Noitu Love Devolution (Wii U, 3DS, PC)

NOITU_BOXOne of the things I like about reviewing games is learning about certain series that I would’ve never had heard of before.  This is a good example.  Noitu Love was a computer game released in the mid-2000’s, and Devolution is the sequel.  It was actually released a good while back on PC, too, but now you can play it with touch screen controls on the Wii U and 3DS (Wii U version reviewed here).  It’s a 2-D action game that has a lot in common with 16 and 32-bit Treasure titles.

The game series is set in the future, and in the first game, a madman takes over with his army of smiling robots called Grinning Darns.  A green-clad fighter in a peacekeeping organization defeated him, and nobody heard from the madman since.  Hundreds of years later in the second game, the Grinning Darns have come back, and time periods from the Wild West, Feudal Japan, and more have been appearing in the city.  You play as Xoda Rap, a member of the same peacekeeping organization from the first game, and it’s up to you to save the day!

As Xoda Rap, you move left and right, duck, and jump with the D-pad.  But the rest of your actions use the touch screen.  Tap on an enemy and you’ll dash toward it.  Keep tapping to attack. You can swipe on the screen up, down, left, or right to perform special attacks like dashing and spinning.  Tap on certain hooks to hang onto them, and rub the screen to make a handy shield.  You can do other things, too, by holding on the touch screen, like charge shots and throwing enemies. 

The game really reminds me of classic Treasure titles like Gunstar Heroes and Silhouette Mirage, but it’s most like another title on the GBA called Astro Boy: Omega Factor (which is actually my favorite Treasure game).  And like those Treasure titles, you’ll fight spectacular giant bosses here.  Like in one battle, you must step on certain piano keys to make hammers drop on a boss.  In another, you must fight a robot dragon while running on a water wheel rolling down a river.  And you’ll also be chased by a steam locomotive that can transform into a jogging bipedal mech!

Unfortunately, this title also has a lot of Treasure game shortcomings as well.  One problem I have with Treasure games is that most of them are way too short, and only feel like half a game.  At only seven quick stages, this game feels the same way.  Also, many Treasure games are way too hard, and while I was able to make it through this new game, I couldn’t beat the last boss.  Don’t you hate that when you make it all the way though a game and can’t beat it because the last boss is too hard?

And while the controls worked better than I thought they would, there were times that they didn’t.  I could never get the hang of throwing enemies, and sometimes I’d tap-tap-tap to attack and my character would dash instead.  I think that’s one of the reasons why I couldn’t beat the last boss.  I like to play action games on a big screen, so that’s why I played this on the Wii U.  But I think it might be better to play it on the 3DS, since you’re directly tapping on the screen where all the action is.  I guess you could do that on the Wii U as well, and I certainly did, but it felt more jarring that way.  Also, you don’t have to play the first game to enjoy the sequel, but things in the second game make a whole lot more sense if you know about the first one (I actually watched a video of someone playing the first game before writing this review).

But other than that, I still had fun learning about this game and playing through most of it.  If you enjoy classic Treasure games and can look past the shortcomings, you should definitely check this one out as well. 


Kid Factor:

Noitu Love Devolution is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence.  While you do punch, kick, and zap enemies, you mostly battle just cartoony robots.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger gamers may find this game too difficult and may need help.

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