Okay, I know I’m late to Sabbat of the Witch (also known as Sanoba Witch). It’s the first Yuzusoft novel that NekoNyan localized and released back in 2018, and even in 2023 many still say it’s the best. In retrospect, is this as magical as people say? Will the heroines enchant me? I dove into it to find out.
Sabbat of the Witch opens by showing that our protagonist Shuuji is more than a little too helpful. It’s to the point that the girls in his class know that he can be easily taken advantage of. Want to get out of class duties? Ask Shuuji. He’ll do them.
This isn’t because he’s nice. It’s a learned response. Shuuji has a mysterious power. He can perceive the emotions of those around him through his senses. The bitter taste of a lie, the stabbing pain of jealousy, or the pain of a heavy mood are all literal for him. It would be physically painful for him if he were hated. This worked nicely to justify his actions and personality, rather than just having him as someone who can’t say no.
While Shuuji does have a couple of friends, he keeps them at a distance. He doesn’t get close to people or trust them. Knowing what people really feel, even those with a smile on their faces, has led him to be wary.
This continues until an incident. He encounters Nene, a witch, and accidentally steals heart fragments that she was collecting. It turns out that his experiences have led to a metaphorical hole in his heart, which pulls in loose fragments to try and heal itself. This leads to Shuuji joining Nene’s Occult Club to try and repair the hole in his heart, which is the only way to return those fragments lodged inside of him.
It’s an interesting way to set the protagonist on his journey of healing. This loner now has to take part in club activities, which mostly revolve around helping other people. This time it’s not just chores. He has to make them happy. And while it’s not the aim, along the way he’ll get close to five heroines, hopefully finding someone to help him heal his own heart.
Sabbat of the Witch makes use of many of the visual novel/anime staples. Threats to the club, the hottest girls in school all ending up near the protagonist, a transfer student being involved in the mystery, and getting called a pervert a little too often. Despite this, I felt it was quite unique. The main reason for this was the lore behind Witches and Alps.
They’re called Witches in Sabbat of the Witch, but perhaps this is somewhat of a misnomer or at least not the typical type of witch. Witches here can only use magic once in their life and only after fulfilling a requirement.
They need to contract with an animal spirit trying to learn to be human. As part of this, they need to collect heart fragments, ideally created through people’s excess happiness, the resolution of a worry, and so on. Collect enough and a wish will be granted. But in the meantime, the witch will be affected by a random affliction. The easily embarrassed Nene’s is to suddenly become uncontrollably horny until she has some release.
Sabbat of the Witch has some very serious themes and touching moments. Surprisingly, it manages to mix these well with plot-related public masturbation. Despite the sexual theme, it comprehensively builds a compelling story, diving into the history of each character, and often giving them good reasons to act the way they do. The heroine’s stories are the real highlight here, but Shuuji’s growth and the way he overcomes his trauma are great to see too.
Welcome to the Occult Club
The common route sets the scene well. As well as hinting at some of the mysteries, I enjoyed seeing them take on cases as the occult club to try and make people happy. While it never went too in-depth, they tended to be ones that could easily be related to – issues with friendship, romance, and so on. This worked well to get to know some of the heroines who took part too.
Alongside this, there are plenty of standard slice-of-life scenes. The club members and others hang out as friends. There are study sessions, moments of friendly teasing, and more. This nicely mixed in some comedic moments, but never went overboard.
It concludes in an impactful way, highlighting how much the protagonist has changed. Along the way, you’ll make plenty of choices (see our guide to know which!), leading you to the best part of Sabbat of the Witch; the heroine routes.
Nene is clearly the main heroine of Sabbat of the Witch. This unwillingly horny heroine has the most screentime and the longest route.
Her affliction is so shocking, because Nene is extremely kind, trusted by everyone, and comes across as very put together. When you get to know her, you’ll also find out that she’s easily flustered and quick to dark moods after getting embarrassed. In at least one instance, she claims she’s going to kill you, then herself, so no-one finds out about her shame.
Nene’s route has plenty of cute moments with a slow romance, but the problems that occur are what makes it the most interesting; they aren’t easily waved away like in some visual novels. The major events in this route revolve around magic, but we learn that Nene has her own issues outside of it. I felt this is the best route of the game in terms of plot and it could be considered as the ‘true route’. It’s full of twists and dramatic moments. She’s not my personal favorite heroine, but I can certainly understand why she’s often considered the best.
Tsumugi is the ‘rival’ witch to Nene, though they’re more friends than anything. She hates her affliction but it’s much milder than Nene’s; she gets physically sick if she wears feminine clothing or acts girlish. Because of this, she has to dress as a boy.
