Noreya: The Gold Project Review | PC

Despite being a stunning-looking game, Noreya: The Golden Project is far from being conventional in the Metroidvania genre.

By AtillaTuran, Posted 02 Jul 2024

Nowadays, when a game with a 2D side-scrolling aspect shows up, most people cater to the feeling that the game has to have roguelike elements. Sprinkled with the basic approach of trial-and-error, starting from the beginning and perma deaths, it has become slightly annoying. On the other hand, though, some other developers still think that the subgenre of Metroidvania is still worth visiting and experimenting with.


Noreya: The Gold Project, Review, Gameplay, Metroidvania, Side-Scroller, 2D Platformer, NoobFeed
 

For the uninitiated, Metroidvania is a term coined by combining classic Nintendo Entertainment System games: Castlevania and Metroid. These two games had a similar approach to their core gameplay, which was to return to the areas that you went through as a weak character with more items and abilities equipped. It would create more engaging gameplay for the players while keeping them intact with the world- and for developers, it would cut down on resources too.

While the companies are still rushing to bring some Metroidvania’s to the mainstream once again, it’s not common to see them as the market gets bloated with many iterations of runner or roguelike type of 2D platformers. Metroidvania on the other hand, kept royal to its roots and still can deliver solid gameplay despite its ancient background. One of the new iterations of Metroidvanias on the market is Noreya: The Gold Project, and it has both ups and downs when it comes to creating the sense of playing a classic retro game.

Unlike other Metroidvanias, Noreya: The Gold Project barely has a story. Taking a look at the classics from the 90s, they usually employed great themes such as vampires or sci-fi with epic stories to follow. But in Noreya: The Gold Project, it is as simple as a warrior destined to choose the faith of the Earth by choosing good or evil sides.

Forged with God’s power, our main character seems to be immortal as she never fails to regain back her consciousness and continues to march towards her goal. In the first instance, we meet one of the gods of the realm she lives in, we get a glimpse of what our destiny is going to be about, which is to spread awareness of the gods by putting their statues in the places we discover. However, this can be also changed with upcoming gods and their plan to spread their awareness as well.


Noreya: The Gold Project, Review, Gameplay, Metroidvania, Side-Scroller, 2D Platformer, NoobFeed
 

The first god we encounter, the God of Greed, plays the evil side of our story while upcoming gods tend to be more on the good side of humanity. It is totally up to the player to choose which side they want to partake in, which is a great change from stable and linear Metroidvania games.

Although Noreya: The Gold Project might seem like a suitable way to enjoy Metroidvania titles from afar, some problems emerge right away once you start diving into the gameplay aspect. Sure, the game has quite an impressive way of showcasing its artistic approach, whether it be the pixel art or the soundtrack, but when it comes to providing mechanics for the gameplay, it kind of falls short.

The idea is that the Metroidvania games build too much onto the fighting aspect, they don’t usually provide any way to evade or dodge enemy attacks. Consequently, Noreya: The Gold Project has the same take on the genre, albeit with a pathetic sword attack that barely covers any area in front of our character. Compared to other Metroidvanias, which included long-range options for the main character’s attacks, a puny sword slash makes it harder for players to arrange an attack pattern.

This problem also evolves into a bigger one with how the main character controls, which got me confused in the first few minutes. The jump is comparatively different if it's executed on the edges as sometimes the character can’t clear certain gaps. But if you happen to press jump on the exact place, the gaps can be cleared with lots of places to spare in the space you landed on, so it is somewhat unpredictable whether the jump you are trying to execute is possible, to begin with.


Noreya: The Gold Project, Review, Gameplay, Metroidvania, Side-Scroller, 2D Platformer, NoobFeed
 

Not everything Noreya: The Gold Project is a downer though, as I mentioned earlier, the visual and sound design is completely perfect and suited well for what it is trying to accomplish. On top of that, the title also provides a well-balanced skill tree to build upon as well as the levels that are easy to navigate through. Believe me when I say it is easy to navigate because, unlike old Metroidvania games, Noreya: The Gold Project actually has a map you can check if you ever get lost.

I am thoroughly glad of the involvement of maps because back in the day if anyone wanted to? continue their journey on 2D side-scroller games, they had to actually draw maps onto the paper to memorize paths and items’ locations. On Noreya: The Gold Project, the map comes along nicely once you start discovering places, and some important bits are highlighted too, such as statues and items.

Talking about statues, they are the only safe place for our character as she can only upgrade her skill tree and heal at the same time. The healing part of the game is sort of borrowed from roguelikes as you do not get a simple heal-up with a press of a button. Healing actually takes a few seconds to kick in, therefore amidst the battle, trying to get healed is a dangerous move more than anything. 

What made me quite confused was when I was eligible to get healed and when I wasn’t, which was hard to understand because the game doesn’t let you know if you are eligible to summon healing- it wouldn’t show what caused me to be able to heal during certain times too so. Combined with the unclear hits that certain enemies can take, Noreya: The Gold Project becomes a guessing game rather than a basic recreation of Metroidvania.


Noreya: The Gold Project, Review, Gameplay, Metroidvania, Side-Scroller, 2D Platformer, NoobFeed
 

Since the lack of evade and dodge gives the players a hard time navigating through enemies, it also makes it hard to adjust your movement around the hazards as well. Sure, the enemies do have attack patterns but it's anyone’s guess when they are going to attack and when it is going to register, as your moves have to be frame-perfect. Getting hit by enemies is, as expected, dangerous, but in addition to odd movement and non-existent ways to move away from danger, the title requires getting used to.

Talking about getting used to it, you should also get used to using the keyboard once again because surprisingly, there is no controller support on Noreya: The Gold Project. Although it advertises that it includes controller support, it was quite a disappointment when I was forced to use a keyboard. These sorts of games have the legendary status of a controller being used for smooth movement and combat output but it seems like developers have to work on bringing some controller support to make their titles more enjoyable to some degree.

For its current state, Noreya: The Gold Project is at least playable. The level designs are well thought out and can intervene without disrupting the flow, and its open-world nature allows players to start from any side they like. Though, as I said, this is a Metroidvania game, you will have to go back to some places and use the newly acquired mechanics, such as tactical dashes or wall jumps, to reach areas that were deemed unreachable at the beginning of the game.



 

With the strong presentation, Noreya: The Gold Project might draw you in, but be aware of some of the clunkiness that gets delivered to you regardless of your taste on 2D side-scroller and platformer games. Luckily, the current times allow you to reach out to developers and give your feedback too, so depending on some of the community requests, some problems we mentioned earlier can be reduced or completely wiped out in the future.


Atilla Turan (@burningarrow)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): Pixel Heart
Developer(s): Dreamirl
Genres: 2D Platformer
Themes: Metroidvania
Release Date: 2024-06-21

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