Originally released as a serialization in Game Magazine in 2016, Noel The Mortal Fate saw a total of seven seasons be released as well comic version and a novelization, it even had a drama CD released in 2019 featuring a selection of famous voice actors. It's developer KANAWO has now created a remade version for consoles! Published by Playism, I honestly had never heard of the series until I tried it out on Xbox, so let's see what its all about.
This Console edition now supports full HD so the seasons look better than ever and with updated UI, story and dialogue, plus the inclusion of a bonus season (3.5) this really is the best way to experience the game (at least to season 7 as season 8 and 9 have been released on PC too)!
The story takes place in the fictional town of Lhaplus. Noel Cerquetti, the daughter of a prestigious family, takes part in a piano competition to decide the pianist for the city’s memorial ceremony, fancying herself the clear winner. Little does she know that the competition was rigged by a mysterious party, and would lead her down a tragic path. Racked by guilt, she nevertheless agrees to a contract with the devil Caron and ends up losing her arms and legs in the deal, in order to get revenge on those who wronged her by sacrificing herself. The events that follow will drag Noel into the growing darkness that surrounds Lhaplus, where she will experience first hand the grief and hatred of those who have been caught up in the machinations of devils. It's quite the intriguing storyline and the characters are pretty well written. The relationship between the main character Noel and the devil Caron is one that changes and grows as the story progresses. Each of the season is around two hours long and continue to expand and add to the story as you work through them. I think its worth mentioning that the seasons don't seem to be connected in terms of inventory, as when you start a new season the things you collected in the one prior will not be there, it's definitely worth knowing so you can use all of your items in the season you got them.
Gameplay wise its a mix of genres and is made in the style of an interactive visual novel. You have the standard top-down classic 2D rpg style gameplay (in all its pixel art glory) for navigating around the areas. As this was made with RPG Maker it does limit the overall mechanics that could be included, but it does feature pretty basic gameplay mechanics, a variety of different puzzles that need to be worked through (with the majority of these being basic platforming based puzzles), stealth sections and also combat encounters. The combat is the weakest area of the game with it requiring you to run around avoiding/tagging enemies to deal damage. It does get better as the seasons progress with slight improvements, but it never feels truly enjoyable.
At the end of each of the season there are also boss fights, these bosses have some fantastic art design. The visual novel dialogue sections are the highpoint of the game, not only is it well written, with great characters, but the character art and text overlays are top notch. It is just a shame there is no actual voice acting on offer, you will have to imagine what the characters sound like! But these visual novel sections take up the majority of the game time so there are no complaints from me.
Noel The Mortal Fate is your typical Visual Novel meets JRPG style game. You're probably going to get about 15-17 hours of gameplay if you play through everything on offer and the story/writing should keep you interested throughout. To say this is an indie dev RPG Maker made game it definitely feels like one of the best I have played. It has decent enough visuals, but the character portrait art stands above everything else and looks fantastic. Just bear in mind that this is not the full story (as more seasons have since been released) and alot of your choices don't seem to make much change on the overall outcome of the story.
Noel the Mortal Fate was released onto the Xbox store on the 26th July 2022 for the price of £20.99. Playable on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S an PC with Xbox Play Anywhere. You can grab the game HERE. The game is also available on other consoles. A copy of the game was provided for this review. A big thank you for that!