Little Witch Nobeta by Pupuya Games
In Little Witch Nobeta by Pupuya Games, you play as the magic-slinging witch known as Nobeta.
Nobeta starts the game with no recollection of who she is. With the help and guidance of a mysterious black cat, she sets off to explore a castle with hopes to find out about herself and the mystery around the creature-infested castle.
The narrative is spare but has enough depth that I was legitimately invested.
Existentialist Anime Action
Roaming the castle, Nobeta comes across creatures who seem to be manifested with an added consciousness. They are alive but struggle with their existence. It reminded me a lot of a theme found within NieR:Automata‘s narrative.
At times, it’s purposefully vague to keep things more mysterious, but overall the narrative did keep me engaged. From the surly black cat to the castle’s confused inhabitants, I was invested and wanted to learn more.
The game plays like a mix of Dark Souls and third-person shooter.
It’s more reliant on positioning and lining up shots than taking cover. In this regard, it feels more fast-paced than most cover-based games. Managing the stamina bar and recharging mana is essential in order to succeed.
You also have different types of magic types at your disposal – Arcane, Lightning, Fire and Ice – each with their own projectile type and strengths. Magic projectiles can also be charged for a more devastating amount of damage.
The combat feels really satisfying. Pulling off charged attacks, dodging and using melee all feel great.
Combat isn’t as free-flowing as something like Bayonetta, but it’s a bit more slower-paced than Dark Souls. I think the developers nailed it, and that’s a good thing since combat is the backbone of this experience.
Lonely Hallways and Brutal Bosses
The castle itself is made up of mostly a bunch of small rooms and hallways. There are a few light puzzles and some platforming, but overall it’s fairly linear.
Environmental detail is sparse but still atmospheric. Lights glow just enough to make for desolate rooms. Creature corpses litter some areas with great effect. Ultimately, whether intentional or not, its sparseness I think fits perfectly with the game’s narrative theme of loneliness.
Areas do end up feeling familiar, as there isn’t much environmental variety, but this could just be what the first area of the castle looks like, since the game is still unfinished.
Aside from light platforming and small puzzles, the game also has a couple of boss fights, which are the true test of skill in Little Witch Nobeta.
Boss fights require you to have restorative items and properly leveled statistics. Much like in Dark Souls, you can level up a number of things, like mana capacity, health and projectile charge speed. Leveling can be done by collecting souls of fallen enemies. The ability to level up any way you want is always a nice touch, allowing players to tailor the game to their strengths.
Visually, Little Witch Nobeta looks fantastic. Everything from character models to animations is very polished.
Nobeta herself is very expressive, which breathes more life into cut-scenes. Enemy designs also shine, because there is a nice variety of enemy types to fight. One of my favorites is a charging, giant-knife-wielding doll.
Torch-lit corridors along with rubble-infested rooms make for a nice atmosphere, as well.
What also does wonders for molding a great atmosphere is the game’s fantastic soundtrack by Oli Jan. Particularly moody but catchy tunes make the castle a joy to explore. Echoed piano keys, harps and other moody string instruments give the tracks a nice mixture of somber and mysterious tunes. The game features some of my favorite tracks I’ve heard all year.
Little Witch Nobeta is a wickedly fun game, thanks to great combat and an intriguing narrative. It shows a lot of promise, and I’m looking forward to how it progresses.
The only downside is that the game took me only around four hours to complete, but I think it’s safe to say that there is still a lot more content the developers want to add to the game.
If you’re a fan of third-person games and don’t mind the Dark Souls influences, then by all means give this game a chance.
Little Witch Nobeta is available via Early Access on Steam.
Check out the official trailer for Little Witch Nobeta below: