Pupuya Games’ Little Witch Nobeta launched on Steam back in September and was quite well received by PC gamers. Idea Factory International picked it up for a console launch, allowing PS4 and Switch players to also see what the game is all about. We tested the PlayStation version of a game that mixes action RPG gameplay with metroidvania elements and an adorable art style.
Protagonist Nobeta sees her trekking through a castle in order to unveil its mysteries – though you’re kind of piecing it together rather than seeing it unfold in a linear fashion. Joining you on your adventure is a talking black cat, acting as a sort of narrator/guide for you. And if talking cats weren’t Alice in Wonderland enough for you, the rest of the leans heavily into fantasy as well, with imaginative boss fights that even include teddy bears.
Unlike some metroidvanias, where you’ll quickly run into a hard wall, Little Witch Nobeta is a game you get eased into gently. If you’re a veteran of the genre, however, that also means it’s kind of a slow burn, where the opening acts aren’t all that exciting yet due to a limited moveset. Once you start unlocking more and more spells and abilities, the game gets progressively better, but to those who aren’t all that patient the start of the game can feel underwhelming.
Combat is a mix of long range combat (through spells) and melee (for which you use your magic staff). Nobeta can also invoke elementally charged chants that boost your abilities and can help you out in tricky situations. Exploring the castle can lead to the discovery of additional options in combat (like spell upgrades), but Nobeta is already pretty agile with her double jumps and dodges – her biggest area of growth definitely lies in the combat element, which is the strongest part of the game.
The exploration, which is such a crucial element of any metroidvania, is less exciting by comparison. The castle walls sort of blend together in a grey mesh after a while, and having more diverse layouts and designs could have helped to engage players a bit more. The same can be said for some handholding – waypoints or an in-game map would have been welcome.
With entertaining combat (especially in the second half of the game) and some excellent character designs, Little Witch Nobeta is worth playing, but you’ll be able to find better games in the genre as well. It’s not a full price title though, which should certainly help people who are considering it.