Ashina The Red Witch – PS5 Review

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The first game I played by solo indie dev Stranga Games was My Big Sister on PSVita. I loved its story, characters, and its replayability for alternate endings. Ashina The Red Witch is a canon prequel to that game and I’ve been eagerly awaiting its launch on PlayStation platforms.

Ashina The Red Witch – No Life In The Afterlife

Originally released on PC in June 2022, the console port arrives on August 25th, 2023 with the help of publisher Ratalaika Games. It will be available to play on PS5, PS4, Xbox and Switch.


Players take on the role of Ashina who must journey into the afterlife to search for her sister Tena, and find a way back home. Along this journey, you meet a lot of characters and begin to piece together what has brought you to this mysterious realm.

Beautiful pixel art

Exploring the world, taking on fetch quests, and obtaining items to progress your mission to return home with your sister is the main loop of the game. There’s plenty of mystery and intrigue with some quite emotional beats along the way. It’s a fairly chilled experience even though the story does have some dark and grim topics and themes.

The story can be rushed through or for those that like to explore, there are extra little side quests that serve not only to flesh out the story but also aid in achieving the different endings. So regardless of your playstyle, there’s a route through the afterlife for all.

Graphics & Audio

The retro 2D pixel art is excellently crafted, brilliantly depicting the world and characters. The animation work too is really well implemented. It’s a clear step up from the previous work I played from the New Zealand based developer. The lighting on show particularly enhances the experience.

moody lighting

Further adding to the vibe is an excellent score of music that does a great job of setting the mood. I did however find a couple of points throughout where there is no audio a bit weird. The lack of score in these parts seems to be too long and it would be nice to have some sound to fade in to fill the void as you read through dialogue. A very minor gripe but one that I feel would benefit the experience.

Controls are simple with the option of directional buttons or left thumbstick for movement. If I could make one change to the control scheme it would be to move the sprint button from L1 to one of the triggers, L2 or R2. This would allow for a more comfortable, natural hold on the controller. One little quirk was it was too easy to reactivate dialogue accidentally. Something I don’t recall from the previous games.


Taking just a couple of hours to complete, Ashina The Red Witch offers players a reason to complete additional playthroughs with 4 possible endings to achieve. Once you know what you are doing it is possible to kind of speedrun the game with a complete start to finish in 1.5hrs being quite achievable.

lots to uncover

Those after the platinum trophy will need to get the 44trophies, many of which are missable. Thankfully manual saves and the short duration of the game make this very attainable for trophy hunters. At its low price point, it’s not going to break the bank.

Final Thoughts

While it’s short, Ashina The Red Witch has bags of story, well-developed characters, beautiful pixel art, and some great tunes on its soundtrack.

As the dots connect and the pennies drop there’s a rewarding payoff for those who have played previous Stranga Games titles. This is a must-play for any fans of My Big Sister and Red Bow.

This one returns from the afterlife with the Thumb Culture Gold Award.

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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