‘Nude Girl and Witch’ – A Puzzler That Could’ve Been So Much More

TouchArcade Rating:

This was posted on April Fool’s day

Back in January, Handbook Inc. released an iPhone title that has hovered near the top of my list, but that I hadn’t written up, wanting to afford it the proper amount of time for a focused review. I’ve finally managed to clear out a few days, however, and can at long last share my thoughts on Nude Girl and Witch [App Store].

Once upon a time, there was a strong empire, where a group of beautiful princesses lived happy life.

one day,however,with an ugly witch sneaking into the empire house, everything changed……

Handbook Inc, who also brought us Naked Girl Encircled [link], Super Girl vs Bat [link], and Hot Girl Zombies Crisis [link], in releasing Nude Girl and Witch has attempted to take the find-the-ball game mechanic to the next level. It was a bold move on their part — and I believe Nude Girl and Witch may not be the first take on this formula in the App Store. But, the question is: did they succeed?

Let’s take a look.

The first thing you’ll notice in launching the game is the ethereal title screen depicting a beautiful girl gazing off into the distance, as if in contemplation of both the darkness that has befallen the empire house and of the hopeful day sometime in the future where things will be as they once were, when she and the other princesses can again live happy life. Accompanying this title screen is a lovely melody that evokes a sense magic and wonder, underscoring the sentiment of optimism and hope for better things to come.

Upon tapping the 16-pointed start button (five points concealed off-screen), you are presented with the game screen and ushered into a brief tutorial that illustrates the mechanics of the title.

Nude Girl and Witch takes place in an elaborate room bathed in purple light and adorned with pillars, presumably a hall of worship deep inside the empire house. In the center of the room are three cloaked figures standing abreast — several of the aforementioned beautiful princesses. Or, so it would seem — for, an instant after the start of the game, one of the figures reveals her face. And it’s no beautiful princess, let me tell you! It is, in fact, the ugly witch who has done the sneaking detailed in the backstory! And, no less quickly than she revealed her face, she conceals it once again.

As the player, you must do your absolute best to remember which of the cloaked figures has revealed herself to be the witch, as a dance of rearrangement designed to vex and confuse ensues just moments later. And, when this dance has come to an end, it is up to you to point out which of these figures is the behaggled imposter.

I will pause here to say that, up to this point, surely Nude Girl and Witch must seem like the perfect game, with no flaw to speak of. This was certainly my feeling as I played through the game for the first time. But, it is here that I must begin to point out the numerous ways in which this title falls flat.

With but three figures to track during the dance of rearrangement, you will likely succeed in fingering the witch through the first few levels. Upon tapping on the figure of your choice, that figure’s robes are thrown wide and you will then know if you have exposed the witch. But, as the level number increases, so too do the number of figures presented, as well as the number of rearrangements that take place. And, before long, you will inevitably pick the wrong figure and, in your failing, you will be witness to an uncloaked princess.

And you will come to realize that this girl is not nude.

Seeing the backstory and knowing that this is a game about a witch that has infiltrated a cloister of beautiful princesses, and noting that a decloaking is the mechanism of revelation in this game, I assumed that the non-witches were, in fact, unclad beneath their robes. (And the name of this game is Nude Girl and Witch.) But, it is not so. When you miss the witch and tap upon a princess, you will see that she is clad in a grey bikini. There can be no mistake — she is not nude. In years long past, this might have been considered nude, but not in the world of Retina displays and gigahertz mobile processors. And, frankly, she looks nothing like the beautiful girl on the game’s title screen.

If the game had been entitled Naked Girl and Witch, I might be less jarred by the lack of nude girl, as “naked" may be interpreted as unprotected. Vulnerable. Undisguised. But, with “nude," there can be no mistake of what is promised, here.

Because of the outside possibility that only most of the princesses are clad in bikinis under their robes, with a nude one here and there, I spent much of my 39 hours with this this title clicking — knowingly — on those I knew not to be the witch. At no time was I ever presented with an actual nude girl in my time with this game. Not once. It is this wanton bait-and-switch tactic Handbook has taken here that is my main complaint with this title. But, I’m afraid the negatives don’t end there.

Another way in which this game disappoints is in the area of difficulty progression. As mentioned previously, as the levels mount, so too do the number of figures onscreen and the number of times they switch position. But this is only up to a point, as the following data plot illustrates.

As the chart above reveals, at level 13 the number of onscreen figures and rearrangements cease to increase, leveling out after just a baker’s dozen progressively harder levels. This dramatically impacts the enjoyment of several-hour bouts of witch finding.

Sadly, the lack of nudity and difficulty ramping issues aren’t the end of it. Nude Girl and Witch offers no native iPad or Retina display support. And, definitely no shader support. There’s no online leaderboard or achievement system and no multiplayer support of any kind. The brief tutorial (with its haunting dismembered finger) must be endured for every game started from the main menu. The game also fails to visibly benefit in any way from the dual-core PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics processor, as played on the iPad 2.

Taken all together, the weaknesses of this game turn what might have been the perfect iOS game into a title that I have no choice but to advise gamers to avoid. If $.99 is burning a hole in your pocket, you’d do well to spend it someplace other than Nude Girl and Witch.

UPDATE: In late 2011, Nude Girl and Witch had a title change to Pick Her Out.

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