Briley Witch Chronicles
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|Briley Witch Chronicles|
|Voting||7.90 points, 10 votes|
|Developer||Sarah Jane Avory (also story, graphics & sound),|
Extra graphics: Paolo Rathjen
|Musician||Sarah Jane Avory|
|Genre||Adventure, RPG 2D (Role Play)|
|Gamemode||Single player |
|Information||Homebrew, digital published as EasyFlash-.crt-Image; different versions; current: v1.0.8 from 19.01.2022|
Description[edit | edit source]
Briley Witch Chronicles is a JRPG-style adventure game (abbreviation for: Japanese-inspired Role Playing Game). It was released in 2021 by homebrew programmer Sarah Jane Avory. The game's plot is based on her book series of the same name. You play the girl Briley Forester, who has been whisked away to a fantasy world by a spell. She is accompanied by her cat Smokey, who accompanies Briley through the world as an NPC.
Story[edit | edit source]
During a meditation at home, the main character Briley Forester is seized by a spell that whisks her away to Maepole, a small town in another world. Together with her, her cat Smokey is flung into this world. Briley's task is to find her way around this world, solve quests and find a way back home.
Background[edit | edit source]
The game's story is based on a series of novels by British programmer Sarah Jane Avory. She produced the extensive game on her own and also composed the music in the game and designed much of the graphics. Additional graphics, such as the character portraits, were designed by Paolo Rathjen. There are to be sequels to Briley Witch Chronicles. Initially, a physical release on Protovision was also planned for the first part. However, the developer put these plans on hold for the time being..
Design[edit | edit source]
Graphics[edit | edit source]
The game features cute, well-done graphics inspired by classic JRPG adventures like Zelda. Like world is explored in a 2D world from a bird's eye view. Each NPC you interact with has their own little portrait, which adds depth to the characters in the world. The world also has a day and night mode. At the end of a quest day, it gets dark in the world and time for Briley to go to bed. In the morning, she wakes up freshly refreshed - with full hit and magic points - in a brightly lit world.
Sound[edit | edit source]
The very successful music was composed by programmer Sarah Jane Avory and underlines the atmosphere of the game very well. The music changes and underlines the scenes. For example, a more threatening melody is played during battles than during peaceful interaction with other NPCs.
Hints[edit | edit source]
The game has a very advanced in-game help system. From time to time, the developer reports via the text field and gives small hints about the game and shows where certain functions can be found. The "Remind" function can be used to call up information about the current quest. Smokey then tells us where we have to go and what we have to do. The many signs that point not only to the current location, but also to other buildings or places in the immediate vicinity, also help with orientation in the world.
Controls[edit | edit source]
The game can be controlled either with the joystick in port 2 or the keyboard. For the keyboard controls there are two different presets, which can be switched between with.
Moving[edit | edit source]
The game also supports C64GS compatible joysticks, such as the Cheetah Annihilator supplied with the Game System, which has two independently assignable fire buttons. In Briley Witch Chronicles, the second fire button is assigned with the "Back" function.
|Key (Setting 1)||Direction / Action||! Key (Setting 1)||Direction / Action|
|Switch between the two keyboard settings||Switch between the two keyboard settings|
|Go North / Navigate up in menu||Go North / Navigate up in menu|
|Go South / Navigate down in menu||Go South / Navigate down in menu|
|Go West / Navigate left in menus||Go West / Navigate left in menus|
|Go East / Navigate right in menus||Go East / Navigate right in menus|
Difficulty level[edit | edit source]
At the beginning of the game, you select the difficulty level. In normal mode, the fights are more challenging. In "easy" mode, enemies have fewer hit points and are easier to defeat. This mode takes the focus off the fights and makes it easier to follow the action. It is also possible to change the difficulty level at any time in the game (for example, if you cannot progress at a certain point because the fights are too difficult).
