Little Witch Nobeta

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Little Witch Nobeta review
Samuel Corey


Loli Souls

Dark Souls: The Anime: The Game

The world is awash with Dark Souls clones. You've got sci-fi Dark Souls with The Surge, Samurai Dark Souls with Nioh, and even Anime Dark Souls with Code Vein. So naturally, the next logical progression is lolicon Dark Souls with Little Witch Nobeta (an extremely inaccurate game considering it was in early access for years before releasing, there certainly was a beta).

However, it would be unfair to dismiss Little Witch Nobeta as just another Dark Souls clone marketed to degenerate weebs. Sure, there are plenty of superficial similarities, it's a 3rd person action RPG with a focus on dodging enemy attacks with carefully-timed dodge-rolls and managing a limited stamina bar. Still, it doesn't take long for Little Witch Nobeta's combat to distinguish itself. For starters, you are locked into a spell-caster class as you might have guessed from the game's title. Sure, Nobeta can swing her staff as a last-resort melee attack, but your primary means of offense will be casting spells. Most of the enemies prefer to fight at range as well, turning the game into something akin to a third-person shooter.

As the game progresses, Nobeta learns a variety of spells, all of which can be cast either instantaneously or in a charged-up mode after a slight delay. For most of the normal enemies, the instantaneous attacks will suffice but if you want to deal any real damage to the bosses you're going to have to rely on the charged attacks. However, if you just try to only use these magic attacks you'll quickly find your mana depleted and yourself a sitting duck for the bosses' attacks. To keep the magic flowing through longer fights you'll have to rely on dodging attacks, carefully timed parries, and the occasional desperate melee attack. All these actions will increase the speed of your charged attacks and replenish lost mana. The result is a delightful combat system where every element supports the main objective.

The obvious downside here is that your approaches to combat are extremely limited, indeed the only viable option in boss fights is to use charged attacks supplemented by dodges, parries, and melee. Still, when the combat is this fun and engaging I'm reluctant to count it as much of an issue. When the combat clicks it's downright sublime. I didn't even mind when a boss killed me for the tenth time, because I was having so much fun. Indeed, it's telling that my biggest complaint here is I was a little disappointed there weren't more boss battles to test my mettle.

Budget Build

It is immediately obvious while playing through the game what was deemed a priority for development and what was cast to the wayside. Obviously, making our loli protagonist as adorable as possible was the main concern, it's the game's chief selling point after all. In addition to various costumes (that run the gamut from cutesy to completely inappropriate - there is a DLC costume that resembles a Playboy Bunny outfit), a great deal of care has gone into Nobeta's animations. When you need to pull a level, for instance, Nobeta is too small to reach so she has to jump into the air and grab the switch. When she runs out of stamina while running, she trips and falls rather than just coming to a halt.

Likewise, most bosses can boast highly detailed designs with a huge variety of attacks and telegraphs. Indeed, your first couple attempts on any given boss will probably revolve around figuring out what moves signal which attacks and how to best respond to them. To keep the fights fresh as they wear on, most bosses have additional attacks and abilities that unlock once their health bar has been reduced to a certain percentage.

On the other hand, some aspects of the game have been marked as acceptable losses and left to linger by the wayside. While all the bosses have cool unique designs, most of the regular enemies you encounter throughout the levels are painfully generic. Some are shadowy blobs, while others are mannequins that look suspiciously like generic character models. In one particularly egregious example, I ran into an enemy that was just a black ball floating in the air with eyes painted on it. These things look like they were placeholders that accidentally got left in the final game.

The levels themselves also have a stripped-down but functional feeling. While there are some superficial differences between the different stages, each one is just another sort of castle (be it a regular castle, a castle with caves, or a castle with lava). In addition to being visually boring, the homogeneous design also makes it very easy for the player to get lost. This becomes a bit of a problem as some levels tend to loop back around on themselves after opening up a few shortcuts.

Yet, I can't bring myself to treat these flaws too harshly, as this is a small independent game with limited resources. There is no way they could be expected to deliver a game that was highly polished in every aspect. Indeed, I would even argue that the developer made the right choice focusing on the designs for the player character and bosses, as these ultimately count for a lot more than the speed-bump enemies or the environmental textures.

Into the Depths

The story for Little Witch Nobeta is minimal. The player takes on the titular loli witch, who is driven by an unexplained desire to plumb the depths of the mysterious castle and find the throne at its heart. Her only companion on this quest is a talking cat that claims she can lead her to the throne but does not offer any explanation about what awaits Nobeta there. From the start, there is something faintly sinister about your feline guide, though it is difficult to say if it stems from the cat's dark intentions or if it's just normal cat behavior.

The tone is somewhat akin to a fashion fairy tale, though one that hews a bit closer to the old European legends than the modern Disney variations. Throughout the game it feels like there are darker implications of the world, dancing just beyond the player's comprehension. The few clues we do get through item descriptions and environmental storytelling paint a grim picture. It cultivates a sense of mystery and dread and keeps you plunging deeper and deeper into the castle.

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fun score


Intuitive combat with a high skill ceiling, Simple, but compelling story, Adorable character design with lots of nice details


Some enemy designs are lacklustre, Levels are repetitive and frequently unimaginative