Developers are able to do unusual or unexpected things with Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U games, thanks to the systems’ respective touchscreens. It lets them, and us, think differently when it comes to how games could be controlled. Noitu Love: Devolution is one of the games that perfectly shows how well an unusual game can adapt to these two systems.
Noitu Love: Devolution, for those who might be unfamiliar, is the work of Joakim “Konjak” Sandberg. Originally released on Windows PCs, players follow a young woman named Xoda Rap. She’s a Peacekeeper tasked with the city from Darn robots made by Darnacus. Their appearance comes at the same time as odd tears in time that are making parts of the city look like they did back in the time of the original Noitu Love and are accompanied by the breakout and reappearance of Rilo Doppelori, a robotic doppelganger of Lori, Noitu Love’s girlfriend.
The original was a unique action game that relied upon the keyboard controls for movement and mouse for attacks and defense. This meant someone playing either the original Noitu Love or Noitu Love: Devolution needed to constantly be aiming, moving, and clicking with the mouse, all while using your other hand to keep Xoda in action. It’s the sort of game that would be impossible to play with a standard controller.
Enter the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U. I’ve been playing Noitu Love: Devolution on the console and it’s the sort of game that makes wonderful use of the Gamepad, because it can mimic the PC control scheme. You control Xoda, or one of the other characters after you unlock them, with both the action buttons and touchscreen. The directional pad and analog stick move Xoda around the screen, with an option to also use the Gamepad’s triggers for jumps. You take the stylus to the screen for everything else.
I’d actually played the PC version of Noitu Love: Devolution prior to getting into the Nintendo Wii U port, and I prefer its setup. Triggering moves and attacks feels easier with the stylus. Aiming is effortless, putting up shields becomes second nature, and pulling off special attacks is just so comfortable. A flick of the stylus and you’re all set. I actually felt like it increased the pace of the game, which is an absolute bonus. Noitu Love has always been about going through levels as quickly and efficiently as possible. While using a mouse did offer an incredibly accurate experience, there was something so much more satisfying about flicking to perform a special or rubbing to place a shield.
Offscreen play helped increase the comfort level. Noitu Love: Devolution fit so well in the palm of my hands. There was something about seeing all of the enemies right there and being able to actually tap exactly on them. It made things feel a bit more tangible somehow. I felt more involved with every activity, because it was right there. I did feel like I needed to rest the Gamepad on my knee while I played, since it could get a little heavy and I needed the stability to really pull off some involved combos, but it was still quite an accommodating setup.
Here’s the thing about Noitu Love: Devolution. It’s a great game, but the control scheme is what really makes it pop. Even with its retro inspirations and beat’em up roots, the targeted attacks and unexpected setup make it stand out. So much so that it almost seemed like it couldn’t fit anywhere else. But, that unusual gimmick helps it fit perfectly on the Nintendo Wii U. Combining the touchscreen and offscreen option lets you have an incredibly accurate and fast paced experience, making it easy to put together rapid speedruns and incredible combos.
Noitu Love: Devolution is now available for the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U.