Combat system[edit | edit source]
Briley Witch Chronicles has a turn-based combat system, typical for classic JRPG. If Briley's group is surprised by enemies, the initiative lies with them and it is not possible to flee within the first round. During fights, the player zooms out of the world into a close-up view. Actions are selected by icons in the upper part. At the bottom of the screen are the status displays of one's party. If a fight is too difficult in normal mode, it is possible to set the difficulty level to easy within the game. It is not possible to save during a fight.
Characters in the game[edit | edit source]
The game allows interaction with various NPCs, each represented by a small portrait. Some of them can join Briley's group during the course of the game.
|Portrait||Name & Description|
|Briley is the main character and heroine of the game. She is stranded in a magical world and is looking for the way back home.|
|Smokey is a cat and Briley's loyal companion. He assists her in fights with his claws and reminds you what to do and where via the Remind function in the menu. Smokey can talk. He always could. Only before the two of them came to Maepole, Briley just didn't listen properly.|
|Sarah is not called Sarah at all in the game, just Hint. However, we are sure that the faithful hint-giver in the game is none other than the inventor of this world.|
|Clarissa is the good soul of the Baxter Bakery. She is our first quest giver and gets us our first experience points and makes sure we get to know the environment.|
|Sebastian is training to be a blacksmith. He has his eye on Briley. He is the first NPC to join Briley and Smokey's group for short missions. Sebastian is strong and has a good constitution and many hit points.|
Tips[edit | edit source]
- Information about the current quest can be called up via the "Remind" function. Smokey then tells us where we have to go and what we have to do.
- The many signs that point not only to the current location, but also to other buildings or places in the vicinity, help with orientation in the world.
Solution[edit | edit source]
There is no known walkthrough yet! Below is an overview of the first steps in the village of Maepole.
Map[edit | edit source]
Legend[edit | edit source]
- The Baxter's House
- The orchard
- The old house (incl. beehive & well)
- The riverbank (fill up water bottles)
- Branwen's house and herb garden
- The old enchanted forest and the summoning glade
- The Great Hall
- Chandler's house
- The eastern end of Maepole
- Calibor's House & forge
Step by Step[edit | edit source]
Prologue[edit | edit source]
Meditate in Briley's house
- Find matches and a candle in the house (first floor).
- Answer the ringing telephone
- Feed Smokey some tuna. Now he's following us.
- Place the candle on the shrine in the living room (Item, Use).
- Meditate in front of the shrine
Afterwards, a spell captures Briley, teleporting her and her faithful cat Smokey to another world
Day 1[edit | edit source]
Bread for Branwen
- Talking to Clarissa
- Go to Branwen's house in the southeast of the bakery
- (After talking to the cat) Go into the house and talk to Branwen
We learn that Briley may be a witch herself
Hunting for rats in the old house
- The old house is to the west of Baxter's house
- Go inside and fight the rats
- Go south from Baxter's house to the river
- Fill up the water bucket on the riverbank
- Return to Clarisse
On the way back, we learn more about Sebastian and the disease running rampant in the town in a cutscene
Day 2[edit | edit source]
Learn more about the disease and heal the residents
- Talking to the residents of Meapole (in the area around Baster's house).
- Find Garsile at the magicians' training ground and talk to him.
- After the cutscene brew a peppermint tea for Lia (4x mint, 1x water, 1x honey are needed)
- Brew a peppermint tea for Lynett two houses away.
- If you run out of peppermint, you can find supplies in the forest of Meapole (watch out for fights!)
- Honey can be found at the beehive by the old house (Kaampf!)
- Martha in the Baxters' neighbourhood brew a peppermint tea
We learn that the residents who drink ale don't get sick and the problem must be related to the river water. Sebastian briefly joins our group, As a reward we receive a magic brush from Clarissa.
Day 3[edit | edit source]
Debate with Branwen
- Go to Branwen's house (southeast of Baxter's house).
- Talk to Branwen
We change class to a witch (Witch) and receive a spell book. On our return we receive another magic pendant (Magic Pendant) from Clarissa.
A Delivery for the Blacksmith
- Go to the blacksmith (south of the old house).
- Talk to Calibor the blacksmith
- Return together with Sebastian from the summoning altar in the forest to Baxter's house (Fight!)
