mystical circle known as a Thorn Bind.
Cereza and Cheshire must work together to traverse Avalon Forest. And they must remain in close proximity to each other in order to survive. When the duo encounters a gang of bad guys, Cheshire must claw his way through them while Cereza avoids danger (or ensnares one in a magic spell). And when they come across a patch of rosemary — poison to poor Cheshire — it’s up to Cereza to summon a new path for her feline demon friend to follow using a little rhythm game spell. While hugging, the two can jump from platform to platform by using Cheshire as a grappling hook.
The forest becomes a series of increasingly difficult puzzles to solve by utilizing all of these cooperative components and codependencies. My hands-on time with Bayonetta Origins was very early in the game, so it’s interesting to think about how the creators might expand on these puzzles. Making magic potions is one of the other aspects I didn’t get to examine but which will ostensibly add even more depth.
Therefore, Bayonetta Origins is no less intriguing even though it looks and plays differently from the other Bayonetta games on Switch. When Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon debuts on March 17, players can experience its fairy-tale charms for themselves.