Trouble Witches is a series of doujin Bullet Hell Cute 'em Up games 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 debuted as a doujin PC 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 Draupnir, and divided the pieces of said ring among her children where they cause havoc and mischief as they see fit. In response to the chaos being created by Amalgam and her children, the King of Eihemland spread flyers all across the country with a award to anyone who can stop Amalgam and her daughters with any wish they desire.
The original PC game featured three witches to chose from: Pril Patowle, Aqua Seep Seal, and Yuki Longate, with Sies Fabric Tinydream, a reoccurring mid-boss that can be unlocked as a bonus character but has became immediately playable after the "Ver.2" update. Each character have 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 is 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 those shots. However, this could work against the player if the enemies flees from the screen with their shots trapped in the barrier, which the bullets will home-in on the player, or get blown away from the bullets if their MP runs out. The gold earned not only go towards Scoring Points, but it can be used at the Pumpkin Sisters' 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 yield for score-boosting Star Coins, although taking a hit will knock the card out of you but saves you from losing a life, which results in losing a fraction of Star Coins collected.
The developers originally had planned an updated version of the game for PC titled Trouble Witches AC, however it was scrapped when the game got picked up for an arcade release instead in 2009 by Taito. The game ran on the Taito Type X arcade hardware and it featured some aspects that was originally planned for the PC version, such as introducing new characters Louis Leondyke, Symphony Porlatt, Conon Mildiazzhe Krakow, and Lyla Arctauras into Episode 1's storyline, along with some changes made to the core gameplay. Being an arcade game, it also lacks much of the features the original PC game had, namely the fully-voiced Story Mode. The game later made it's way into the NESiCAxLive arcade service in Japan in 2012, which also brought back Fabric Tinydream into the game's roster of magical girls. At the time Trouble Witches AC was being produced, Studio SiestA were also in production of a self-made English release of the first game as The Tomboyish Witches ~With Amalgam's Cutie Girls~, but like the originally planned AC re-release for PC, it was also scrapped.
Trouble Witches NEO! was the game's first-time venture into the mainstream market. Published by SNK Playmore and released world-wide for the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade on April 27th, 2011. It is essentially an enhanced remake of Trouble Witches AC while featuring the return of the original game's Story Mode, a Boss Rush and Score Attack mode, introducing two more characters into Episode 1 (one of which is DLC), co-op multiplayer, updated visuals for widescreen presentation, new character artwork, online leaderboards with sharable replays, Achievements, and the original arcade version of Trouble Witches AC as an added bonus. The two new witches introduced that are Sakurako Kujo, an otaku astrologist who wants to become a witch like in her favorite magical girl anime shows; and Luca Yurievna Vinakol, a devil princess with Lightning Bruiser-like qualities who's 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 its English localization is something this side of Castle Shikigami II and Chaos Wars, with a heavily abridged story from its original PC counterpart, lots of name changes for the characters (for better or worse). 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. Unfortunately, the game and its DLCs were delisted from the Xbox Live marketplace in mid-late 2015.
Another re-release, Trouble Witches Origin, was released on November 21, 2016 through Steam. This version based around the original Trouble Witches with some small changes added for this version, while incorporating mechanics from NEO! and two new spell cards, with a new character by the name of Fuminoimiki Kozakura, who wears similar clothing to Sakurako Kujo. Origin also brings back Sies Fabric Tinydream as a playable character since the original PC and NESiCAxLive versions of Trouble Witches. Also guest stars the titular Cotton from the Fantastic Night Dreams Cotton series, and the return of the AC/NEO! cast (Louis, Symphony, Conan, Lyla) as DLC. 2 new additional (DLC) characters (Yoko Redster and Pero Pero) will be added in an early December 2019 update.
A sequel titled Trouble Witches Episode 2 ~With Decendents of Ancient Dragon the Souless~ was in the works, and from what was shown on circle's website, the game will be set in a different country with four new witches. The game however seems to be heading into Vapor Ware territory as nothing as been mentioned from Studio SiestA outside of a small screenshot of the game presumably running on Xbox 360 hardware and the developer's website no longer list the game among their other works.
This series now has a Character Sheet, so all characterized tropes should go there.
This series features trope examples of:
- 1-Up: They can be bought through the Pumpkin Girls shop occasionally at certain points of the game.
- 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 turned 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 with how they show emotions during cutscenes.
