Little Noah Review: Here We Go Again

As stated earlier, Little Noah is a side-scrolling roguelite, and while the titular Noah is able to jump, double jump, and even air dash, she’s ordinarily unable to attack. that’s the Lilliputs’ job. The Lilliputs are a kind of familiar that follow Noah around in miniature form until they’re deployed to attack. At this point, they grow to their full size and perform unique attacks that range from close-range sword slashes, club swings and spear thrusts, long-ranged arrow shots, spell blasts, and the less conventional thrown anchors. The key  takeaway from using Lilliputs is that they all come with their own quirks with varying attack speeds, hitboxes and timings. With five slots to assign their attacking order, it is your job  to decide what the most effective combo from the currently available pool of Lilliputs. For example, maybe you’ll open with a ranged attacker as a gap closer that then enables some melee attackers to get in close, and then finish the chain with a smashing finisher that sends your foe flying away.

Is that a slime piloting a giant suit of armor? Yes, yes it is.

Is that a slime piloting a giant suit of armor? Yes, yes it is.

In addition to the five slots for normal attacks, there are also one (two with upgrades) for skill attacks. Lilliputs assigned to skill slots will perform stronger, flashier attacks, often with enhanced or additional effects such greater ease of stun, burning, freezing, or life-draining effects. All this comes at the cost of having time-based cool downs. Remember how  Noah doesn’t attack ordinarily? The exception comes in the way of burst attacks, in which Noah grows several sizes, gets a more detailed character model based on her current avatar, and performs a flashy attack. She’s invulnerable during this attack, so knowing when to use them can be the difference between a successful run or one cut short.  of runs cut short, it’s probably time to stop beating around the bush and address the roguelite elements of the game.

Think I'll go with THIS eye-patch.

Think I’ll go with THIS eye-patch.

Every time you enter the ruins you will be given three Liliputs. From then on you must do your best to collect Liliputs and accessories, stat-boosting items that are always passively at work, in order to become stronger and face greater dangers, such as the bosses at the beginning of every third and fifth stages within each major area. There are three major areas, so a full run will have you go through fifteen stages in total. Completing all fifteen stages, or fall in battle beforehand, and all your accessories and Lilliputs, as well as your gold, will be lost. In return, you will be paid in mana for all your spoils. Mana which can then be spent to repair the airship, will grant permanent bonuses such as increased base health, higher damage, more healing potions, skill slots, or starting gold and accessories. In short, the gameplay is summarized as: adventure, die, get mana, power up, adventure further, get more mana, power up even further. 

My first successful run of the full game took only three tries and just under five hours(though admittedly I lucked out and got my hands on some life stealing skills that allowed me to just barely squeak by)- so the game sells  its replayability with scores of avatars, alternate routes, buffs and perks to unlock.. Honestly, I have barely scratched the surface in terms of mechanics and features; it might be a potentially short experience but it is a very dense one.

No, that's not Agrias from Final Fantasy Tactics...I think.

No, that’s not Agrias from Final Fantasy Tactics…I think.

I have been pretty positive about Little Noah, but the game is not without flaws. The platforming isn’t as tight as the game would like to think for its occasional platforming treasure rooms  And while the accessories might say, push you towards heavy fire aligned attack chains, if you get nothing but wind and ice Liliputs, then these chains are pretty much  wasted. There’s simply no way to achieve consistency and any theorycrafting  attempted will likely remain purely hypothetical. The game would benefit greatly from allowing you to pick at least one Liliput and accessory to always start out, to have at least some early building blocks for a build you might like to try experimenting with.

Pros: An inventive, complex, and well-polished game. Offering great replayability, the challenge of roguelikes, without the frustrations that come with a genre that makes progress notoriously difficult. Pleasant art style and aesthetic courtesy of Akihiko Yoshida of Final Fantasy Tactics and Bravely Default fame.

Cons: Having to start every dungeon run with a clean slate can get a little old. Your strength being entirely dependent on how lucky you get with accessories and Liliputs can put a damper on things when you want to get creative with character builds.

Little Noah is available on the Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 and Windows computers via Steam. Little Noah is a light hearted, fun and deceptively dense game that can be enjoyed for a few short hours or a few dozen depending on how much you want to get out of it. It’s on the fly approach to strengthening and fighting serves to maintain a feeling of freshness and challenge every time you pick it up, though it can also be somewhat limiting to those who wish to exploit its mechanics to its fullest. I give it my recommendation both to newbies and veteran enjoyers of roguelites.  


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