Noel the Mortal Fate
The Anime-Inspired Epic Makes Its Way To The Xbox
In 2016, developer and creator Kanawo released Noel the Mortal Fate on PC using the program RPG Maker as its base. Originally a solo effort, the title was met with much acclaim that it spun a series of itself, split into chapters known as "seasons." Console ports would begin releasing in 2022, six years later, beginning with the Nintendo Switch in February. In June, a PS4 version was released and finally, on July 25th, the Xbox One and Microsoft Store saw their own versions, rounding out the three major consoles.
The console ports are different from the original PC version with its own unique menu system tailor-made with controller support in mind. Most of the gameplay elements are responsively translated from mouse and keyboard to a gamepad, which I'll get to when discussing Noel's gameplay. Perhaps the biggest difference is that only the first seven seasons are currently available, with seasons 8 and 9 being PC exclusive for the time being.
Noel the Mortal Fate is an ongoing story with season 9 being the latest, released in 2020. While it may be some time for the console versions to see these seasons, the upgraded HD art and scenes make the console version up to par if not better than the PC release in some ways. Part of my interest in wanting to cover the Nintendo Switch version is because I'm a huge fan of story-intensive narrative-driven games. The Nintendo Switch has been a champion in hosting such games, as one can read up on the "Otome" tag for more information.
Having played Noel the Mortal Fate while docked on the OLED Switch and in portable mode via the Switch Lite, the experience was equal in terms of gameplay. I've mentioned the benefits of the Switch's portability are "finding somewhere comfortable" and becoming engaged with a good story. Noel the Mortal Fate certainly begins with such a premise and by the time the first season is complete, I was already locked in for more of her adventures moving forward.
Due to the nature of the beast that is Noel the Mortal Fate, there will be Season 1 spoilers but it's needed to explain the context of how deep the story can get.
Noel Cerquetti is a teenage girl who belongs to a wealthy and prominent family and is the daughter of two renowned pianists. Wanting to continue the Cerquetti legacy, she trained her entire life to become a piano virtuoso and enter the competition to have the chance to play at the memorial ceremony of Lhapuls. Unfortunately, despite being poised to win, her best friend Jillian wins the competition by a close decision. Angered that her years of training were all for nothing and dealing with lasting insecurities of needing to be perfect, Noel feverishly storms off.
While reflecting, the mayor of Lhapuls, Burrows, comforts Noel and tells her that there may have been a hint of foul play involved. If she were to find the truth as to why she lost the competition she was slated to win, she will have to go to a certain location around 2 AM that same day. What Noel finds out, however, is a summoning circle caused by Cybilla, Burrows' assistant. She tells Noel that the ones responsible for her losing the competition is the CEO of a powerful shipping company. All Noel has to do is summon the demon, tell them to kill the CEO, and then she will be declared the winner of the competition.
Unfortunately, as many have already expected, things do not go down as simple as planned. Noel summons Caron, a demon with a crow's head, who obliges. However, the price Noel pays for contracting with a great devil like this is her legs and arms. Shocked and confused, Noel barely hangs on to life as she is quickly disposed of by Cybilla, revealing that Burrows had no intention of appeasing Noel and used her as a pawn.
Caron, having seen enough, saves Noel from the brink of death, saying that his reasons were because Noel cried out for help. Since Caron is still under a pact, he obliges on the condition that she takes revenge for Burrows. The majority of Season 1 is Noel coming to terms that Burrows crossing her while also realizing that she has blood on her hands.
When her best friend is targetted for kidnapping in the attempt to lure out Noel, she comes to terms with her situation, fueled to stop Burrows from ruining more lives. It is here that the first season ends, earning her the title "The Mortal Fate," one who takes control of her destiny by fighting her mortality head-on.
Season 1 Spoilers End Here
The story was said to be taken from inspirations including Persona and Type Moon, the latter of which I can see for myself. Stories, where children are dealt a cruel fate and are used as pawns for adults who keep their hands clean by abusing the gullible youth, are always the ones where you are left with a simple message; All adults are jerks. In this case, demons or partners of the devils they form contracts with. It's Noel the Mortal Fate's gameplay that makes it a unique experience and not just a simple visual novel.
Players control both Noel and Caron at two different times, yet generally in towns and safe areas, Noel is controlled by the player. In the beginning, Noel loses both of her arms and has prosthetic legs, making her movement severely limited. She can still talk to NPCs, make purchases, and move albeit slowly. Caron on the other hand is used in situations where Noel can not defend herself, specifically battle maps.
As Caron is more able than Noel, with fighting prowess under his belt as a great devil, he is used for solving many of the game's puzzles to ensure Noel gets to her destination safely. There are rooms separated by puzzles in which Caron will need to climb gaps and rooftops while pushing crates to ensure Noel's path is safe to travel. It has sort of a Lemmings vibe, except there's only one Noel to look after instead of a handful of Lemmings.
Occasionally, Caron will have to fight the enemies who will attempt to capture Noel. In Season 1, Noel cannot defend herself so anyone who captures her results in a loss. Fortunately, fighting is as easy as approaching a target and letting Caron automatically attack the enemy. There are some instances where the enemy will enter a "desperation" mode, causing the enemy to turn red and attack haphazardly. This reminded me of a similar feature in Nioh 2 where sometimes the enemies turn red and do their unblockable attack. It's the only time that Caron can be damaged, but in this state, they are left vulnerable.
Completing the bonus objective for these missions is important as it earns you bonus "P," the in-game currency. The more "P" you have, the more valuable items you can purchase. I didn't have to use any healing items but it's good to know I have at least three items that will instantly revive me should I mess up and die. It's encouraged not to use any sort of healing as bonus objectives include solving puzzles without resetting, not getting detected in stealth missions, and of course not using any items in battle.
This offers an interesting dynamic between the two characters. While Noel's quest for vengeance is the focal point of Mortal Fate, it is Caron who is able to enact it. While this is largely a first impression of the game itself, I can imagine Noel having a deeper role in gameplay as her comfort as a demon grows. While you're playing as the character who ultimately succumbed to her unfortunate fate, you are simultaneously playing as her protector.
Noel the Mortal Fate is an interesting game that joins another visual novel hybrid title like Yurukill, whereas the latter is framed for a murder they didn't commit versus the former who has already killed, albeit not by their own hands. The first season alone portrays Noel as a character who was used to having things her way in a haughty fashion. As the realization trickles in that her life is over as she knows it and begins anew, so too does her entire personality.
It will be interesting to see how Noel, Caron, and her friends and family handle Burrows and whoever he decides to send after. Overall, for all seven seasons, Noel the Mortal Fate begins itself with an amazing story that's available across all three consoles, opening doors for many new players of the ongoing story.
Noel the Mortal Fate is available on the PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Store.