I’ve been off my trashy mobile games beat for a while, but friends, I’m happy to tell you that Switchcraft, a match-3 puzzle game from Wooga, has me back at it.
To be fair to Switchcraft, it’s not really trashy. It’s quite good, actually—I’m only on Book One, Chapter 13, but I’ve been able to beat every level so far, which is an improvement over my time with Lily’s Garden. The story has me invested, even if progress is slow thanks to needing to clear pesky match-3 challenges.
Much like Lily’s Garden, I was drawn to Switchcraft because of an Instagram ad—in this case, a tease of the story, which follows Bailey, a college-age witch attending a magical academy, as she searches for her friend Lydia. I can’t remember exactly which characters were in the ad, but the designs and hint of a mystery were enough to get my attention.
And I’m here to tell you that my instincts were not wrong. The gameplay is solid (it’s a match-3 game and I don’t really like them, but it’s fine), the story is juicy, but more importantly, this game has the highest concentration of babes I’ve ever seen. It’s like whoever assigned the budget for this game invested a bit in gameplay, a bit more in story, and dumped the rest into character design, with strict instructions for the artist to make (nearly) every character as attractive as possible.
It feels wrong to rank them, because much like real life, everybody has different taste. Also, to be fair, thirteen chapters is not actually all that far, story-wise—from what I understand, your relationship to these characters changes over time, and the characterizations I like right now may not apply as much later. But do you think a little thing like “accuracy” or “completion” is going to stop me? Of course not.
(Seriously, don’t tell me if my #1 turns out to be evil.)
Here are the babeliest babes of Switchcraft.
10. Espresso Joe
I hate Espresso Joe. I hate to look at him. I hate to interact with him. He did, at one point, say that ass is “the best flavor,” so make of that what you will. In all honesty, Espresso Joe shouldn’t be top ten, but I wanted the world to know how much I hate him.
Ideal Date: Paintball. I want to ruin his shirt.
9. Lydia Summers
Lydia is your missing friend, and while she is quite cute and her personality seems fine, I simply haven’t spent enough time with her to fall in love. From what I understand, things take… a turn later on, so perhaps I will find her more intriguing as the story progresses. For now, she’s comparatively dull, though still at least a thousand percent better than Espresso Joe.
Ideal Date: A three-legged race, so that we are tied together and I cannot lose her.
8. Shumi Lane
Shumi is your mysterious goth roommate. She’s both wealthy and rude, which should count against her, but she’s also a grifter, and I like that. I am looking forward to learning what her deal is.
Ideal Date: A flea market. I want to see her use those haggling skills on my behalf rather than against me.
7. Chancellor Swan
Chancellor Swan looks a bit like if you crossed Florence Welch with Alma Coin of The Hunger Games as played by Julianne Moore. Looks-wise, I’m into it. Personality-wise… I get that she’s the roadblock authority figure, but she’s a bit too nice about it! Either be a mean, interesting roadblock or give me the info I need, Swan!
Ideal Date: An art museum. She already knows the history of every painting, so I won’t need an audio guide.
6. Deena Harrison
Detective Deena Harrison is hot and mean. I would rank her higher if she’d appeared in more than one scene for me, but that’s life. I also spoiled myself for upcoming events because I couldn’t remember her last name, but I stand by it. She’s hot and mean! What more could you want?
Ideal Date: You don’t date Deena. You glimpse her from across the room and your heart skips a beat. She somehow senses it, and sends you a glare so withering you can’t talk to another woman for months.
5. Kyle Wilson
I love him. He’s an absolute dingus. In one of my earliest interactions with him, I wanted to call him a dork (affectionate) but accidentally called him a dork (hostile) and broke my own heart. In my defense, he is a dork. In the game’s defense, he’s Bailey’s professor. I don’t want him to date Bailey, I want him to date me. Thanks.
Ideal Date: Whatever your dream goofy romantic date is—taking a puppy life drawing class, a trip to the circus, reading one another jokes while in a rowboat on a lake—Wilson is the guy,
Dylan is introduced quite quickly as ~the bad boy~ of the game. I am not really fond of bad boys, myself, but it becomes clear as you get to know him that while he’s a bit rude and a little aggressive about pursuing things, his heart’s in the right place. His character portrait is smokin’, which outweighs the sort of grittiness to his personality for me.
Ideal Date: Breaking into an animal testing facility to rescue the animals.
3. Greg Gilmore
It feels like narcissism to put Gilmore this high, because if I’m any character in this game, it’s Gilmore. I would wear his outfit. I would say the goofy things he says. He gets called emo, I get called emo. What can I say?
Ideal Date: Going to the movies, but instead of going in you sit in the car and discuss your favorite Front Bottoms lyrics.
2. Rosie Perez
The only reason that Rosie isn’t number one is that she appears to have a serious girlfriend. Rosie is Bailey’s sweet, charming, granola friend who loves nature and can’t drink anything stronger than herbal tea in the afternoon or she gets jitters. She is painfully cute and I love her.
Ideal Date: I can think of nothing more delightful than drinking herbal tea with Rosie and wandering through a botanical garden.
1. Arash Shirazi
The thing with getting older is that things that appealed to you as a fresh-faced youth are no longer as attractive, and things that were once “too old” are now very attractive. Like Arash Shirazi, the foul-tempered, potentially scheming professor, I too am graying at the temples. Though I don’t have a well-fitted suit, I like that he does. He looks very good in a cloak. He’s mysterious. What more could you want?
Ideal Date: Poring over ancient scrolls and making an amazing—but terrifying—discovery together.
There are a lot of characters who didn’t make the cut, largely because I’ve only met them once or I liked them less than Lydia. They are:
Bailey: Bailey’s the protagonist. I used to have her haircut and I pretty much have her outfit. She’s fine.
Naomi: I’m with Dylan on this one: Naomi is a cop. Next.
Mocha Mike: Espresso Joe’s somewhat better cousin. He’s rude and I’ve only met him once.
Eve: I don’t know much about Eve beyond what I accidentally spoiled for myself in the process of writing this. She’s cute, but she mostly shows up to ask if we can hang out before I shut her down because I’m up to ~shady shit~.
Janis: I really want to like Janis. She’s a cute potion-maker with a sort of stoner-with-a-heart-of-gold vibe. But because she’s mostly been a means to an end for Bailey, I haven’t spent a lot of time with her. Hopefully future arcs will expand on her character in a way that makes her more interesting to me!
Ms. Ruby Blue: It might be hypocritical of me to dismiss Ms. Ruby Blue based on her calling Dylan a “smoldering bag of muscles” even though she’s the college librarian, given that I am probably closer to her age than Dylan’s canon age, regardless of how old he looks, but it rubbed me the wrong way. Love the vibe, though.
Melissa Brinks is Sidequest’s editor in chief, co-creator of the Fake Geek Girls podcast, author of The Compendium of Magical Beasts, and an aspiring beekeeper. She once won an argument on the internet, and tweets at @MelissaBrinks.