Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time is a game with a delicate balance act in place. A good portion is dedicated to having Akko wander around Luna Nova. She interacts with classmates, learns about seven wonders and takes on quests in a way that feels like a visual novel. But then, when she heads into the Horologium Chamber, her party is transported to dungeons with the same sort of complexity as the ones found in Exist Archive, Odin Sphere or Valkyrie Profile. People end up with a game that offers the same kind of back and forth as Persona, where each day entails going between beat’em up dungeon crawls and talking with people at school.
Each evening in Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time, time will rewind. When Akko wakes up, she is able to explore the school and learn more about the seven wonders of Luna Nova. This can mean eavesdropping on fellow students, talking to people she knows and taking on major quests related to the school’s seven wonders or minor ones that will make the people around Akko happier. While we are not going to see relationships rise and fall as a result of these interactions, we will get to know her classmates better. We get the satisfaction of collecting rewards that may grant keys to access new dungeons, items or information about the cast. It helps build a foundation and familiarity. Maybe she needs to use magic to fix a thing or participate in a fetch quest that entails getting items from certain people.
Finding tips about the major dungeons involve a bit more investment. Let’s use the Cursed Doll as an example. This is the first wonder I began investigating. When Akko is in the cafeteria during the day, she can overhear Hilda talking about this unusual toy with some friends. She can then ask for more details about it. This leads to Akko learning it was in the courtyard and that people who supposedly see it dancing fall asleep for three days. When she gets to the courtyard, Amanda is there. That’s when Akko finds out it appears at night. I then had to kill time until night fell, running other errands or dungeon crawling with keys I had already acquired to get loot and levels. Once night arrived, the story continued, let me find out the truth behind this mystery and led to a major dungeon.
The dungeons themselves require keys of varying sizes to get access to new places. These consist of 49 small ones, with briefer adventures that do not advance the story, and seven large ones that can be more complex. You take three of the witches with you, one as your lead character and two other as supports, and find your way through to the end of each one. These are multi-room affairs with enemies, traps and areas where you will have to occasionally consult the mini map in the upper left corner to see where exactly you can go next. Surviving means beating all enemies in each area, a standard for all beat’em ups, while also finding your way to a designated boss room.
Since Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time is a game where levels and loot matters, returning to these areas while killing time until time-specific events happen is as important as spending time with other people. You will probably want to keep character levels even. Since there are seven party members and you can only have three with you at a time, that means rotating them. Each one’s stats can be improved after they level up, allowing you to build them into different roles. Magic points are doled out after leveling up and new spells can be unlocked in the Horoscope constellation space, giving new skills for characters to equip. Even equipment is similar to Dragon’s Crown, with each item having an F to S rank dictating strength and level requirements. Which means you might feel compelled to get the best items possible for the witches. You might even find items needed for quests.
The days in Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time can be quite packed. There is always something for Akko to do. But when it comes to people playing it, the best course of action is to enjoy a healthy mix of activities. The campaign quests will involve investigations taking place at specific times. While waiting for those moments to come up, revisit older dungeons to get characters leveled up, find better equipment for them or collect loot. If you feel like your party is in a good place, then check around for one of the many side-quests to immerse yourself in Luna Nova life. There is a lot to do, with plenty of time to enjoy it all.
Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time is available for the PlayStation 4 and PC.