Little Witch Nobeta – Review
Follow Genre: Souls-like, shooter
Developer: Pupuya Games, Simon Creative
Publisher: Idea Factory
Platforms: PC, Switch, PS4
Tested on: Switch

Little Witch Nobeta – Review

Site Score
Good: Boss battles are challenging but fun at lower difficulty
Bad: Frame rate issues on the Switch version
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 2.0/10 (2 votes cast)

While the latest Bayonetta title is still fresh in our minds, a new young witch is already contending for our attention on the Nintendo Switch. Little Witch Nobeta, a game that was first released as an Early Access title on Steam in 2020, has recently made its way onto both the PS4 and Switch. The PC version of the game garnered high praise, leaving us intrigued and excited to see what all the buzz is about. Does Little Witch Nobeta conjure up a magical adventure or is the game double double, toil and trouble?


While we can’t outright say that Little Witch Nobeta doesn’t have a story at all, what’s here is the most vague and barebones attempt at a narrative that we’ve seen in a long time. The eponymous Nobeta and her sassy feline companion find themselves inside a massive castle and must make their way toward the throne. Why our protagonist needs to do this isn’t made entirely clear. There are cutscenes, but the dialogue in these is so poorly written that it’s difficult to make sense of them. It’s clear that whatever story Little Witch Nobeta is trying to tell was an afterthought. That wouldn’t be an issue if the game made up for this lack of polished narrative by excelling when it comes to its gameplay, but as you’ll find out a bit further down, Little Witch Nobeta also drops the ball there. We should probably also mention that a half-hearted attempt was made to flesh out the lore by attaching bits of backstory to the items and weapons that Nobeta picks up, but before you can access these, you’ll need to dive deep into the game’s menu, so many players will miss out on these story-related snippets.


While we appreciate anime aesthetics in general, and don’t even mind a bit of occasional fan service, Little Witch Nobeta pushes the bar a bit too far, venturing into creepy territory. This especially applies to our heroine herself, who is a young child. The game is gratuitous when it comes to showing skin, even though no actual nudity is ever shown. With the exception of the first one, boss characters are invariably depicted as scantily clad anime girls, and a variety of unlockable outfits for our heroine includes things like a bathing suit. Because many of the characters are children, Little Witch Nobeta’s fanservice comes across as outright perverted. To make matters worse, these characters are juxtaposed against bland 3D environments that lack variation, and the game’s visual performance is abysmal, with a frame rate that cannot keep up with the on-screen action. We can’t vouch for the other platforms that Little Witch Nobeta is available on, but the Switch port of the game underperforms when it comes to its graphics.


Given that Little Witch Nobeta only features Japanese voice acting, it’s entirely possible that a lot of the nuances of the main story are lost in translation. The voice cast does a fairly decent job of communicating character emotions during the cutscenes, although we didn’t always feel like what we heard necessarily matched what we read. The game’s music matches the atmosphere of the game, but we did feel like the audio loops were a bit short and became repetitive after a while.


The core idea behind Little Witch Nobeta’s gameplay is interesting, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. What you’re getting here is a Souls-like shooter, with Nobeta having access to a set of ranged elemental spells, supplemented by a melee attack. The aim of the game is to make it to that aforementioned throne but before you can reach it, there is a full castle worth of enemies to deal with first. Naturally, there are tons of basic grunts, but the combat aspects of the game are mostly defined by the boss fights. These aren’t the only obstacles that Nobeta has to deal with, as making your way through the castle itself involves basic platforming and solving simple environmental puzzles. While Little Witch Nobeta isn’t going to win any originality awards, it does tick all the boxes of what makes a good Souls-like game, so we’re left wondering what actually went wrong here.

The game gets its basic functionality right, at least. Button inputs are responsive, which is essential for the fast-paced boss battles, and the control scheme is simple enough to get to grips with. In addition to her offensive moves, Nobeta is able to perform a roll to dodge enemy attacks, which is important when facing bosses that carry instakill attacks. Meanwhile, players will have to keep an eye out for Nobeta’s different stats, including HP, of course, but also MP. It’s also important to keep an eye on her stamina stat, as running out of stamina causes the young witch to fall over, which invariably leads to yet another creepy fanservice moment as she flashes her underwear. Nobeta’s spells can be upgraded as you progress through the game, and although they differ in range and effect, you can generally make your way through by sticking with whatever spell has been upgraded the most. The only part of the game where spell choice matters is when you’re trying to make your way past the handful of environmental puzzles that the game throws at you. Casting spells requires mana but this generally regenerates fast enough so you’ll only have to rely on your melee attack as a last-ditch effort.

Dealing with non-boss enemies feels more like a chore than a challenge. Ranged damage caused by these enemies is very limited and close combat enemies are easy enough to dodge and then deal with as they recover from their attack. The game does offer a higher difficulty setting, but there is a huge disparity between grunts and bosses, and ramping things up so that grunt encounters are more enjoyable, results in boss encounters that feel outright unbalanced. Granted, Little Witch Nobeta is a Souls-like game, so bosses in particular should feel like a challenge, but things are taken a bit too far here. Some bosses even carry instant kill attacks, which becomes an egregious affair when you realize that you’ll have to fight your way past a bunch of generic enemies before you can give the boss another shot. It’s a shame because, in a vacuum, boss battles are easily the best gameplay aspect here, but you’ll need to deal with too many grunts to make the overall experience worth recommending.

We already mentioned the abysmal frame rate when talking about Little Witch Nobeta’s visuals, but there are other issues that make the game feel like a less-than-polished mess. For one, there is a physics glitch present that can cause Nobeta to fall ‘through’ the floor, resulting in death. Another issue comes in the form of Nobeta being knocked back, either by enemy attacks or by casting a spell herself. These knockbacks occasionally push you into lava, resulting in instant death. It’s possible that the lava mechanics were deliberately designed to work like this, but the end result adds to the overall feeling of clunkiness that is present in various aspects of the game’s design.

We’d probably be more forgiving about Little Witch Nobeta’s flaws if the things that the game gets right were fun enough, but there is nothing here that is interesting enough to get you hooked. Little Witch Nobeta isn’t just lacking fun either, as the game could have benefited from more content to justify the eye-watering €49.99 price tag. Unfortunately, the game can be completed in around six hours, with completionists having around ten hours’ worth of game time to look forward to. It’s clear that developers Pupuya Games and Simon Creative are banking on the appeal of the character designs to draw in an audience, but given how the fan service factor plays into this, we’re not sure we approve of this approach either.


We’re not sure whether our expectations were too high, or if too many compromises had to be made to get Little Witch Nobeta running on the Switch, but the game failed to impress us. The barebones story, lackluster grunt fights, and reliance on fan service add up to a Souls-like that fails to put the fun in functional. Add to this that the game’s performance is abysmal and that some of the boss fights feel outright unfair, and you’ve got a game that simply isn’t worth your time or your hard-earned cash, especially given the almost extortionate asking price.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 2.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Little Witch Nobeta - Review, 2.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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