For those avoiding That Wizard Game, another chance to enter a world of magic is on the horizon: Little Witch Nobeta.
Launching 7th March on PS4 and Switch, Little Witch Nobeta is hard to pigeonhole. It’s essentially a 3D shooter, with magic in the place of guns. But there’s also melee combat, puzzles and Soulslike events. Ultimately, it’s a mish-mash of genres, but they’ve been combined rather well. Its opening hours have certainly kept us entertained at least.
Taking control of the titular little witch, Nobeta, you find yourself drawn to a mysterious castle. What lies inside? We don’t know, but Nobeta makes it clear that she needs to locate the throne room. Before that, though, there’s the business of finding a black cat. It knows the way to the throne room, you see.
Much like a Soulslike, Little Witch Nobeta is purposefully obtuse. It doesn’t explain the purpose of the items you find strewn about, for example, but you certainly can’t equip them. And if you encounter a puzzle there’s not much help aside from some cryptic words from your cat. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though; it keeps you on your toes, and in the case of a solved puzzle, leads to a feeling of accomplishment.
But that’s not to say that most players are going to find Little Witch Nobeta challenging. Two difficulty levels are on offer – standard and advanced – and selecting the former we’ve found it a walk in the park up to and including its second boss. The combat, primarily focused on casting magic, makes you feel like a powerful witch indeed. You can cast spells with reckless abandon thanks to your mana recharging at a decent rate. And if an enemy does get too close, you can either give them a whack with your wand or dive out of the way.
In fact, you’re only likely to run out of mana momentarily if you use more powerful charged spells, which come in particularly useful when fighting bosses. Taking some time to prepare, a charged spell turns a simple bolt of arcane energy into something much more potent, for example, while rapid fire ice magic becomes a hailstorm that can target multiple enemies spread some distance apart. When your mana runs dry, you can wait for it to slowly recharge, or give it a boost by skilfully dodging enemy attacks or getting some melee hits in.
Up to now our adventure has been largely linear, but we’ve taken the odd opportunity to explore and (hopefully) find new items. As already mentioned, there’s no equipment to plunder – you’re seemingly stuck with your trusty wand and no armour. But you can pick up consumables, allowing you to restore your health and so forth in a tight spot. You’ll also pick up new spells, too. Some are passive, such as wind magic that allows you to double jump. Others can be selected via a radial menu, giving you access to new offensive and puzzle solving options.
Being an RPG, perhaps the most important thing is that you can upgrade Nobeta over time. Killing enemies will see you accumulate a currency that can be used at resting points to increase various stats. And while we haven’t died so far, there is a chance you can lose some of that valuable currency if you meet your demise while being cursed. That apparently can happen when you use low-quality consumables.
Think of Little Witch Nobeta as My First Soulslike, and there’s a fair chance you’re going to get on well with it. Either that, or start on advanced difficulty and prepare yourself for more of a challenge. In any case, we’ve had some fun with it so far. It’s not the best-looking game, with drab environments only redeemed a little by its decent character and enemy models, but its soundtrack seems quite nice and we’re eager to play more. That can only be a good thing.
Little Witch Nobeta launches 7th March on PS4 and Switch.