Game: Noob – the Factionless
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, Windows, macOS, XSX, PS4, & PS5)
Developers | Publishers: BlackPixel Studio, Olydri Games, SneakyBox Games | Microids, Olydri
Age Rating: US 10+ | EU 7+
Price: US $39.99 | UK £32.99 | EU € 39,99
Release Date: June 29th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to Microids.
Noob – the Factionless is a turn-based RPG with a unique twist, set in the universe of the French web series Noob. Olydri Games, whose parent company are the creators of the Noob web series. BlackPixel Studio and SneakyBox Games have all worked together to develop the game.
Noob – the Factionless is about two friends, Martin and Adam, who have decided to play the newest massive multiplayer online (MMO) RPG, Horizon 4.2.
As the characters enter the MMORPG, so do you as the player of Noob – the Factionless. The story of Noob is primarily based on the fictional MMORPG game Horizon 4.2, though it begins with the Martin and Adam buying the game in real life.
What makes Noob – the Factionless unique is that all the characters know they are playing an MMO game. In real life, Martin dreams of following in the footsteps of the famous Noob guild in Horizon 4.2 and convinces his best friend, Adam, to join him.
However, in Horizon 4.2, Martin becomes Baster the Neogician, and Adam is Drek the Berserker. They meet a few other players in the MMORPG, Sarah, who plays as May the Cartomancer and finally, Leo, who is Log the Elementalist. The goal for our players in the MMORPG is to reach level 100 before the release of Horizon 5.0.
Team of Four
As for the gameplay in Noob – the Factionless, well, it’s everything you would expect from an RPG. You have your team of four players and travel the map from town to town, fighting monsters along the way. In addition, you can change your party members’ subclasses, which will change their passive bonus. However, you can not change their actual classes.
Furthermore, each character can take on two jobs, which open up a world of possibilities, such as gathering and crafting.
Combat in Noob – the Factionless is turn-based. It’s the standard turn-based fighting we have seen many times before. Baster has the role of a Tank and can deal good damage. However, Derk is better as the tank as he has the bonus of more DPS (damage per second). Then the other characters in your team are back up and support; Leo deals elemental attacks, such as fire, water and so on, and May is the healer.
I didn’t find the combat overly difficult; it just felt more like an exercise in pushing the A button to perform an attack and not much else. With turn-based combat, the class system, skills, fishing, and side quests, there is much to do in the game, with over 50 hours of linear gameplay.
Homage to JRPG
Noob – the Factionless plays like a homage to old JRPG games. It has all the elements of a classic JRPG. However, it just feels bland and not particularly engaging. I must have played at least ten hours of the game before I began to like it or even enjoy it a little. The beginning few hours of gameplay didn’t endear me to the game, and sometimes it felt more like a chore to play.
Furthermore, that was not helped by the game’s lack of direction; the game doesn’t give any indication to the player of where to go next. The map has no icons or pointers, such as a head in this direction. So for the player, much time is spent figuring out where you should go next.
Visuals and Controls
Visually the backgrounds in Noob – the Factionless look really great. Unfortunately, the characters sprites are rather flat looking compared to the rest of the game’s visuals. The scenery in each area looks beautiful, with vibrant colours, but the character designs let it down. Even during combat, the characters’ movements are simple: run forward and slash, step back into position.
The game performs well on the Nintendo Switch. I didn’t experience any crashes. I did notice a little frame rate slowdown in certain areas of the gameplay. However, it’s nothing game-breaking, and overall the game plays and controls well on the Switch.
As I’ve already mentioned, Noob – the Factionless took ages to grow on me. Even now, as I write this and think back to the gameplay, while I enjoyed some aspects of the gameplay, other aspects, such as the combat and conversation between the characters, felt like a slog through deep mud. Maybe that’s because I never liked MMOs as a way to play games.
Overall the game does a decent job of paying homage to the JRPG classics of old. I would expect that you will like the game if you are a fan of the Noob web series, which I’ve never heard of. I like it, but there are better and more engrossing RPGs on the eShop that outshine this one.
Final Verdict: I like it