Game Review: Bayonetta Origins : Cereza and the Lost Demon is a wonderful adventure worth taking

Ever wondered what a Bayonetta game for a younger audience would look like? Well no, I had never pondered that thought either, yet here we are in 2023 with a Bayonetta entry aimed squarely at younger audiences with no gunfire, sarcastic and filthy quips or nearly nude scenes in sight. Cereza and the Lost Demon is firmly set in the Bayonetta-verse, with a storybook style that feels incredibly familiar and incredibly accessible for fans of the Zelda franchise. By substituting guns for magic spells and incredibly cute creatures, younger fans can latch on in such a way that still allows for older fans to find it both intriguing worth investing in, expanding upon the incredibly rich universe as a result.

Cereza Goes West

The story is set in the Avalon Forest with Bayonetta not receiving that title just yet, only known as Cereza, a witch in training with her cruel and cold teacher Morgana guiding her enforcing chores and training in the art of being a witch. Cereza has her own ideas about what her life should look like and runs away into the forbidden forest in an attempt to prove she is further along in her journey than Morgana thinks she is.

You play as Cereza and her monster protector Cheshire as they travel through the forest solving puzzles, using magic to defeat enemies and platforming techniques to navigate through the many obstacles blocking your path. As you traverse through the forest, you can follow the main path, or head down one of the many different optional avenues to collect items and open new ways forward.  The story clocks in at around 15-17 hours, which is also surprisingly long for a game that’s so direct and lighter in tone.

Visually, this game looks and feels different from the Bayonetta series in all the best ways. Beautifully hand-painted storybook pages filled with lush colours jump out from the screen, while enemy variety keep things fresh. The woods are filled with different settings from soothing waterfalls, floating dimensions and stunning watermarked colours that fly off the screen. The incredible visuals surprisingly compliment the Nintendo Switch’s hardware, a stunning feat on both OLED screens and TVs alike.

Controls 101

The gameplay feels incredibly different from the previous Bayonetta games and can take a little bit of getting used to. You control Bayonetta with the left stick and the companion Cheshire to the right while using magic to restrict enemies from attacking you. Chesire also proves incredibly useful in combat with an attack that deals damage to enemies while Cereza builds up her unique magical elemental powers. Cereza and Cheshire usually need to be walking close together, or else Cheshire shrinks down to toy form and needs to be rescued. This does take a few hours to get used to and can feel a little frustrating in the heat of the moment. I found it a lot easier to manoeuvre using the Pro Controller, with the traditional Joy-Cons feeling little too fiddly in larger hands to find the right rhythm; although I’m sure with more practise it would be just fine.

Final Thoughts

The real question here is, is this game worth playing if you’re over the age of 12? Well, yes and no. For the breath-taking visuals and well told story, it does a fantastic job at deepening Bayonetta’s past and providing context to both Cereza and the powerful witch we all know she eventually becomes. There is a lot to dive into here in terms of character, as the more time you spend in this world, the more it it starts to feel like a warranted prequel. The love and care put into each part of this game is obvious, and while it’s virtually impossible to compare this to the main Bayonetta entries, still feels accessible to anyone who has enjoyed the franchise before.


Highlights: Unique art style; Intuitive control system for two characters throughout the journey
Lowlights: Campaign feels a little too long at times
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Available: Now

Review conducted with a pre-release code provided by the publisher.