I received Noel the Mortal Fate as a review code. I want to thank Playism for the opportunity to review this title. That said, I will not let this sway my opinion of the game. This will be an honest review of the game.
Noel the Mortal Fate is a visual novel with some minor gaming elements to it. This is a book, and any gameplay, whether it be puzzles or boss fights, is a railroad you to a certain ending. The choices you make and any exploration available don’t matter. The puzzles and boss fights are simple, as the focus of this title is to tell a story. If you like manga or anime, this is a solid revenge plot with a lot of the anime tropes you are familiar with. I had a lot of fun with this title, but I understand that it isn’t for everyone.
Noel is a young prodigy pianist who has lost the most important piano competitions in her town. Angered by the loss, she is tricked into making a deal with the devil. Unbeknownst to her, the deal will restore her honor at the cost of her limbs. Caren, the devil she summons, takes pity on Noel and promises to help her get her revenge on the person who tricked her into making the deal. The game then follows Noel’s journey toward vengeance. This is a game full of interesting characters, epic fights, and devil pacts. Will Noel be able to exact her revenge? You will need to play to find out.
Gameplay-wise, this is a book. There is a lot of reading and no voice acting. The reading is occasionally broken up by puzzles, fights, and light exploration. I enjoyed the story, but I am speaking as an anime fan. The characters are unique and interesting, although some of them are anime archetypes. I loved the style of storytelling. Most of the story exists in 2D animated sprites, but they make it work. The use of flashbacks, fight scenes, music, and comic strips all come together to tell an engaging narrative. Boss encounters felt epic, character growth was exciting, and the flashbacks were woven in nicely. My only complaint would be with the translation. I noticed some grammatical errors and awkward phrasing, but none of it was unplayable.
I played this game on the Nintendo Switch and loved it. Undocked, the game runs great. The letters are easy to read, and the maps were very visible. When docked I used a controller. It was nice to have a bigger screen, but it isn’t necessary. In both modes, I preferred the d-pad for movement because it allowed for more control. Movement in this game is awkward, and I often overshot targets. The d-pad offers more control over the movement, but it isn’t perfect. The awkward movement added unnecessary difficulty to the puzzles and boss fights.
Overall, I enjoyed this game a lot. I liked the story and loved the music, but I wish the game offered meaningful choices to give it replayability. It would be nice to have multiple endings instead of being railroaded into one. Some of the gameplay feels like padding, like when you control a character to walk through a hallway. That said, I still enjoyed it. There was enough world-building where I wasn’t lost or overwhelmed. The characters were interesting and memorable. I ended up becoming very invested in the narrative, often rooting for the heroin’s success.
This is a niche game. If you like anime and visual novels, this is a solid one. If you are curious about the genre, Noel the Mortal Fate is a nice starting point. The story is interesting but easy to follow, the characters are unique and well developed, and it isn’t overly sexualized. Just know that you aren’t buying a game, but a novel with gaming elements.