Title: Noah’s Cradle
Platform: Nintendo 3DS eShop (played on a New 3DS)
Developer: Silver Star Japan
Publisher: Circle Ent.
Release Date: September 22nd, 2016 (NA), September 29th, 2016 UK/EU)
Price: $5.00/$7.00 (US/CDN), £3.99 (UK/EU)
Review copy provided by Circle Ent.
This review is so long overdue. For the longest time this game boggled my mind. Mostly it had to do with the customization system and how to explain it. Honestly a lot of the mechanics are extremely difficult to explain to be perfectly honest. I should point out that hardly any website out there ever bothered to review this game at least in the west (in fact Metacritic shows that NO ONE reviewed it at all), and honestly, I can see why.
I always intended to get this review done, but months and months passed and I never felt I could do it justice, since I’ve written numerous reviews already and I ALWAYS strive to be as detailed and specific as possible all while trying to give every game I review a fair shake. I honestly tried with this game, I truly did. believe it or not, I’m not even calling it a bad game per se! The word I think I’m looking for is overly complex perhaps. There’s a few key things to go through, and I’ll do my best.
You’ll be seeing this a lot.
In general, you play as a single jet, and your primary goal is to take down all enemies, which usually are a squadron of other planes. Sometimes the fights will be also against a special, more difficult plane, but in others you have to take down a base of sorts.
The controls basically go like this; you generally use A to fire your missiles, and B to fire your gun. Missiles have the benefit of homing onto locked-on opponents, while guns have far more ammo and fire straight but naturally take more ammo to take down an opponent. You can change which enemy you lock-on to by hitting X when more than one enemy is in your viewpoint.
A general mission selection screen.
Steering is controlled via the circle-pad, but you use certain touch controls to control speed, and hold Y to do sharp turns, you can also hold L or R to twist your ship in either clockwise or counterclockwise.
Now first comes a major issue and it’s right in your face when you play; the background, or should I say, the almost entire lack of one. Basically the fights take place in a sort of… orb. There’s usually a series of clouds at the bottom of it to tell you which way is down, which doesn’t help that much. 90% of the time you’re staring into a orange-ish void and it is HARD to keep track of anything. However, in later missions you do fight in a more outer space background with more variety in the colors and such to help you out, but I’m not certain if this is a new norm later on though, I just couldn’t get far enough (it’s horrendously difficult at this point). You do have a radar which you can hit up or down on the d-pad to zoom-in or out to see a wider area. You will NEED to have it all the way out aside from very close encounters to be able to tell where the heck any of your foes are if they’re not right in front of you. Because of this, finding enemies that fly past you becomes essentially a game of hide-and-seek and it is hardly fun at all. A lot of the time in harder missions, you are pelted by bullets from all directions and you can’t see any of your enemies, and they can literally be in any spot in this spherical arena, even the radar can only do so much if any of these guys are below or above you or anywhere.
Well that was a waste…
Mission objectives while generally clear, there’s a lot of oddities. Specifically the… ordering of them. When you begin a new area, you’re given a choice of say, three missions. When you clear one, the whole list is replaced by a new one. Is this implying a branching path? I haven’t the slightest clue!
You can just spam completing missions you’ve already done and there’s a reason to do so; you earn money after each fight. This money is used to buy new weapons in the shop. This is where a couple of huge issues are present. First, all weapons are… codenamed, I am not kidding. Everything is named via a lettered and numbered code. This is likely true for real weaponry in the military and whatnot, but to the average player such as myself, how on Earth is anyone supposed to remember any of these? This was a major road block for me as I could not for the life of me ever hope to describe these in a satisfactory manner, and I deeply apologize for this. To the best of my observation, your selection can give you more ammo, more power, longer homing range, the works. However, there’s the other major issue and it is absolutely not addressed here at all; you can get penalties for using certain aspects of weapons. What I mean is, I saved up enough for the best missile launcher they had available. It had a good amount of ammo, killed any normal enemy in one shot, range was awesome… until the results screen showed mass penalties for ammo usage and you basically earn little to no money at all. Right then.
Here’s where you can buy the uhh… and umm… huh?
There are a couple of good points. For example, it runs really well. It runs in 60fps even in 3D mode (I’m playing on a New 3DS so that may not be true of the regular models), however the graphics are about as simplistic as it gets, I mean the game’s hardly rendering a background so there’s that to consider. Also when you get into it, it is fun to play when you’re not being stressed out from playing hide-and-seek with everyone.
I REALLY wanted to love this game. I actually admire Silver Star Japan and they’ve made some solid stuff before such as the Rabi Lady series (granted this is the first game I’ve played of theirs). Circle’s also always been a great publisher, no doubt about that! I was hoping this would be an epic game like what Ace Combat seems to be like, but eh, it wasn’t to be, I mean I obviously didn’t expect it to be like THAT. But… I expected better is what I’m saying. The short of it is, sadly, skip it, I say watch videos (there are a few) and see for yourself if you can handle the issues I’ve described above, maybe you’ll enjoy it, and I wish you the best of luck in being able to should you try it.
+ It runs well, 60fps even in 3D (at least on New 3DS).
+ Cool concept, I mean you’re in a jet shooting at other jets.
+ It’s cheap at only $5 USD.
+ When things go well, it’s actually a bit of fun.
+ Even if the names and finer details are confusing, the customization level is very impressive.
– The lack of a background to tell where you are most of the time.
– The radar in addition can only do so much. But it helps a lot otherwise so it’s more like an “eh” point.
– The aforementioned codenames and lack of really knowing the drawbacks of the weaponry.
– The music is nothing to speak of at all, I can’t remember a thing, in fact there IS no music during fights!