The Witch Spring games are set in a fantasy world where humans live with a separate race of intelligent beings who used to be worshipped as deities, but in modern times are known to most as 'witches' and face constant persecution and threats of extermination from the humans who used to revere them. The telltale features of this race are their combination of dark skin and white/silver hair (absolutely patrician taste, Kiwi Walks). Oh, and their cute big floppy ears.
Much like how the latest Atelier games got rid of time limits because people said they were stressful, Witch Spring 2 and 3 also abolished them. But I really like the time limit in Witch Spring 1 - it's not a harsh one, 100 days is plenty of time to avoid getting any of the worst endings, and having time pass makes it feel that much more rewarding when you make good use of time (i.e. just barely defeating a powerful enemy and getting some good synthesis materials from it). The difference between having a time limit and not having one almost feels like an entire genre change - WS1 is a raising sim where you plan your movements carefully, and decide how to specialize Pieberry's stats, i.e. focusing on magic vs physical damage, defense or speed, which ending to aim for, etc.
After playing the first game, I hopped into Witch Spring 2. This one was my least favorite of the 3, which is confusing to me since it has the highest rating of them all on the Google Play Store. Well, different people have different tastes, and Witch Spring 2 protagonist Luna is probably the cutest of the protagonists which surely affects those ratings! We meet her in the first game as well actually, but WS2 goes more into her story.
The story was cute at any rate, and Luna is probably my favorite of the Witch Spring protagonists so far. Just pace yourself and avoid the temptation to grind too much if you want to enjoy the gameplay itself too, learn from my mistake!
After beating 2, I moved to the latest entry, Witch Spring 3. This one stars a girl called Eirudy who lives in seclusion and makes dolls (which she brings into battle and serve as a replacement for the 'pets' of WS1/2) which she tries bringing to life with magic. She also hides her identity a bit by using magic to make her skin look white, but I'm still waiting for someone to explain how those big floppy ears don't give her away right away and why she doesn't hide those too!
I don't know how popular an opinion it is, but I miss time limits! I missed them in the latest Atelier games, and I missed them in Witch Spring 2-3. I know it sucks to feel pressured/stressed because of the time limit, but that also means that it feels so much better when you successfully plan and execute a nice hunting run for ingredients, or just barely defeat a boss fight in time.
Anyway, I recommend giving the series a look if you want something to play on the go that isn't a soul-sucking gacha game. They're low budget and short games, but they're charming and if the Japanese store price is any indication, they should only be around $5 USD each. Witch Spring 1 will appeal to fans of raising sims, and 3 ticks the usual JRPG boxes. Looking forward to the 4th entry!