By Leah McDonald / March 2nd, 2023
I recently got my hands on a copy of the PS4 version of Little Witch Nobeta and was super excited to give it a shot. This 3D action shooter from Pupuya Games and Simon Creative boasts a super adorable aesthetic that’s right up my alley, but also looked like it could be a bit on the challenging side, and I wanted to test my skills. After spending about two hours with the game and beating the second boss, I can say I had a blast!
Nobeta is (surprise) a little witch, and she’s in search of herself after losing all her memories. She comes to a mysterious castle in the middle of nowhere looking for… something, and the moment she hears a cat she realizes she needs the black kitty to help guide her to the Throne, where she might get all her answers. What’s the Throne? I dunno, but I’m sure I’ll eventually find out. Anyway, into the castle she goes and Nobeta’s journey begins. Along the way she meets her black kitty, as well as “crafted souls” – dolls that have a vaguely human appearance, but artificial hearts. But what are they exactly? How did they come to be? Are they really empty shells or are they sentient? And does it matter one way or another if they are?
You begin the game with a basic melee attack and a single burst-style magic spell. Pressing your spell button will unleash a weak but quick version of her magic, while holding it down will gradually power it up for heavy damage. Powering it up leaves Nobeta vulnerable to attacks, though, so you need to keep moving, or find cover, lest the beasties in the castle beat you down mid-cast. You can replenish your magic using items or hitting things, as well as by executing precise counter attacks that I was never quite able to get the hang of. You also need to keep track of your stamina, because once you run out, Nobeta will trip and fall over, leaving her open to attack. By the time I finished the preview, I’d learned a second multi-hit ice spell that was incredibly fun to use among groups of enemies, but the basic playstyle didn’t really change much. It was simple but satisfying, and finding the right spell for the right occasion turned out to be a lot of fun.
Scattered throughout the castle are goddess statues where Nobeta can pray to save her progress and upgrade her stats. You can up your HP, MP, Stamina, ATK, etc. by collecting souls from defeated castle enemies. It encourages you to fight the local denizens, but also lets you tailor your playstyle or modify the difficulty level on the fly. Speaking of difficulty, I played on Normal (or Advanced, as it’s called), and it had a couple tricky enemy groups, but it wasn’t anything particularly hard. I’m not sure if a day one patch will add any other difficulty levels, but what I got felt a bit too easy. I also found the enemies a bit uninspired and boring. You mostly fight weird blob monsters and the occasional doll, and I was craving enemy variety by the end of my play session.
Nobeta, the black kitty and the second boss, Tania, are very very adorable, though. Nobeta’s animations are gorgeous, and there’s a weight to her movement that’s very satisfying. You can unlock new outfits for her through advancing the story or meeting certain gameplay criteria, and they’re all just the cutest. You’ve got free range with the camera, too, so you can look at her outfits from all angles. Nobeta herself is a quiet, reserved girl who is understandably confused by what’s going on, but determined to see things through to the end. You can pet the black kitty, and that’s more than enough, but it also gives out nuggets of wisdom and philosophy that give Nobeta something to ponder. Tania wants to escape the castle and is seeking a stronger body with which to do so. She has a bit of a loli vibe going on, and I just overall enjoyed her boss design. Her fight is somewhat underwhelming, though.
The game boasts a really gorgeous soundtrack and was one of the highlights of my playthrough, outside Nobeta herself. The music has a gothic flare to it and feels suitably epic, especially during boss fights. It’s atmospheric where it needs to be. Sound design is also nice, especially Nobeta’s spells. Letting off a fully-powered burst has a super satisfying whirr to it, and the plink of your ice magic makes sure every hit is punctuated. Even the melee hit has a nice thunk to it. The voice acting was pretty good, too.
I really enjoyed my time with Little Witch Nobeta. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be going in, but it did pose a challenge in a couple places. The combat was simple but satisfying, and a fantastic soundtrack made exploring and fighting a joy. Nobeta is adorable, with gorgeous animations and cute outfits, and I got to pet the kitty cat. I definitely recommend checking this out when it releases on March 7, 2023 for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4|5. The game is also available on Steam.
Game copy provided by the publisher.
3D action shooterGame PreviewIdea Factory InternationalLittle Witch NobetaPreviewsPS4Pupuya GamesSimon Creative