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Trouble Witches is a series of Doujin Bullet Hell games of the Cute'Em Up sub-genre by Studio SiestA. The series consist of two games, one of which has been re-released three times already with an "English" version of the PC game canceled sometime during its production, with a sequel currently under development.
Trouble Witches Episode 1 ~Daughters of Amalgam~ (2007) is the first game of the series and was released for Windows PC as doujin game. The story is set in the magical country of Eihemland where a great witch named Amalgam has stolen a ring sealing away a powerful devil known as the Draupnhir, and divided the pieces of said ring to her children where they wreak havoc as they see fit. The king of Eihemland spread flyers all across the country with a award to anyone who can stop Amalgam and her children with any wish they desire. And of course, It's Up to You stop Amalgam's and her kids, and reclaim the ring of the Draupnhir.
The original PC game featured three magical girls, Pril Patowle, Aqua Seep Seal, and Yuki Longate, with Sies Fabric Tinydream as an unlockable forth character (Sies becomes immediately playable after the "Ver.2" update), each with their own shot type, strengths, and their own take on the storyline in a fully-voiced Story Mode. One of the unique aspects of the game is the risk-and-reward mechanics of the game, of which the Magic Barrier system where each witch can summon a barrier to slow down enemy fire and convert them into gold by destroying the enemy that originally fired the shots. However could work against the player if the enemies flees from the screen with their shots trapped in the barrier, which the bullets will zero-in on the player. The gold not only go towards earning points, but it can be used at the Pumpkin Sister's shop (which usually appears twice during each stage) to spend your gold on Magic Cards and other goods such as 1-Ups and MP-boosting potions. The Magic Cards would give the user a different shot-type for brief periods of time, but destroying enemies under this effect would earn score-boosting Star Coins, although taking a hit will knock the card out of you (though saves you from losing a life), and taking a hit without any protection will result in losing a fraction of Star Coins as well.
Trouble Witches AC (2009) was an "enhanced" version of Trouble Witches Episode 1 Studio SiestA was in the works of around 2008, however the updated game was scrapped once it got picked for an arcade release in Japan in 2009. The game was played on the Taito Type X arcade hardware and it did feature some of the What Could Have Been aspects that was originally planned for the PC game, like introducing Louis Leondyke, Cynfi Porat, Conon Mildiazzhe Krakow, and Raya Arcturus into Episode 1's storyline, and some changes made to the original gameplay. Of course, this also lacks much of the features the original PC game had, such as the fully-voiced Story Mode. Trouble Witches AC later made it's way into the NESiCAxLive arcade service in Japan in 2012, which also brought back Sies Fabric Tinydream into the game's roster of magical girls.
The Tomboyish Witches ~With Amalgam's Cutie Girls~ (Canceled) was also in the works alongside Trouble Witches AC for PC, but unlike it's arcade counterpart, never saw the light of day. It was Studio SiestA's attempt into making a self-made "English" version of Trouble Witches Episode 1 ~Daughters of Amalgam~, but it was also scrapped for a release once it become an arcade game.
Trouble Witches NEO! (2011) is the game's first-time venture into the mainstream platform. Published by SNK Playmore and released world-wide for Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade on April 27, 2011. It is essentially an enhanced port of Trouble Witches AC while featuring the return of the PC game's Story Mode, a new Challenge Mode featuring a Boss Rush and Score Attack mode, two new characters and their familiars (one of which is Downloadable Content), co-op (both locally and online), enhanced visuals for widescreen presentation, new character artwork, online leaderboards, sharable replays, Achievements, and Trouble Witches AC as an added bonus. The two new witches introduced are Sakurako Kujo, an astrologist anime otaku who wants to become a witch like in her favorite Magical Girl animes; and Luca, a downloadable devil princess with Lightning Bruiser-like qualities, MP almost double compared to every other witch in the game, and whose also madly in-love with the Draupnir.
Along with the return of the Story Mode, it also featured an option for English voice-overs as the developers puts it, "offers a full voice dubbing in English and in Japanese to enjoy twice the game!", although it has Gone Horribly Wrong as it features terrible English voice-acting and translations this side of Castle of Shikigami and Chaos Wars. Your Mileage May Vary, but some fans actually like the horrendous English voice-overs. Adding to the abysmal localization quality, the Story Mode is also abridged compared to it's original PC counterpart, lots of name changes for the characters (for better or worse), and the included Trouble Witches AC is more-or-less the same game save for the most of the terrible voice-acting. It also lacks the personal score rankings, the ability to revisit past stages, and the ability to switch Magic Cards on the fly of the original game. Despite its faults, the gameplay still holds up fairly well.
Trouble Witches Episode 2 ~With Decendents of Ancient Dragon the Souless~ (TBA) is an upcoming follow-up to Episode 1 that's currently in the works. From what is shown on circle's website, the game will be set in a different country with (currently) four new magical girls.
Studio SiestA's official website can be view here. Each website for Episode 1 can be viewed here (original PC game), here (Trouble Witches AC for PC), here (The Tomboyish Witches for PC manual), here (Trouble Witches AC for arcades), here (Studio SiestA's Trouble Witches NEO! for Xbox 360 website), and here (Bouken's Trouble Witches NEO! for Xbox 360 website).
