Seems these days I find myself drawn to games in which trusted adults ultimately screw over aspiring young adults hoping to make a mark on the world. First with Monark and now again in Noel the Mortal Fate. The Nintendo Switch version of Noel the Mortal Fate collects the first seven seasons of Noel and Caron’s story into a nice, neat package and spruces it up for the console.
Noel’s dream of becoming the town’s ceremonial concert pianist is shattered when the title goes to her best friend. Instead of being happy for her, Noel wholeheartedly believes that there was a conspiracy to keep her from that glory. Surely Mayor Burrows, the youngest mayor in Lhaplus’ history, only wants what is best for the city. Which is why Noel trusts him enough to humor a clandestine meeting in the middle of the night in a seedy part of town. Blinded by her desire to be the very best, Noel’s life is about to be forever changed, and there is no going back.
Burrows tells Noel that a new company making inroads in Lhaplus is responsible for her losing by a single vote. If not for its CEO, Noel would be the ceremonial pianist and not her best friend Jillian. So he urges her to do something illegal. Make a deal with the devil, kill the CEO, and the pianist position will be hers. She knows it is considered a crime to make deals such as these. But the desire to be the best drives her to do the unthinkable. Summoning the devil Caron, Noel makes the bargain while unaware of the cost. When Caron realizes Noel is yet another innocent bystander roped into making contracts that strengthen Burrows’ position, an unlikely duo is formed for the sole act of seeking vengeance.
Noel the Mortal Fate is very story-heavy. Featuring newer translations, Noel and Caron’s journey to topple Burrows’ empire is a rather engaging one. There’s such an interesting cast of characters crisscrossing their path. Friends become enemies, and enemies become unlikely partners. Some have secret pasts to discover. It’s all very well written. It’s no wonder that the game a large following that resulted in a novelization and a drama CD. The worst part of playing it was waiting for my Switch to charge so I could get back to it.
Noel the Mortal Fate notes that this version is enhanced with updated graphics and a cleaner user interface for Switch players. From time to time, I have caught a glimpse of slow loading, generally during moments of discussion in which the text box stutters for a brief second. The menus are simple and intuitive, and the UI isn’t as intrusive on the smaller screen with the new font sizes. There are some particularly dark sections of the game where it is extremely difficult to see where you are heading. Nothing a brightness setting couldn’t help. All in all, it looks crisp and clear on the Switch
When you aren’t reading lots of dialogue, odds are you’re sneaking into buildings on your way to boss battles. Exploring Lhaplus’ nooks and crannies with the left analog stick might not be the way to go; I’ve noticed that using it makes the character movement feel too loose. I could control Noel and Caron better with the D-pad. And there are plenty of times when you do not want loose controls, like when you have limited steps to find cover or are trying to land back attacks during a boss battle. I will say that the addition of rumble is a welcome one. It’s satisfying to have that feedback when I land a hit or am running through explosions during an escape.
The Switch version adds a few new features to Noel the Mortal Fate. There’s a new theme and accompanying opening video, which is rather gorgeous, and the aforementioned controller rumble. But there is one very important upgrade available for Switch players that I think is the real draw. A brand new season Season 3.5 set between the events of Seasons 3 and 4 offers up a nice bit of respite for our anti-heroes. My only problem with this addition is that it isn’t accessible until you finish Season 7, and thus ruined the continuity flow for me. If I could ask for one thing, it would be an update/patch that shifts it into chronological order.
Should you choose to spend precious gaming hours with Noel the Mortal Fate do so knowing that this game is a real investment, of time and occasionally patience. If narrative-heavy games aren’t your style, Noel and Caron’s journey isn’t for you. If they are, strap in and keep a charge cable nearby.
Noel the Mortal Fate is available for PC and Nintendo Switch.