Review – Nogalious

I don’t need to remind you we live in an era in which retro console nostalgia is all the rage, as it seems like half of all indie games out there are made with the intention to recreate the joyful era when the NES and the SNES ruled supreme. You don’t see a lot of love for old-school computer graphics, though. You don’t see a lot of games trying to recreate the feel and look from the Commodore 64 or the Atari PC series, for instance. Fear not, retro enthusiast, as Nogalious is here to satiate your (very specific) needs.


I hate those flying vine-eating things

Nogalious emulates the gameplay from an old-school computer game from back in the day. You traverse through static screens disguised as levels (computer games from back in the day didn’t have scrolling, remember?), collecting keys and defeating enemies in order to progress. You have a somewhat wide array of weapons to use, from a simple sword to a boomerang. The elevator pitch doesn’t sound very convincing, but that’s because Nogalious really tries to be like your average Commodore game from back in the day. For better or worse it succeeds at looking and sounding the part, but it also contains a fair amount of issues that were typical in games from that era.


Here, doggie doggie…

Besides the unappealing soundtrack, the main issue with Nogalious is its overall gameplay. It’s a very hard and frustrating game, the typical “one hit kill” game from that era. Everything is lethal, from a single sword to drops of water. Yes, we’re back in the era in which water kills you. Nogalious is all about trial and error, but it’s not very forgiving about it either, as you do have a limited amount of lives. You can’t die that much or else you’ll be sent back to the beginning of the game. Another main issue with the gameplay is the fact Nogalious doesn’t support gamepads. Sure, you can set up the controls with any key you want, but it doesn’t let you use an Xbox controller, for instance. It would have helped me so much if that was the case, since this is one of those older games in which you have to jump by pressing up.


Eat your heart out, Dark Souls

Nogalious had the objective of providing players with an accurate representation of what PC gaming in the 80’s felt like, and it succeeds at that, for all the right and wrong reasons. It oozes retro charm and features a simple gameplay that anyone can grasp, but it also suffers from being ridiculously difficult at some points, as well as not being compatible with gamepads. It’s definitely not a game for everyone, but if you want to relive the glory days of Commodore gaming without the need of typing in lots of DOS commands onscreen, go for it. Nogalious is a good catch for you.


Graphics: 7.5

The game’s highlight. Colorful and well-animated visuals look like an improved but accurate depiction of games from the 80’s.

Gameplay: 6.0

While the gameplay is simple (albeit sometimes faulty in terms of responsiveness) and the controls are fully customizable, not being able to use a gamepad is a sin.

Sound: 4.0

The soundtrack feels like something that would have been part of a retro PC game, but it’s also limited and VERY repetitive.

Fun Factor: 6.0

Nogalious knows how to emulate the feel of PC games from the 80’s to a near perfect level, but it also knows how to emulate how cheap and unfair they used to be.

Final Verdict: 6.0

A copy of Nogalious was provided by the publisher.