Everyone loves a good magical fantasy! Throwing players into the role of witches or wizards or even just occupying a spellbinding world. And there’s nothing more magical than enjoying those worlds, knowing that they weren’t conjured under the influence of cruelty, transphobia, antisemitism, or any form of inhuman bigotry.
So, without further ado, here’s our list of 10 awesome witchy and wizarding games that didn’t start their life as the idea of a famously problematic creator!
The slice-of-life genre somehow got even cosier after the release of Melbourne-developed Wylde Flowers. Taking clear inspiration from farming/life simulation games such as Stardew Valley—Wylde Flowers will have players explore a small seaside town, befriend the inhabitants, tend to their patch of farmland, and engage in the occult through potion-brewing, spell-casting, and general witchcraft. It’s actually a really fantastic premise, melding together the world of the mundane with the world of the fantastic.
Beyond its engaging sorcery-laden hook, what makes Wylde Flowers really stand out in this genre is its absolute dedication to storytelling. Without a doubt in our mind, Wylde Flowers showcases the most narrative prowess of any game that has attempted to fit within the farming/life sim genre. With so much dialogue and heartening interactions, it’s no surprise that Wylde Flowers has become recognised as a huge release, winning Excellence in Narrative and Excellence in Mobile Games at the Australian Game Developer Awards last year as well as taking home the 2022 Apple Arcade Game of the Year.
While there are a lot of great games on this list that are clear signs of witchery, Potion Permit isn’t necessarily a witch/wizard game, however, it does have you create potions. And that’s all that matters, right? Potion Permit is similar to games like Stardew Valley and My Time At Portia. You’re a newcomer to town and you meet the townsfolk and you eventually fall in love with one of them. The difference here is that you’re an alchemist who is tasked to look after the town.
While playing, you gather ingredients so you can make potions/medicine to cure the townsfolk who come into your clinic. There’s a fun mini-game where you put the ingredients in a cauldron as you begin the brewing process. You can sell some of these off, or give them to townsfolk who need them for quests! Potion Permit is great for players who might not want a full-on witchy experience but enjoy the magic of creating potions from nothing.
Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard
There’s a new wizard in town, but someone isn’t too pleased about their arrival. A village of anthropomorphic animals tries to throw a welcoming party for its latest magical resident, though things are cast awry when the party’s decorations are mysteriously trashed overnight. It’s up to everybody’s favourite investigator, the famous Lobster Cop… er, I mean Frog Detective, to discover the culprit!
The Frog Detective titles are charming, absurd, and utterly delightful. The second entry in this trilogy by Naarm/Melbourne-based legend Grace Bruxner features a little dive into the occult, with the town sporting a light Halloween aesthetic (and some excellent witchy hats). While the titular Frog Detective doesn’t perform any magic themselves, there’s plenty of mystical whimsy to be found within this short and sweet narrative adventure.
While not yet released, this gorgeous dungeon crawler/base-builder boasts an absolutely stunning storybook art style and looks like it’s shaping up to be a beautifully mystical homage to something like Stardew Valley. As a witch who’s just inherited a cottage in a decrepit forest, you’re tasked with restoring the groves to their magical glory. You’ll grow and harvest enchanted plant creatures, master elemental spells, and seek out spirits to populate your cottage in this rogue-lite adventure.
Grimoire Groves’ Switzerland-based developers Stardust create games in line with their core values: meaningful entertainment, diversity and inclusivity. Their mandate is to explore gender, discrimination, prejudice, and diversity through their work, and to encourage artists from historically marginalised communities to enter the gaming space. Worth a cheeky wishlist on Steam, I’d say.
Little Witch in the Woods
Out now in Early Access (with the full version slated for release this year), Little Witch in the Woods is a wonderfully cosy RPG. Playing as Ellie, an apprentice witch, you explore the daily life of a magic user in training, completing quests for the residents of your forest and collecting bugs and magical artefacts. You’ll use what you’ve gathered to craft potions that help you solve puzzles throughout the world, all with an adorable pixel-art aesthetic. The current build is available on Steam and also through Xbox Game Pass’ Game Preview program.
Ikenfell is perfect if you’re in the mood for an RPG fix! The adventure follows a party of students at a magical school in classic 8-bit fashion. What awaits is an exciting homage to RPGs of yesteryear, with wonderful characters, tactical turn-based combat, and mystical dungeons to explore. Each chapter brings about unlocking new wings of the school, discovering more and more secrets at every turn.
If whimsy and inclusivity is your speed, look no further than this indie gem here, filled with diverse characters (including some that are trans!) and plenty of gorgeous environments.
Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator
Potion Craft is a real gem if you’re looking for a game that’s the right mix of puzzle and narrative. In this alchemist simulator, you brew and mix all manner of cures, poisons, and magical draughts to sell to customers that might help or hinder their lives! The game is beautifully zen, with a focus on collecting ingredients for your potions from the garden behind the shop, crushing them with a mortar and pestle, and then stirring your concoction. Different ingredients affect what kind of potion you create and there are so many types to discover! The game also has a wonderful medieval painted art style that will keep you enthralled for hours of potion-making. The game’s art style is also delightfully on brand, like a book from the middle ages come to life!
You also meet a wide array of customers who come to your door each morning requesting specific brews, and it is your job to craft them yourself whether you already have the recipe or not. So if you love the idea of stirring a cauldron, and living out your best life as a potion maker, then Potion Craft is the perfect choice for you!
A lot has been said about the incredible Wildermyth since it released, but it’s worth spotlighting in any list considering the magical themes in this procedurally-generated tactical RPG. The game is designed to help you tell your wildest stories, and like the best tabletop adventures, you will guide a variety of characters through wondrous lands and intriguing quests.
The difference that makes Wildermyth stand out as one of the most interesting and complex RPGs in recent memory is that as you go on these quests, your characters will age and eventually pass away; but they’ll live full lives, fall in love, and potentially have children along the way. Those children keep the family legacy alive through ongoing quests, ensuring that your original characters are never forgotten. Chuck in a super compelling turn-based tactics combat system and some other neat twists where your party may turn into werewolves, stone creatures, and more, and you have a game that is full of magic while also being pure magic to actually play.
Tiny Witch is a magic game of a different kind, where you play as a witch left in charge of a magic wizard store, and a town full of dungeon masters. You’ll be living out your witchiest shopkeeper fantasy, as you must create resources by mixing them in the pounder or boiling them in the cauldron, manufacture some minions by mixing magical resources on your alchemy table, and then deliver the requested minions to the needy customers. It’s a cute Overcooked spin with a magical twist, it looks to be a cozy and cute game from a Brazilian dev team of just four people, releasing soon (with a demo available on Steam now).
If that trailer from the Wholesome Direct didn’t give it away, Kitori Academy is an adorable game coming soon that allows you to live the adventures of a wizard apprentice with a fluffy spirit companion. In the game, you’ll attend classes to train your magical skills while freeing the world from a curse that threatens innocent creatures. All in a day’s work for a wizard, right?
Not only will you live out your wizard school dreams, but you’ll explore the surroundings outside the academy with bug catching, fishing, foraging, and cooking. Oh, and the best part? You can CUSTOMISE YOUR CAT, and bond with them by giving them pats, treats, and playing games with them! Purrfect, right?