The Witcher: Monster Slayer hands-on Q&A

Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-07-20 11:05 (JST)
Translated by. Nick Mosier

CD Projekt studio Spokka is set to release their mobile AR RPG The Witcher: Monster Slayer on July 21 as a free-to-play title on iOS and Android.

The Witcher: Monster Slayer takes place in the same world as The Witcher series with game systems that make use of AR and location tracking. Players walk around in the real world running into monsters and slaying them through their smartphone screen.

Gameplay footage was released in a trailer for the game, but there may be people out there that don’t quite get how it all works. We got a chance to go hands-on with the game before its release and put together a Q&A to answer potential questions and explain what the game is all about.

Q: What kind of game is it?
A: It’s an AR (Augmented Reality) RPG that uses location information.

The Witcher: Monster Slayer is an AR RPG that makes use of the player’s location. The player takes on the role of a new witcher and walks around fighting monsters that appear on the map. In addition to being able to freely fight monster that appear at random, there are also NPCs that give out quests to slay monsters. Similar games would include titles like Pokémon Go and Dragon Quest Walk.

Q: Does the game have a gacha system?
A: There is no gacha system. Gold coins (in-game currency) and item packs are available through in-app purchases.

The game has in-app purchases for its in-game currency, gold coins, and for item packs. Gold coins can be used to purchase items like swords and armor, as well as consumable items in battle like oils and bombs. There are also boosters available that can do things like increase experience points received or widen the area you can search for enemies. Gold coins can also be earned by completing daily quests.

Q: What kind of daily quests are there?
A: One daily quest is added a day and they have objectives like craft a bomb or defeat a monster that appears at night.

Up to three daily quests can be held at a time and upon completion players can receive gold coins and stamps. One stamp can be collected a day and players get a reward for collecting seven of them. Gold coins are hard to come by in the game so if you want to progress quickly, you need to be diligent about completing daily quests.

Q: How do quests play out?
A: After receiving a quest, a location is marked on the map. Search that area and fight monsters.

The main story of the game is that you’re a witcher that has just received their training and have set out on a monster fighting adventure. Quests will let players enjoy rescuing NPC characters and tracking monsters like the main titles in the series.

When a quest is accepted, an orange area will appear on the map, with an event occurring when you actually walk into that area. The game lets you walk around the real world as a witcher gaining experience battling and talking with other characters. In our early hands-on experience, far away quests seemed to be set around half a mile away. But if quests are too far away, you can change the location so it seems like it would be easy to play while commuting to work or shopping.

There are also monsters that only appear near certain locations, at specific times, or during certain weather conditions. Some might only spawn at night or in rainy weather and some might only show up near water. Part of the fun might be going to places you’ve never been before to reach your target.

Q: What are battles like?
A: Tap the symbol on the map > Check the enemy information > Start the battle…

First, a monster icon will appear on the map that is based on your location. Touch the icon, select what equipment and items you want to use, then start the battle. You can touch icons that are within around 100 feet of your current location. When you first touch the monster icon, information like its strengths and weaknesses will be displayed so you can customize your equipment accordingly.

An enemy will be ranked as either easy, medium, or hard depending on its strength compared to your current level. In my experience, it’s possible to defeat easy level enemies by mindlessly flicking, even without using consumables. For medium enemies, it’s tough to win without equipping the right gear and items for that enemy. For hard enemies, I think it’s best to just keep in mind that they’re out of your range.

In battle, players can attack with their sword, use a bomb once per battle, and use magic signs from the series like the Igni and Aard Sign. It’s important to use these to hit your opponent’s weaknesses.

Swords are divided into steel and silver swords. At the start, players only have steel swords so if you want to use silver swords, you’ll need to either spend your gold coins or buy an item pack. Sword attacks are done with a flick motion with attacks being bigger or smaller based on how you flick.

As you use these attacks, the Critical Meter above your opponent’s HP bar will fill up. When it fills up, a round icon will come across the screen. If you tap as this icon lines up with the circle on the screen, you’ll unleash a critical attack. The meter will decrease when you take enemy attacks though, but you can reduce this by doing a long hold on the screen to guard.

Bombs are an item that deal kinetic energy damage to your opponent and can be made from various ingredients or bought with gold coins. Depending on the bomb, it will also deal other types of damage such as fire and steel, so picking a bomb that attacks your opponent’s weakness will make fighting monsters quite a bit easier. Bombs can only be used once per battle, but while you’re in the early part of the game, it’s probably best to not give it much thought and use the appropriate bomb right when you encounter a monster.

Signs such as Igni and Aard are used by actually drawing the signs on the screen. The fire dealing Igni and damage reducing Aard will be familiar to those who have played games in the mainline series before. At first, you’ll only know Igni, with the others being unlocked by using skill points you obtain through defeating monsters and filling the bestiary.

Winning battles will net players with not just experience points, but also ingredients. These ingredients can then be crafted into items. The gameplay loop basically boils down to defeat monsters, use the ingredients you receive to craft items, use those items to defeat more monsters.

Q: Are there ways to develop your character?
A: In addition to leveling up by defeating monsters, various skills can be obtained by distributing skill points.

Your character will level up through the experience points you receive from fighting monsters. You also get bonus experience from things like getting a critical hit or using items appropriately. There’s also a bestiary which you get skill points for filling up as you defeat more monsters. Using these skill points will unlock your various witcher abilities. Skill points are placed on a skill tree that is divided into Combat, Alchemy, and Signs. Combat will make your close range attacks deal more damage, Alchemy will make your items do more damage and have additional effects, and Signs will boost the strength of your signs and unlock new ones.

To wrap up, hopefully we were able to answer any questions you had about The Witcher: Monster Slayer with this Q&A based on our time with the game before the launch. Don’t forget to stock up on oils, bombs, and a water bottle when you go out on the hunt for some monsters. The Witcher: Monster Slayer launches on iOS and Android on July 21.