Little Witch Nobeta Review

Ain't Nobeta witch for this job.
Little Witch Nobeta Header

Little Witch Nobeta is, to the surprise of no one, a game about a Little Witch called Nobeta. Developed by Taiwanese studio Pupuya Games, Little Witch Nobeta is an old-school third person action game. Spells are blasted, spooky dolls smashed, and abandoned castles explored. Some have tried to liken it to Dark Souls, but in reality, Little Witch Nobeta is an unashamedly simple arcade shooter.

The setup is remarkably straightforward. Nobeta needs to find a throne hidden within an ancient castle, and she sets off on this quest with a surly Little Black Cat to assist her, and a wand to cast one of four elemental spells. She’ll need all the magic she can get, as the castle is inhabited by evil dolls seeking to steal her soul. It is also inhabited by weird phallus-like ghost creatures, but the less said about them the better.

There are some cutscenes that expand upon the basic story but they are fairly dull and rendered tedious thanks to lethargic pacing. Characters speak very slowly, and say a lot, but explain little. You’ll soon find yourself skipping through the cutscenes, ignoring the story entirely, and getting to the action instead.

Little Witch Nobeta Boss Combat

And, for the most part, the action is decent. You’ll have to reconfigure the controls to discover that, as the initial calibration is an absolute mess, but if you do that then the combat proves immensely fun. Nobeta can combat roll, dodge, and double jump with the best of them. She’s also delightfully overpowered, zapping out spells with machine-gun-like intensity. Thanks to a generous auto-aim, Nobeta plays like an absolute badass and, once impressive bazooka and shotgun imitating spells have been added to your arsenal, you’ll be casting your way through your enemies with glee. Combat then is fast and frenetic, in complete contrast to the tedious exploration.

Wondering around the castle is a chore, quite frankly. A series of samey corridors and identical halls do not make for interesting environments. This issue is exacerbated by the limited art assets and ancient 2000’s era visuals. The same brick walls and doorways are repeated ad nauseum, just with slightly different lighting. This wouldn’t be an issue if the levels were strictly linear, but there’s quite a lot of going back and forth required, resulting in the player becoming completely disorientated. This is exacerbated by the fact that there are no unique landmarks or visual features to navigate by.

Little Witch Nobeta Kitty Exploration

The fairly abysmal signposting results in lots and lots of insipid wandering until you happen upon the correct path. One particularly awful section requires the player to get through a pitch black maze with lethal falls – it’s horrible. In short, all this boring walking only serves to undermine the enjoyment to be had from blasting creepy dolls.

Which is a whole lot of fun, as the dolls are a delightfully eccentric bunch. You’ll find they like to attack you with a range of utensils – such as knives and enormous scissors – or simply blast you with spells from afar. They are surprisingly dynamic opponents, weaving and flanking to create many memorable encounters. Though the highlight of the game is without a doubt the bosses.

Each encounter with these fiends is suitably epic. Bosses will attempt to wail on you with giant robotic fists, stomp you with giant cuddly teddy bear paws, or run you through with swords so massive they would make Cloud jealous. There’s also an engaging risk-and-reward mechanic to be had which enlivens boss fights immensely. Nobeta can slowly charge up her spells, but is exceedingly vulnerable as she does so. It results in frantic moments as the player desperately avoids attacks in order to unleash a pumped-up rocket spell at just the right moment.

Little Witch Nobeta Boss Battle

My one complaint? Some bosses have decidedly unfair instakill attacks. Not a problem in and of itself, but the game then demands a lengthy re-tread through its tedious environments to get back to the boss and that really grates.

The rest of Little Witch of Nobeta is entirely disposable. Levelling up individual stats is a waste of time, as levelling up equally proves the most effective strategy. Using items that might curse Nobeta is an under utilised addition as well. In fact, I’ve no idea how the curse mechanic even works, as it never came up in my playthrough. Other than the instakill attacks, the game is so easy you’ll rarely die, so you won’t need to use health gems. Whilst the amount of mana available to Nobeta is so generous that you won’t even need to check the plethora of items that are intended to replenish it. There’s copious relics to find but when the level design is so uninspired, who wants to waste time doing that?

Little Witch Nobeta makes for a fun old-school action shooter. It’s just a shame that this particular witches’ brew is filled with so much unnecessary and bland garnish that serves only to dilute the taste.
  • Combat is simple fun
  • Nobeta is an over-powered beast
  • Memorable enemies and excellent boss fights
  • Environments are tedious and confusing to explore
  • Poor level design
  • Instakill attacks are never OK