- Artifact of Doom and Sealed Evil in a Can: The Ring of the Draupnir, which possesses anyone holding a piece of the ring with the Draupnir's influence. Assembling all pieces of the ring frees him from his imprisonment.
- Attack Animal: The familiars save for Conon's father (who was turned into an eyeball monster).
- Barrier Warrior: Every single playable witch in game is one, by summoning their Magic Barriers to slow down bullets and turn them into gold.
- Belly Dancer: Lyla wears this costume, fitting her role as the princess of a desert kingdom.
- Boss Subtitles: Before each battle with the stage's main boss, the boss' name and subtitle appears on screen.
- Bowdlerize: In the original PC (plus steam version) and arcade versions of Trouble Witches, the players can poke the Pumpkin Girls' pumpkin, ears, and even their chest. Poking the Pumpkin Girls' chest was cut from Troubles Witches NEO!, which was a good move on their part since any implications of inappropriately touching a 10-year-old girl (even if it's Played for Laughs) would have meant jail time for the developers in these times.
- Bullet Hell: You shoot a lot, and your enemies tends to do more.
- Cute Witch: The younger witches.
- Dub Name Change and Spell My Name with an "S": Both are all over the place in the English localization of Trouble Witches NEO!. Same with Trouble Witches Origin.
- Engrish: Trouble Witches NEO! is full of it, especially Sakurako.
- Every 10,000 Points: You gain extra lives for scoring points.
- Excited Show Title!: The remake, Trouble Witches NEO!.
- Familiar: Just about every main character has one, and some of them relatives to the heroine's family.
- Funny Animals: Some of the familiars are.
- Final Boss, New Dimension: The final battle with the Draupnir.
- Flying Broomstick: This also includes a giant key, magical trident, a living pillow, etc.
- Guest Fighter: Cotton and her fairy side-kick Silk from the Fantastic Night Dreams Cotton series joins in the cute witches of Trouble Witches Origin as a DLC character.
- Harder Than Hard: The unlockable Mind-Blowing in NEO! difficulty, where bullets are faster and more numerous.
- Hitbox Dissonance: The star that appears around the center of your characters' body while shooting or using your barrier is their hit-box.
- Hot Witch: The older witches.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: In Trouble Witches NEO!, the difficulty levels (from easiest to hardest) are No Problem, Heart-Pounding, High-Anxiety, and Mind Blowing.
- Improbably Female Cast: Especially in Trouble Witches NEO!.
- Instant Runes: The Magic Barriers, runes seen before a boss battle, and with certain attacks from Amalgam.
- Lucky Charms Title: The series as "Trouble☆Witches".
- 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 Amalgam. The rest summon a monster.
- Mana Meter: The MP meter. 10 MP is roughly equals to 1 sec for your character's barrier.
- More Dakka: You shoot a lot, and your enemies shoot a lot too.
- Ms. Fanservice: Many of the older witches are, but special mention goes to Amalgam for being a mom with SIX kids.
- Nintendo Hard:
- 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.
- The unlockable fourth difficulty takes it even further.
- Non-Human Sidekick: The familiars that tag along with many of the characters are usually some form of an animal or magical creature.
- One-Hit Point Wonder: You. One hit and you can kiss one of your lives and a chunk of your Star Coins good-bye.
- Scoring Points: You shoot enemies down for points, but you also get points from picking up gold dropped by enemies or bullets converted by your magic barrier. By using a Magic Card, defeated enemies drop Star Coins worth lots of points and their value increases as you gain more.
- "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 some time for him 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.
- Super Title 64 Advance: The arcade game, as Trouble Witches AC.
- Turns Red: Guaranteed to happen in a boss fight.
- Up to Eleven: Played with in Trouble Witches NEO's! "MAX Star Coins to MAX Power" Achievement. It's even worth 11 Gamerscore points to boot.
- Updated Re-release: Origin is one to the original Trouble Witches, and AC could have been one up until it was picked up for an arcade release instead. However, it does add some features the latter, a few new spell cards, and introduces another new character in the roster, plus Cotton and the rest of the AC/NEO! cast (sans Sakurako and Luca) as DLC. 2 new (DLC) characters will also be added in a later early December 2019 update.
- Video-Game Lives: You start with 3 by default although you can change that in the options menu.
- Video Game 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.
- Video Game Settings