Little Noah: Scion of Paradise Review

Three things I like about this game, and one I don't

By Paul Hunter

I love a good surprise. During the June 28, 2022, Nintendo Direct there was a Cygames segment that introduced Little Noah: Scion of Paradise, a cute roguelite game featuring Pokémon-like collectible creatures called Lilliputs. It looked super fun and I was especially intrigued given the pedigree of the developer known for hits like Dragalia Lost, Granblue Fantasy: Versus and Shadowverse. While Little Noah showed up during the Nintendo presentation, gamers can play it on Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PC, including the Steam Deck.

The past couple of weeks I've been digging deep into Little Noah and it's become my latest roguelite addiction. In the game you play as Noah, a genius alchemist who is journeying across the nation of Port Manacloud when her airship is attacked by a mysterious cat that unleashes a terrible storm. Her ship spirals down and crashes near strange floating ruins that she decides to explore in hopes of finding materials to repair her ride.

While the game rarely attempts to innovate the genre, what's on offer is a highly polished roguelite with lots of personality. Let's head on into the ruins to see what Little Noah is all about, here are three things I liked about it...and one I didn't.

Liked: Lilliput Champions

In a neat twist to the roguelite genre, Noah herself rarely attacks and instead relies on Lilliput creatures she commands like Pikmin. I like everything about the Lilliput mechanic from the eye-catching art design of the characters to how you can arrange them in any order you chose to create up to a five-hit combo.

There are over 40 Lilliputs to unlock and collect, with each one having its own unique attack and special move. Some creatures will thrust forward, while others will shoot projectiles, do a burst attack, perform rising strikes, smash from above or coat the ground with hazards like fire or ice. There are so many different types of attacks and since you can arrange Lilliputs in any order, the combo possibilities are in the thousands.

What's also great is Lilliputs come in four different types: normal, fire, ice and wind. Each affinity has its own properties, like fire creatures having the potential to burn enemies for extra damage or wind creatures able to dizzy enemies leaving them vulnerable to further attacks. Being a roguelite, typically in each run you'll acquire items that boost a particular affinity—like increasing affinity damage or boosting its status effects—incentivizing you to specialize in that affinity for the rest of the run. It's a really fun gameplay loop that'll have you hopping between normal, fire, ice and wind builds with every run you take.

In addition to slotting Lilliputs into your five attack combo spots you also pick two creatures to harness their special abilities. Specials are devastating and typically have perks like auto inflicting enemies with status afflictions or even converting a percentage of the damage into health. I really love how deep the Lilliput system is, and since the creatures you acquire every run is always random, no two attempts in this game will ever be the same.

Liked: Accessories and Crystals

To help make each run of Little Noah vastly different than the ones before, there are over 140 accessories you can find in chests, secret rooms or purchase from vendors using coins dropped by defeated enemies. Accessories have a huge variety of effects from increasing your max HP to increasing elemental attack power to boosting elemental resistances. There are also a bunch of gameplay altering accessories, including ones that unleash an extra elemental power to Lilliput attacks or adding damaging auras to your air dash. The sheer amount of accessories goes a long way to keeping each run feeling fresh.

As if that weren't enough, there are 25 accessories you can unlock on Noah's airship by trading in mana acquired after each run. Many of these accessories help make the game a lot easier, such as the Resurrection Doll that lets you revive after getting knocked out, which is a great if you're finding the game too difficult. Your airship also has various facilities you can upgrade to help you on your journey, such as giving Noah refillable health potions or all-new abilities.

Accessories are randomized in each run, so they largely determine what your focus will be for that particular attempt. I often found that each run I'd stumble upon accessories aligned to specific elements, whether that's getting some good fire-damage boosting rings early on or adding cyroblast projectiles to each ice Lilliput attack. It generally makes sense to specialize in whatever accessories you get to maximize your offenses and defense.

A side perk of accessories is they add to Noah's overall power stat, which determines your damage output. So you'll want to grab every single accessory you can regardless if you want its benefits as they'll boost your power. The same goes the Lilliput creatures: every one increases your overall power score so the goal is gather as many as you can.

Another way you can build out your stats is by collecting Red, Blue or Green crystals found within the dungeons. Red crystals increases your damage by 10% when attacking close to nearby foes, Blue ones do the same but for distant enemies, while Green crystals increases damage by one percent for each consecutive hit. Not only do crystals let you boost attacks for your preferred playstyle but they let you maximize your Lilliput's specific damage output type.

When you combine the Lilliput, accessory and crystal systems together what you get is an incredible amount of gameplay variety that goes a long way to making runs feel unique.

Liked: Cute Graphics and Awesome Soundtrack

Beyond the gameplay, Little Noah is simply a nice game to soak in both visually and soundtrack-wise. I had no idea that Little Noah actually began life as an RTS stategy game for mobile that was ultimately taken down in 2019. This console and PC version is very different but it does retain the hand-drawn character designs and soundtrack from the original.

I also appreciated the beautifully drawn cutscenes that were brought to life with excellent voice acting from Ayana Taketatsu (Noah) and Sachi Kokuryu (Zipper, your cat buddy). As well, bosses are animated very nicely and provide enticing eye candy that certainly encouraged me to snap a lot of photos on my Steam Deck.

Didn't Like: Low Replayability After Beating It

My main gripe about Little Noah is its noticeable lack of endgame content. I found the game only moderately hard and was able to complete it over a weekend. It's a fairly short game with only three main dungeons, so it's too bad there's no endless run or post-game challenge dungeons to undertake. The core game is satisfying so I've continued to play after beating it, but without DLC or more content I'm not sure how much longer the interest will last.

[Update: Following the publication of this review, Cygames has added a new "Hell" mode that offers punishing difficulty and even removes the option of carrying some of the more powerful accessories. It's great to see the developer is committed to updating Little Noah with more content!]

The Verdict

Little Noah is the kind of surprise you always hope for. I had no idea what to expect going into this but it's ended up being one of the best roguelikes I've played in years. The gameplay is simply wonderful and the adorable graphics are a nice change of pace. I do question the game's longevity as there's not a whole lot of endgame content, so I am hoping for DLC or new modes down the road. As it stands though, especially given its budget price, its hard to pass up this exceptionally polished roguelite action game.

Final Score: 8.5/10 - Great

Little Noah: Scion of Paradise details

Platform: PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developer: Cygames
Publisher: Cygames
Genre: Roguelite, Action
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

A key was provided by the publisher.