- Talk to Clarissa
- After receiving the spell, talk to Clarissa again to receive a small seax (knife).
We receive a pot and the order to heal his injured leg. Sebastian learns that Briley is a witch. We receive a new spell and a small seax.
A Healing Potion for Calibor'
- Pay a visit to Branwen
- Talk to Branwen to get the missing ingredients such as the plantains
- Walk back to the summoning altar in the forest
- Put the required ingredients into the pot
- Add a drop of blood with the seax
- Fight your way back towards Baxter's house
- Talk to Clarissa
Just before we leave the forest, we meet Melody Whitehead. She accuses us of witchcraft and must have seen the beam of light that was created during the potion's incantation.
Day 4[edit | edit source]
Free Calibor from his curse
- Go to Calibor's house
- Talk to Calibor
- Give Calibor the healing potion (RC Potion)
The healing potion frees Calibor from his curse and he agrees to forge us a witch's cauldron.
The molten pot
- Return to the summoning place in the forest
- There Melody & Balden await us and accuse us of witchcraft
- A folkmood led by Lord Dudic is convened
- Clarissa, Sebastian and Calibor speak in our favour of Briley
- After the court take the molten pot
The village now knows Briley is a good witch. The molten pot could become the basis for an amulet.
Day 5[edit | edit source]
Get meditation candles
- Go to Chandler's
- Chandler agrees and make meditation candles
- Lia makes us a peppermint tea
The Cat Amulet
- Go to Calibor's workshop. This is the building directly to the south of his house.
- Give Calibor the melted pot
- We'll get a cat charm
The pendant might help us get back to our world. Calibor wants to tell us more about his personal history at a later time.
Briley's Cauldron of Witches
- Return to Clarissa
- Calibor has forged us a witch's cauldron
- He'll be behind the house
- We've got a bread basket to deliver to Lynett
- Smokey's making a new shortcut free
- Back to Clarissa - the meditation candles have arrived
- Trying out the new spell on the witch's cauldron
The shortcut will allow us to reach places in Maepole from Baxter's house more quickly in the future. While preparing the potion at the cauldron, a cutscene with the Dark Spirit is triggered. We learn the new combat spells "Fire Dart", "Fireball" and "Lightning" (Lightning). Briley has the idea to build a windmill to speed up the grinding of the grain.
If you use the meditation candles, you can sleep peacefully, otherwise you have to fight your way through the nightmares in the enchanted forest like the previous night. To use the candle, it must be placed on the stool to the left of Briley's bed. Once this is done, use the bed to sleep and Briley will meditate, preventing the nightmare. Note that the candle will burn out if you do not meditate shortly after using it, so finish anything else you wish to do (such as brewing tea) before you light the candle.
Day 6[edit | edit source]
The Lost Sheep
- The first delivery leads to Olivia Fletcher (Calibor's neighbour).
- She asks us to find her lost sheep
- Find the sheep (Located in the passageway by the old house behind the beehive)
- Return to Olivia
In return we receive a wooden bow (Attack: 8) which Briley can use as a weapon. After returning to Clarissa we receive the spells "Heal" and "Restore". For both of them you don't need a witch's cauldron, but can also use them in combat or during exploration.
- Visit Lord Dudic in his house next to the Great Hall.
- He agrees to build a windmill
- The passage north from the eastern end of Maepole is open
- Watch the progress of the mill there
Messenger to the Chandlers'
- Going to the Chandlers
- Hand rye bread to Espan Chandler
- Chandler inquires if the meditation candles have helped
- Returning to Clarissa's
As we leave Chandler's house, the dark spirit appears to us again and opens up that there is a way to return if we help him.
- Talking to Clarissa, Briley explains she needs to explore the forest.
- Fight through the forest to the exit blocked by bushes to the northeast
- Looking at the bushes
- Smokey suggests that Sebastian might be able to help.
- Go to Sebastian's (blacksmith's shop at Calibor's house)
- Talk to Sebastian - he will then join the group
- Return to the forest
- Go to the north-eastern barrier
- Have Sebastian clear it with the axe
- Go deeper into the forest
Cheats[edit | edit source]
There are currently no known cheats.