This series now has a Character Sheet, so all characterized tropes should go there.
In the Magical Land of Eihemland, Trouble Witches Episode 1 features examples of:
- Absolute Cleavage: Amalgam.
- Adults Are Useless: Mainly in Trouble Witches NEO! due to abridging of the storylines.
- April Fools: In 2012, Studio SiestA made an update to their website featuring a "patch" for the PC game that would allow players to play as four of Amalgam's children instead of the main characters. It turns out to be a joke.
- Art Evolution: The character artworks in Trouble Witches NEO! is a huge improvement from the original Trouble Witches and Trouble Witches AC, although the artist also took a lazier approach when it came making the character portraits of the Story Mode.
- Artifact of Doom: The Ring of the Draupnir.
- Bad Export for You: Blind Idiot Translation? Check. Abridged storylines? Check. Terrible English voice-overs with Engrish? Big check. No Sies Fabric Tinydream as a playable character? Check. Trouble Witches NEO! fits this bill quite nicely.
- Berserk Button: Don't talk shit about Aqua Seep Seal, or her outfit, and especially not her Idol Singer career.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Aqua Seep Seal (Lady Aqua). She's actually one of the angriest, meanest heroines of the game.
- Blind Idiot Translation: The localization quality of Trouble Witches NEO!.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Almagam.
- Cute'Em Up: It's the whole genre of the game!
- Cute Witch: The younger witches.
- Doujinshi: In Trouble Witches NEO!, Sakurako makes doujinshi about herself and sell them off at an event every winter.
- This game, of course, is made by a doujin circle (independent Japanese developers).
- Engrish: Again, Trouble Witches NEO! is full of it.
- Enhanced Remake: Trouble Witches NEO! being a remake of Trouble Witches AC for arcades in Japan, which was also originally planned as an enhanced version of the original doujin PC game.
- Epic Flail: Conan's projectile.
- Eternal Engine: Stage 5's boss 5, "Grimoire, Weapon of Mass Destruction".
- Familiar: Just about every main character has one.
- Fan Service: Sort of. In Sakurako's ending, Chime made a magical staff for Sakurako that would transfrom her clothes a la Magical Girl fashion. She immediately tested it out before Chime can warn her about the "going nude" part of the clothing transform, which evidentally happens as the small bits of clothing manages to cover any indecent exposure from the player's eyes.
- Flying Broomstick: Also includes a giant key, magical trident, a living pillow, etc.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the shop, touching Autumn's chest makes her giggly (this was changed to her pumpkin hat in NEO!). Do it too much, and her big sister Jules kicks the player out of the store, saying things like "Are you having fun? Well I'm not!"
- It's possible to do the same with Pleu, if she ever shows up to work at the store counter...
- Hey, It's That Voice!: You mean to tell me that Meil Mail in NEO is voiced by Grolla Seyfarth?!
- mi~a also lends her talents to voice as Luca in Trouble Witches NEO!.
- Hot Witch: The older witches.
- Hot Mom: Amalgam.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels, Harder Than Hard
- Improbably-Female Cast: Especially in Trouble Witches NEO!.
- Jerkass: Canon starts outs as this.
- Leotard of Power: Amalgam.
- Lolicon: During Stage 2 of Luca's story, Victor was having some second thoughts about the Draupnir marrying his young devil-girl princess of a granddaughter.
- Magic Wand: And a wide assortment of different wands ranging from a Paper Fan of Doom (Louis) to a microphone (Aqua).
- Make My Monster Grow: The only boss fought directly is Almagam. The rest summon a monster.
- The Mario: Pril, her stats say so.
- Lightning Bruiser: Luca with nearly maxed out stats in every category, especially considering she has almost twice the MP out the entire cast.
- More Dakka
- Nintendo Hard: Especially in the original PC game, which has finite continues and the characters must manually summon their barrier to a desired size, which takes time and more MP.
- No Export for You: Aside from importing or pirating the original PC game, or playing the arcade game from the NESiCAxLive service, Sies remains only playable in the Japanese Trouble Witches Episode 1 (excluding NEO! since she's not even playable in the XBLA version as well).
- Scarf of Asskicking: Al the Blackcat and Sies' doll, The Beast, wears one.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Drapuhnir.
- Shaggy Dog Story: In Conon's story, her father was turned into floating eye-ball and requested his daughter to him back to normal. After three months of serving his daughter, he was able to get Conon to take time and undo his curse. Problem is, without knowing how he become a monster, Conon couldn't help him.
- Shout-Out: At one point, Sakurako insists that her Katana is a Device, and that her Miko vestments are a Barrier Jacket.
- Spell My Name with an "S"
- Split Personality: Jules.
- Talking to Yourself
- Thicker Than Water: Almagam's family.
- Up to Eleven: Played with in Trouble Witches NEO's! "MAX Star Coins to the MAX Power" Achievement. It's even worth 11 Gamerscore points to boot.
- Video Game Settings
- What the Hell, Hero?: Yuki gets called out by the Amalgam family one by one because of her aggressive behavior and how she treats her partner Minsk.
- ↑ From top to bottom: Luca, Conon, Lyla, Louis, Symphony, Aqua, Yuki, Sakurako, and Pril