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Platform roguelike Noita's pixel sorcery still impresses

A game of ice and fire

I've always loved the concept of completely physics-driven worlds in games, but so few have gotten it right. While others have tried and failed, I've got high hopes for upcoming platformy roguelike Noita, especially after its appearance at E3's PC Gaming Show. Within, an exciting little trailer showing off enormously detailed environmental destruction, pixel-on-pixel violence, some impressive lighting effects and all silky smooth to boot, despite every single pixel being its own physically defined object.

Adam got to try an early build of Noita at GDC this year, and came away more than a little excited, describing it as 'how Spelunky looks in my dreams', and the new footage only drives that feeling home further. As with Spelunky, Noita looks exceptionally deadly, with every enemy having a dozen different ways of killing you, plus a hundred more that just happen to be accidental interactions with the environment. Not many games out there where a stray shot can cause a rock-face to crumble, dumping you in a sea of bubbling lava.

Cover image for YouTube video

I also notice that Noita's gameplay trailer above shows the game running at a solid 60fps - this suggests that whatever code sorcery Nolla Games have worked on it, it's allowing for all this interactivity without overloading the CPU. Those who remember Data Realms' similarly ambitious Cortex Command will recall that it can bring even modern PCs to its knees, due to its single-threaded physics engine - presumably, no such limits exist here.

Developers Nolla Games are a small outfit, but a bit of an all-star trio. The game is coming to us from Petri Purho (creator of Crayon Physics), Olli Harjola (The Swapper) and Arvi 'Hempuli' Teikari (Environmental Station Alpha, Baba Is You). Their combined artistic chops, love of small but readable pixel-art and experience with physics engines gives me hope that this one will succeed where others struggle. If nothing else, it looks like a game where losing can be fun.

There's sadly no release date for Noita yet ('When It's Done', say Nolla), but you can wishlist it and ogle a few more screenshots and animated GIFs over on the Steam store page here.

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Dominic Tarason