Noitu Love Review

Here is a game that many indie gamers will have played or at least known of, but since I plan of featuring some of Konjak's games Noitu Love (Evolution spelt backwards) is the best place to start. Although Joakim Sandberg aka Konjak is not as well known outside the hardcore indie gamer circles as say Cave Story's Pixel or Cactus the man behind Clean Asia, he has more then earned his place among the kings of indie freeware developers with his the novel mouse based shooter Chalk and of cause Noitu Love 1 and 2 (NL2 is commercial). What really makes his games stand out is that although they are fun to play.Similer to Pixel, Konjak's games have the same level of polish as commercial indie games which is different from most freeware developers who will just create a rough diamond with simple graphics and game play, Once they have the core of the game made they will then quickly move onto creating another game. Because of this Konjak doesn't have that many titles under his belt compared to Cactus and Kento Cho.

Now onto the game, Noitu Love is a fun title that fans of the old Mega Man NES games will instantly recognise. Instead of shooting though Noitu uses short range attacks that makes at more akin to a 2D beat'em up instead of a run 'n gunner. Noitu makes his way across the stage beating up waves of enemies. To mix up the gameplay, you can change into different forms at special 'evomatic machines'. The forms are a monkey who can jump high but has no attack, advanced human who can blast objects with is mind and lately a bird who like the monkey has no attacks but can fly to inaccessible places the other forms cant. Thia gameplay mechanic is no just a gimmick but is very well implemented due to the good level design that need you to use the different forms to progress.

There are 6 stages in total although the last stage is only the boss battle. With each stage quite unique from the other stages especially stage 4 which has you riding a rocket in a vertical shoot em up eske style. I found the game to be of medium difficulty, where I needed a couple of play throughs to complete where I had difficulty getting passed certain bosses. There are higher levels of difficulty to make the game harder but all it does is add more heath to the baddies so they need more hits to kill. The hardest settings (hardest mode has to be unlocked) I found the baddies needing so many hits to kill that the game became too tedious for my tastes. While I'm on the subject of negative points, thee game is keyboard only which I found to be a pain when I played the game over a year ago. Since then I've discovered the brilliant keyboard to joystick profiller that is Xpadder (it's really quick and easy to setup) Another basic thing NL is lacking is a in game way to change the game from the default small windowed mode to fullscreen. Luckily all you need to press is alt and enter but allot of people don't know that trick and will be annoyed due to the window been in such a small resolution.

The things I do like which putting the game into context, that of it been a freeware is a heck of allot more then points I hate about Noitu Love. The first is the graphics which maybe basic have that lovely retro NES look and charm to them. The sprites are all small which is what I prefer as that enhances the gameplay in my opinion (just think of more playable megaman on the NES compaired to the larger SNES sprites). The music is all nicely done and very fitting with the retro graphics although the volume is very loud (I have to go into control panels volume control and turn down the wave balance since the lowest master volume setting is still to loud). The controls are ok with the normal form noitu having 3 attacks; a fire punch, a uppercut (that sends enemies flying into the air) and a sort of a spinning jump kick (useful for crowd control).By far the best aspect of NL is the boss fights that you will have mid stage and at the end of each level. The bosses are very nicely designed in that you have to find out a certain method to kill them. For example the end of level 2 boss where you have to change into the monkey form unable the jump on a button situated at the top of the boss, then change back into your normal form so you can damage him. These boss fights are what makes NL such a polished game that harks back to the 8/16 bit era of boss fights like Sonic and Sparkstar.

Noitu Love been freeware is a gift to us all and would be a shame not to play as it is by far one of the best freeware games out there. Just make sure you download Xpadder aswell. 4.2 out of 5.

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