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Noita is very good even if you are very bad at it

Burn it all down

Noita is a big firework show, where the fireworks are heaps of gunpowder, exploding barrels of acid. The acid turns into steam in the heat of the blast and rises to condense on the cold cave roof, eventually falling back down as acid rain. Argh. This is a very dangerous firework show.

In this roguelike spellslinger where you play as a flying witch, every pixel is simulated, and can interact with every other pixel that ends up near it. Usually, these interactions result in spectacular death. They are, each of them, a tiny square of potential horror, and you help them along the road to disaster with spells that conjure many and varied effects. The game recently got experimental mod support, but I play the vanilla version and I am very bad at it. I've never even gotten past the fourth area. But Noita is so well designed that it's mad fun even when you're abjectly, embarrassingly awful at it. Here are some gifs to support that.

Despite the bombast of it all, probably my favourite thing to do in Noita is wait for a quiet moment, and then find something to set on fire. Then I stand and watch it, like that kid in the meme watching a burning house. Sometimes though, I don't have to wait. On this run, I found two huge repositories of gunpowder in the very first area, just waiting for annihilation. What's a gal to do???

I think fire is actually one of the easiest ways to start experimenting with the physics of the game. Wood burns faster than coal, they're both outstripped by the pace of burning oil, and gunpowder, as you can see, burns the fastest of all. If you don't have any combustible spells, you can shoot down lamps that hang from the ceiling and watch the oil in them spread and then catch from the open flame.

Here, I did exactly that to burn the wooden beams on this vat of acid.

Doing anything in Noita often results in more things happening, entirely outside of your control. The acid eventually bursting from the seams of the vat here is a great example of that, and a grand demonstration of how all the pixels in every fluid move separately. It's very satisfying, and doesn't expose my profound lack of skill.

Of course, the reason you have to do all these catastrophic things to the environment (or at least, your excuse), is that the place is crawling with acidfucks, shotgunzombles and murderwasps. No, I don't know their names. Play in a robust enough way, and you'll find that often, everything will already be on fire by the time you arrive. As the smoke clears, you become the world's messiest Columbo, trying to figure out what might have happened to cause a heap of rats to get set on fire, or rapidly piecing together the reason for the flood of acid headed in your direction.

In this next attempt I got as far as the third area, and was hanging on by the skin of my teeth when I flew into a team of jetpack-toting gun Valkyries who were already having a barney.

I started again, and ran into some kind of perambulatory chain gun in the same area. This time, however, I blew it the fuck up, because witches learn from their mistakes. Sometimes. Look at the way the ice under it gradually cracks and then breaks!

I was promptly killed soon after that, by a laughing skull that shot ice at me. When I started again, I almost immediately found an egg that, when broken, gave me a trio of flying purple people eaters. They loved me, loved me like I was their own mum. I brought them straight into the path of an unholy fire demon.

They all died, my brave flapping sons, but I escaped, and found a passive effect called AVENGING TENTACLES:

In the next run, I found a spell that let me conjure wet concrete, which I thought was hilarious, and immediately used it to replace my trusty explosion-causing wand.

Here you can see me forgetting I had done this and trying to explode my way through an ice wall:

In this one, I have no real idea what happened, except that somehow I turned into a giant worm with pincers. That was quite surprising.

Noita is very good.

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Alice Bell avatar

Alice Bell

Deputy Editor

Small person powered by tea and books; RPS's dep ed since 2018. Send her etymological facts and cool horror or puzzle games.