Voting[edit | edit source]
|Voting of the C64-Wiki-User (10=the best vote):|
|7.90 points at 10 votes (rank 125).|
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
|Itchy.io||10||20 January 2022 - "Highlight" - 30 votes, five-star rating|
Reviews[edit | edit source]
Krautguy: "For me, Briley Witch Chronicles is the best game of 2021. The first time I played it, it turned into a session lasting several hours. The controls are taught playfully in the tutorial-like prequel, and I was very impressed by the possibilities to switch the difficulty level at any point in the game. In this way, different types of players are taken along and you can either concentrate fully on the story or focus on extensive battles. The battle system is very varied and anything but simple, especially because of the changing companions. Since games of this kind - especially Japanese-style role-playing games - are particularly rare on the C64, it stands out once again for this reason."
Zore: "A real masterpiece! I, who am not usually into JRPGs at all, but rather more classic D&D conversions, was spellbound by Briley Witch Chronicles from the start. Developer Sarah Jane Avory is not only able to draw on the full potential of her novel's characters and story, but also realises the game in a technically brilliant way. It's great that further adventures are to be created on the basis of the engine. Almost 40 years after the release of the C64, we now get the "Zelda" we never had before.
Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]
At the time of writing, the game is only available as a download with accompanying PDF manuals. A physical release was planned and may follow later.
Cover[edit | edit source]
This game is (currently) only available as a downloadable file. There is no cover available.
Bugfix[edit | edit source]
Emulator settings[edit | edit source]
The game file is saved in a plug-in module format. To run it in Vice, for example, you have to "attach" it as a cartridge. However, to save the game, one must use an attached empty floppy image in drive 8 or 9. Saving to cartridge is not possible in the emulator or an Ultimate 64, although the save process is initially shown as successful.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Briley Witch Chronicles was named the best C64 game of 2021 by Indie Retro News .
- The video game magazine Dr. Pong's Praxis für angewandten Spieltrieb on Frankfurt's city radio station radio x 91.8 fm named the game one of the best games of the year in its annual review in January 2022, along with several full-price titles for current hardware
- The voting and judging panel of the Retro Gamer Nation blog and YouTube channel chose Briley Witch Chronicles as the second best game of 2021. Fun fact: Another game by Sarah Jane Avory, the horizontal shooter game Soulforce came in first place.
- On January 19, 2022, Sarah Jane Avory announced on the developer blog that over 1000 units of the game had been sold. The game had been on sale as a download for less than three months at that point, and generated significantly more revenue than the books on which it was based.
- Developer Sarah Jane Avory likes foxes as well as cats. Presumably this is why they made it into the game as collectibles.
Accessories[edit | edit source]
Highscore[edit | edit source]
The high score is the number of experience points (EXP) earned by Briley.
- Zore - 10528 (23.01.2022)
- Niemand - 0 (tt.mm.jjjj)
- Leer - 0 (tt.mm.jjjj)
Links[edit | edit source]
- www.sarahjaneavory.wordpress.com – Website of developer
- www.itch.io – Game download by Sarah Jane Avory
- Protovision Shop /
- CSDb - Release No. 211760
- CSDb - Release No. 210907
- CSDb - Release No. 210829
Videos[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Statement by Protovioson the Briley Witch Chronicles game page, https://www.protovision.games/games/brileywitchchronicles.php?language=en
- Winner 2021 on Indie Retro News - http://www.indieretronews.com/2022/01/indie-retro-news-amiga-c64-game-of-year.html
- Magazine's Twitter post featuring the editors' favourite titles of 2021 - https://twitter.com/drpongspraxis/status/1480180381257465858
- Post by Sarah Jane Avory on ity.io devblog - https://sarahjaneavory.itch.io/briley-witch-chronicles/devlog/336854/omg-over-1000-sold-bwc-v108-released
- Tweet by Sara Jane Avory, 21 January 2021: https://twitter.com/SarahJaneAvory/status/1484444347147997186