I have died about a hundred times over the last week. I have been blown up, shot, drowned, burned, frozen, and taken more than one acid bath. I have been crushed by falling debris, electrocuted, and had my own wand backfire and spread my guts across the wall like a Pollock painting.

Noita is a game about dying. You could say this about most roguelike games, but Noita’s deaths are so spectacular and often unexpected that it really does become the most enjoyable part of the game. I found myself giggling as what was left of my body oozes into a puddle of flaming oil and blood, and the game’s GIF maker ensures you can capture these hilarious deaths and share them with your friends.

Noita’s premise is familiar; a procedurally generated map filled with enemies to fight and loot to pick up. One quirk thrown into the mix is that every particle on the map is physically simulated. Water flows, fire spreads, and loose dirt gets kicked up as you walk over it. The game’s enemies are quite varied, with gun wielding humanoids accompanied by flying skulls and acid spewing blobs. The loot comes in three forms; gold, wands, and flasks.

Gold can be used between levels to buy wands or spells. Wands are your main weapon in the game, they come preloaded with various spells and modifiers which you can customize between levels. Flasks contain liquids with effects such as invisibility, polymorph, and berserking damage boosts or can take the form of flasks of water or oil. Flasks can be thrown to expel their contents in one shot or can be sprayed with more finesse to create puddles where you want them or to put yourself out while on fire. You can also acquire perks between levels, which will improve your character’s abilities or give them new features (such as having flaming oil for blood).

An interesting feature of Noita is the fact that all the maps are connected. While you can take the usual route of getting to the bottom of the map and taking a portal to the between-map temple, there are also alternate routes that will allow you to directly move between maps and even backtrack. The game is packed with secrets and easter eggs that will require backtracking or finding special items in these secret paths. One example is a lake of fire that can be found at the far right of the first map. By using a water flask or other method of cooling the lava, you can traverse to the other side of the lake and find an entrance to the third map, completely bypassing the second. There are also secret maps that only seem accessible by digging through the edges of the map with the right wand type.

Noita is a tough-as-nails roguelike who’s particle simulation ensures that chaos can erupt at any moment. You could be having a good run one minute and then be on fire drowning in a pool of acid in seconds because your stray wand shot started a chain reaction of explosions and showers of flaming coal. It feels like a complete game already and hopefully its time in early access will continue to add features to turn up the chaos factor to eleven. At less than $25 CAD, I would suggest Noita to anyone who is a fan of roguelikes and I would doubly suggest it to anyone a fan of physics simulations driving gameplay.

~~S.W. Jackson~~

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