Despite Tsumugi’s affliction, she may be the most stereotypically feminine of all the heroines. She’s unfailingly sweet and cares a little too much about pretty clothes. We do learn that she has a jealous side though.
Tsumugi’s story isn’t as serious as Nene’s, despite both heavily involving magic. It’s more about romantic moments and healing. We do get to explore some of Shuuji’s past, but aside from that it was a fairly average route. It is a pity that she didn’t get a better route, since Tsumugi herself is adorable.
Touko presents an interesting situation to the protagonist: he realizes that he can’t sense her feelings. Initially, we mostly see her as an older student who teases Shuuji and makes sexual jokes. We don’t get to learn much more about her until her route begins.
Her route explores an interesting mystery and was one of the ones I enjoyed the most in terms of plot. It slowly adds more clues, building up to a big reveal. It does explore some rather sad themes, which I didn’t expect based on the fairly light tone of the common route and her teasing character. Even so, it has plenty of light moments, like the search for Shuuji’s porn collection.
Meguru is a younger student who first approaches the club with her own problem, but eventually joins. She has a bright personality but has a lot of anxiety about how people see her and has difficulty making friends. She’s also likely to tease the main character or insinuate that he’s a pervert. Her behavior can come across as a little cruel at times outside of her route, but I did like how she prioritized her few relationships.
That said, Meguru’s route turns the sweetness up to 11. It still fits into the overall plot of magic, but it’s almost all about the relationship, learning to understand each other, and falling in love. It’s one of the weakest in terms of story, but the best in terms of romance.
Wakana is only a side character and not related to the main plot, but she does have an unlockable short route. She’s the closest thing to a childhood friend, having known Shuuji for about ten years, even if they’ve not always been together during those times. Between that and her blunt personality, she feels like one of the friends to goof around with more than anything at times. There are little hints of romance to be found in the common route, depending on your choices though.
Shuuji has to learn the bass in the common route. Wakana’s route jumps out of the common route early and shows us an alternate version of this event.
Wakana was my favorite heroine. Her route depicts a slowly growing change from friendship to romance. The little incidents between them and awkwardness build up to a satisfying end. There isn’t much in terms of plot, but I liked how they handled the relationship development.
If you are playing the Steam version of Sabbat of the Witch, you will have to install a patch to access the 18+ content. Unlike most, this can be found as DLC directly on Steam. If you prefer, there’s also a copy on the NekoNyan website. Of course, you can just buy the adult version directly.
The content of the 18+ scenes itself is mostly vanilla and uses mosaic censorship. It’s worth noting that Nene takes center stage here again, with nine scenes, compared to Meguru, Tsumugi, or Touko who have four, or Wakana who only has three. That’s with an additional ‘After’ scene included. There are a couple of examples of choices making visual differences, such as wearing glasses or not.
The scenes generally aren’t overly long and are mostly about expressing love, though Nene’s affliction does play a part in several cases. There’s generally a good build-up of relationships before these, though certain things did feel a bit too quick in some cases. That isn’t too unusual for the genre, but it’s still worth a mention.
Minor Text Issues
While Sabbat of the Witch reads well, it’s worth noting that there are very occasional text issues, including spelling, grammar, and at least one instance of an open formatting tag. That’s unless Shuuji really meant to say “Ahhhhhhhhhh!!font size=default]”. That is the only really obvious example I noticed though. It was mostly minor typos.
It’s not too bad, but years after release, it’s very unlikely that these minor issues will be fixed. More recent NekoNyan releases seem to be up to a higher standard.
Graphics, Sound, and Systems
Sabbat of the Witch looks great and makes good use of animation, with multiple sprite poses, movement, and expression changes in sentences at times. There are plenty of high-quality CGs too, both regular and super-deformed. The resolution is 720p natively. A sprite mode is included but needs to be unlocked.
The 48 pieces of music worked well, with something to fit every type of scene and ones unique to each character. I particularly liked ‘Hare-Hare Kibun’ for its use of ‘wordless vocals’.
The voicing was great, with each one fitting the character well and being distinct. It’s fully voiced, aside from the main character.
While the tone is mostly light and there are plenty of jokes, Sabbat of the Witch uses touching moments and serious issues to develop characters and build an interesting plot. Not all routes are equal, and I’d not use words like ‘masterpiece’ that I’ve seen thrown around, but this is certainly one of Yuzusoft‘s stronger titles.
SABBAT OF THE WITCH IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to NekoNyan for a PC review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.