What’s this? Another timely post? Don’t worry, soon I’ll go back to writing about games years after they were released. In fact, I kind of am now, as Noitu Love 2: Devolution was originally released four years ago. But it has only recently become available on Steam, and right now there’s a promotion on so it only costs $3.99 (normal price $4.99). Both of those prices are absurdly low for a game as fun as this one. For those who are averse to Steam, you can also still buy it through Plimus but it costs $10 that way.

I will admit I have an ulterior motive here. I want you to buy Noitu Love 2 because I want its creator, Konjak, to finish his current project, a beautiful exploration platformer called The Iconoclasts. But it’s a win-win situation, because Noitu Love 2 is an excellent game that you should definitely play. The Steam page has a great gameplay video, which is good because I didn’t think to take any screenshots back when I played the game. But trust me, it’s a gorgeous thing to behold. It’s most certainly not an exploration platformer, feeling more like a classic action game you might find in an arcade. I’ve heard it’s similar to Gunstar Heroes, but I haven’t played that so I can’t confirm. Noitu Love 2 does feel a bit like a cross between a scrolling shoot-em-up and a platformer though, so the comparison is likely apt. The focus is on hand-to-hand combat in Noitu Love 2, but it features great mouse controls that let your character fly around the screen beating up robots.

If you need more info than that, you can try the demo, or read some quick thoughts on the game below.

Noitu Love 2 is the sequel to Noitu Love, which is available for free. That’s a good game in its own right, but the sequel is definitely superior, and you can follow the plot of the second game even if you haven’t played the first. In Noitu Love 2 the player controls Xoda Rap, an agent of the Peacekeeper League who is forced into action when a robot army shows up to attack the city. It seems Darnacus Damnation has returned with his hordes of Darns! But when parts of the city start turning into places from the past, Xoda Rap must uncover what’s really going on.

The coolest thing about the game is the mouse-based control scheme. With the mouse, the player can have Xoda dash straight towards an enemy and pummel it, even from across the screen. After some initial adjustment, you’ll have Xoda flying all over the place dispatching robots like some sort of kung-fu magician, and it’s glorious. It’s also pretty tough, but that’s part of the design. The game features only a few stages (around five, I think?) but with limited lives, you’re unlikely to make it all the way through on your first play. Or your first several. But Noitu Love 2 has an excellent learning curve, letting you slowly become accustomed to the controls, enemy patterns, and the layout of the stages. I felt like I was truly mastering the game when I finally made it to the end.

And it doesn’t stop there. Finishing the game unlocks harder difficulty settings and new player characters. The difficulty settings don’t just make the enemies harder, but actually add more enemies and alter the boss patterns, and even change the endgame content. The real joy, however, are the new playable characters. These function completely differently. Without Xoda’s dash ability, navigating the various stages becomes an entirely new challenge. Certain obstacles and enemies that used to be quite tough are suddenly much easier with a new character’s set of abilities, but other enemies that were once trivial become real threats. It’s almost a whole new game with these characters, even without taking into account each character’s special ending or special stages.

A tightly designed game, then, that you will want to play several times over. If a fantastic-looking action game in the vein of arcade classics sounds good to you, and you have four dollars (or five, if you wait too long), you should pick it up. And while you’re at it, take a look at some of Konjak’s other games too. In addition to a playable alpha demo of aforementioned The Iconoclasts, you can check out his rather excellent (and free) Zelda fangame Legend of Princess, which is similar to Noitu Love 2 in the way the gameplay changes when choosing different character abilities. It’s also worth taking a gander at some of Konjak’s abandoned projects, like Mina of the Pirates, which is actually of higher quality than many of the finished games I see these days.

But make sure you buy Noitu Love 2, because I want to play a finished version of The Iconoclasts. And you might too.