(Review) Nogalious

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Nogalious is unleashed on the world. “Nogalious is a 2D adventure with 5 universes created pixel by pixel, a vintage adventure inspired by the golden era of 8-bit video games.” There are a lot of games being made trying to recapture the nostalgia from classic games. The issue is, some of those games are only great with nostalgia. Capturing that initial feeling is tough. Does Nogalious maintain the fundamentals of what makes a 2D platformer while utilizing the classic aesthetics? Let me break it down for you.

The pixel work is very nice.

First and foremost, I do approve of the pixel-work involved here. It’s done with a simplistic look that gives you all of the details you need to figure out what is going on the screen, but isn’t overly detailed so that it will blow your mind. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there are some really crazy pixel art games these days that go way past using pixelated graphics for a retro look and use them as more of an aesthetic look. The color variety is fantastic and if you couldn’t figure it out, I’m fond of the look they went for in Nogalious. It’s not the nicest looking game out there, but as I stated in the intro, if the goal was to make a game that looked like what was released near the NES reign: nailed it!

Patch one thing, break another. Today I discovered that scrolling back through my weapons pulls this up while not pausing the game while scrolling forward asks me if I would like to quit the game.

Unfortunately, there is one thing that they duplicated as well. That would be the control-scheme. It’s funky that I can reprogram the controls in-game, but for some reason can’t choose to use the D-Pad instead of the Joystick. What’s up with that? I really think it would work smoother if this could be changed. However, even if they did fix this, there are times where the controls just didn’t make sense. There are similar platforms to jump on, some you can’t jump through while others don’t pose that problem. It’s not visually apparent until you hit your head on it like a kaizo block. The jumping is also not always as smooth as I feel it should be. There are times where you can jump farther than you need, which is great, but when you need to jump over a chasm it can get iffy at best. Bad guys can and will spawn on top of you causing a death. The tutorial isn’t a perfect example of how the game works with enemies and weapons (with certain weapons not being able to kill specific enemies) because they want to teach you how to use something specific while not making that clear. There are also times when the hit-boxes feel a bit too large which will lead to another death via a baddie or a hitting your head on a ceiling and falling. The last thing is that enemies in-game (non-tutorial) that you can’t kill because: reasons. That bothers me. Why can’t you kill the birds? Why do I lose some items when I die and not others? Why make an entrance to an area next to something that can kill the player?

You may not be able to see it, but there is a bird to the left of the rad hanging bat. I hate him.

Once you realize what Nogalious is, it’s easier to accept. It’s a hard-core platformer disguised as soft. If you go into the game knowing that, you can prepare yourself for what is to come. There will be things that will kill you even though you don’t think they should… like larger water drops… while it’s raining outside. If you don’t know this fact, you may want to treat it like a Mario game where you run around grabbing the items, exploring areas and getting to the end all willy-nilly. Don’t do that. Have patience and learn what kills you. In most of the classic games I remember, there were patterns that you could count on. In Nogalious, you need to wait and see what moves and what doesn’t. You can learn where the spawn points are so you don’t run into them. Learn when you need to enter a different screen swinging your sword so that you’ll kill something that you’ll be walking right into. Which areas have water right at the start so you don’t walk into the water and die. Patience is key here; use it to get the keys. That being said, I did just get off of a round and a monster spawned on a screen over and popped into me on a different screen. This game upsets me.

Further Reading on Nogalious: FacebookOfficial Page / SteamTwitter

Nothing I read led me to believe Nogaolious would be a hard-core platforming experience. From the way it plays, I don’t think it’s meant to be either. That being said, it does remind me of some NES games that just felt off. However, having played Nogalious with a patient mindset, I’m able to progress farther and appreciate it more. At the same time, Nogalious isn’t my type of game. The game looks great, but the controls feel too clunky a good chunk of the time. While I admit it’s a harder platformer than I was expecting, I’m not one to walk away from a challenge. Yet I have issues with hit-boxes (mine/enemy/environment) every of the time I play. Some issues, once you realize the things you can’t do (for some reason or another) can be overcome with a bit of patience as I’ve said. After that, you may find some enjoyment here. However, I’ve also had the game freeze on me when picking up one of those blue-flaming Swiss rolls. When things like that happen after what it takes to get there, it’s hard not to Alt+F4 and not want to turn it back on quickly. All these things can be patched and some improvements have already been made, but currently, it’s a too frustrating for me.

Love it or hate it, let me know!