Noita is a 2D platformer roguelite developed by Nolla Games where every pixel is simulated. This is not a relaxing dungeon crawler that will hold your hand to epic loot. You will be tossed into a world where every pixel actively hates your very existence with no clue why you’re even there…and it’s great! The absence of any kind of story might be off-putting to some, but the truth is, there is a story here. Along with everything else in the game, the story has to be discovered instead of given.
Before diving in too much, I want to add that there is gamepad support along with mouse and keyboard. Noita is currently only available on Windows, but I strongly recommend mouse and keyboard controls. Positioning and aiming is too precise for me to get used to the gamepad.
Why is Noita Unique?
Nolla loudly and often advertises that Noita has every pixel simulated, but how does that affect gameplay, and what does it mean? This isn’t just destructible environments. Each pixel should be considered an element that can be manipulated. This makes the environment incredibly flexible and diverse. Shooting fire spells or explosions near wood will cause it to catch fire, and you’ll have to jump in the water when you catch yourself on fire (notice how I didn’t say if). However, not everything reacts how you’d expect, and sometimes you accidentally create a bomb under your feet. Combining all these “ingredients” to create all these reactions gives the game a real strong alchemy feeling. This fits so well with the overall magic theme.
Why is Noita Familiar?
There’s no story set up and minimal hand-holding because it feels so familiar. There’s a myriad of 2D underground exploration games on the market, and this one has a familiar feeling while keeping it fresh. You’ll be exploring winding tunnel systems underground and figuring out how to get through certain metals. The deeper you go, the angrier enemies become. This allows the player to focus on discovering the world vs fussing over controls or trying to figure out what to do. Noita even takes this a step further and removes any kind of talent trees or skills that a player might expect in a roguelite game. Nolla doesn’t want you to read through tooltips to beef up your character. You are meant to find out what things do by blowing yourself up.
What makes Noita Fun?
It can pretty much be summed up into two words for me. Exploration and discovery. It’s possible to beat the game while only experiencing such a small portion of what Noita has to offer. For instance, there are an absolute ton of wands and spells in the game. Each spell can be combined in various ways on various wands to produce various effects. The combinations alone can keep you busy for many runs. Not only that but the world is massive. Without spoiling too much, if you think you’re boxed into a world smaller than what you think was advertised, keep exploring. There’s absolutely zero chance I’ve found all secrets and areas that Noita has to offer.
What’s up with the Wand system?
Starting out a run, you’ll be given two wands. One infinite ammo wand and another that has a set number of charges. The spells and stats will be randomized to help keep each run unique. As you progress, you’ll find various wands throughout the world. They’ll all have randomized stats and spells as well. You can then strip spells off one wand and slap them in another to create new effects. The order you place spells and the stats on the wand will modify how the wand reacts. This very quickly becomes very complex and sandboxie with the sheer amount of stat modifiers and spell combinations. However, if this sounds overwhelming, it shouldn’t. The starting wands and wands you find will still (mostly) fire angry magic to dispatch your enemies with no modification required. This makes it both easy for newer players to pick up and give veterans an in-depth sandbox system that will take significant time to flesh out.
Players will progress through each floor by using portals. In between each floor, you’ll get a health buff, a shop, and some random player enhancements. Shop items include enhancements to wands or new wands altogether. The character enhancements are stuff like spell resistances or better mobility. Here you can test out spells and swap out wands.
Overall, Noita is a great sandbox action roguelite platformer that is one of a kind. It offers simple and familiar gameplay while also providing complex spell combinations with a high amount of replayability. Highly recommended to players who enjoy the rogue-like genre along with anyone who wants a magic spell building 2D sandbox.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Noita for PC provided by Nolla Games.