Thinking about Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t initially get into Bayonetta when it first came out back in 2009. I had long been enamoured with the high-octane, higher-style hack n’ slash games after falling in love with Devil May Cry, and I’m pretty sure SEGA even released a demo for it—which, believe me, back in those days was a RARITY—that I’m pretty sure I downloaded, but just never got around to playing it.
Then it was again in 2014 that Nintendo and SEGA announced a sequel to Bayonetta exclusive to the Wii U that would come packaged with the original—a perfect time to finally experience this classic alongside a fresh return of the character. They even released a demo that I actually played this time, but due to financial limitations, I never got around to actually purchasing it. It wasn’t until Bayonetta 1 & 2 was released on the Nintendo Switch that I finally experienced them in full.
It’s strange to me that a series I missed out on for so long would so quickly become one that I absolutely adored—perhaps absence made the heart grow fonder? But my love for the series comes with the caveat that I must also be critical towards it, as how can one truly love something if one cannot question some of its decisions? To wit, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost demon. Hot off the heels of the long-awaited third installment, the Bayonetta series has dipped its toe—or rather its hair—into the treacherous waters of the spin-off.
I was initially skeptical about Bayonetta Origins when I first saw it because it immediately reminded me of another spin-off based on a beloved hack n’ slash series Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes. It seemed odd that you would take a series known for being fast and flashy and remove those elements from them. However, with much of the Bayonetta lore being based in magic, it certainly provided a better basis for something a bit more simple and straightforward like this.
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is a slower, more focused kind of game. If you’ve been following any of the recent Nintendo Directs, you’ll know that this game centers on a young Cereza as she searches through the mysterious Avalon Forest in search of a power that can help her save her mom. However, being that Cereza is inexperienced in her magic, she is ill-prepared for such an adventure and must rely on the help of a demon that becomes trapped in her doll, who she names Cheshire.
It’s an interesting adaptation that, unlike the aforementioned Travis Strikes Back, feels like a suitable direction for the franchise. Although I can’t help but feel like it’s a bit at odds with Bayonetta’s signature design since it’s certainly a lot more slowly-paced than the games the witch is known for. As they may remember from the multiple Nintendo Directs, players must control both Cereza and Cheshire for mild traversal puzzle-solving and combating the forest’s magical enemies.
“Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is genuinely one of the most beautiful games on Switch right now.”
While, by the nature of its design, it’s not nearly as deep or exciting as its series predecessors, for the purposes of this preview, I decided to stick to the early chapters of the game, so there may still be time for things to ramp up.
However, I will say that, much like its series predecessor, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon has an absolute abundance of style—albeit not the popstar glamour of her adult counterpart. The visual aesthetic on display is incredibly beautiful, creating a living storybook aesthetic with a colour palette that makes the whole game feel dreamlike and whimsical.
Furthermore, the use of linework and perspective causes certain effects and environmental details to stand out in such a way that every level almost appears like a pop-up book. Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is genuinely one of the most beautiful games on Switch right now.
It’s genuinely heartwarming to see the Bayonetta series getting the love it so rightly deserves. After waiting what felt like an eternity for the third installment in the franchise—amidst an avalanche of controversy surrounding the main character’s voice actor—Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is proving that the series has a lot of flexibility outside of its action genre. If the name is any indication, there may be more potential for more Origins to be discovered.