Mixing together two different genres into a single game is a nice way to experience both of those genres, at least when they work. Sometimes they work well together such as in Hand of Fate. Other times it can lead to questionable results (for the record, I mostly enjoyed Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories right up until I was stuck at the Hades fight with no good cards to use). Either way, those two games utilized cards as one of their main mechanics. The Prometheus Secret Noohra on the other hand? While cards are involved it’s hard to call it a main mechanic. Then again with what the rest of the game is like maybe it is. I think the best way to explain it is to…well, explain it.
The goal of each stage is to get your marble into the goal, but it's not as simple as just moving the marble around the stage until you reach the goal. You can move the marble left and right at the start of each level to decide where to drop it, but once you drop it gravity does the rest. The only other thing you can determine before dropping the marble is its weight. You can adjust the weight of the marble from 0 to 10 and this actually does have a bit of bearing on how the marble behaves, specifically when it’s dropped from any height. The lower the weight, the higher the marble will bounce if dropped from a decent height, whereas a higher weight will give off a smaller bounce.
After a few stages you’ll gain access to a couple of special abilities your marble has such as bouncing off of a solid object or creating a shield to keep the marble safe from any hazards. To use these abilities you have to collect gems as your marble travels around the stage with different gems filling different abilities. Each gem lets you use that ability once and you can store several uses at once. The abilities are okay for the most part, such as the one that lets you bounce off of solid objects as it’s useful to push yourself off of a wall you’re about to hit or to bounce along the ground and over obstacles (depending on the marble’s selected weight). The shield though can be a pain to use as when you hit the button to use it, the shield lasts literally less than a second so you have to use it a split second before a hazard is about to hit you. So what exactly happens when you get hit? Actually…a lot.
You’ll notice a meter at the top of the screen that shows your Noohra which starts at the max of seven. Every time you get hit this number goes down by one and can go down as far as zero. Every time you lose Noohra you have a chance of gaining a dark trait which can buff bosses in various ways such as giving them additional health or increasing their power (for the record, you can also obtain scrolls that give you buffs as well). The less Noohra you have, the better the chance of you gaining a dark trait to where having zero Noohra will give you a fifty percent chance. Sadly, that’s not all as this game really punishes you for getting hit. You also lose ten HP, one hundred gold, the light on your marble dims a bit making it harder to see your surroundings, and you’ll slowly leak XP. That’s kind of brutal when you think about it. Thankfully there is a way to regain Noohra and remove those dark traits, but it can be a bit costly.
Throughout the game you’ll gain tokens, gold, keys to open chests to gain more items, and so on. Experience is gained as you go through the levels and you’ll soon start to level up. You can spend the gold on those keys and tokens, and spending a certain number of specific tokens as well as being a certain level will have certain effects. For instance, spending ten tokens of Holy Fire will restore one point of Noohra and if you don’t have enough tokens, you can spend one hundred gold for a token. Likewise, it takes ten tokens of Battle Health to increase your max health by twenty-five, but you have to be level ten to use those tokens. That may sound like a problem except you can replay any stage you’ve already completed, meaning you can grind for as much gold as you need. It may be a slow process, especially if you get stuck on a particular stage and keep running into hazards until your Noorha is at zero.
Probably as important as all of that though are the secret cards you’ll find in each stage. I did say this had a card game element to it and it’s probably one of the best parts of the game…well, parts of it. Several times throughout the game you’ll come across boss battles which are done in the form of a simplified card game. The game field has two rows of four spaces each and is divided down the middle so you and your opponent has a 2x2 field. The outer spaces are green and the inner spots are red. Each turn you can gain one mana by either discarding a mana card or sacrificing a normal card from your hand. Each turn your mana goes back up to its max amount. You can then play either a spell or a monster provided you have the mana to do so. Putting a monster in a green space gives you attack power for that row while playing it in a red space gives you defense. When you end each turn your attack for each row minus the opponents defense for each row is dealt to your opponent. It sounds confusing at first and took me a few rounds to figure it all out as the game doesn’t quite tell you everything
There’s a tad more to it though. First, you can edit your deck with the cards you find in each stage which is crucial to survive the tougher bosses. On top of that, any HP you lose isn’t restored after a fight (which you have to win more than one battle) to beat the boss), plus if your health wasn’t at max when you entered the boss fight, it wont be restored to max when the fight begins. Basically that means possibly grinding for gold, health, and tokens to restore your Noohra prior to a boss so you’re not completely screwed…and good luck if you try to fight a boss with one health. Sure you can back out of a boss fight but at a hefty gold penalty. Even then, you can’t back out when you lose. What I mean by this is if you lose a fight and your health hits zero, you can’t go back to the map afterwards; you have to start a new battle, and then back out which makes you take the gold penalty. That’s just poor programming.
The Prometheus Secret Noohra is an interesting concept, but some of the execution isn’t quite where it should be and can even be downright frustrating at times. In one case I was stuck on level ten for what seemed like a good hour because I didn’t know that when you drop the marble on a certain spot, the board breaks open and the marble drops down and continues towards the goal, and that’s if I have the correct weight chosen and I drop the marble in just the right spot. The boss fights are a nice concept, but I the execution on them could also be improved. I didn’t have any problems with the first fight, but come the second one I struggled a lot, mainly because I barely got any extra cards for my deck and my Noohra was already at zero so I had a few dark traits on me. The boss’s HP started at seventy and I bought enough food tokens to get me back up to around forty, but even then I’d have to grind for a very long time to get enough gold to get my HP back up, remove the dark traits one at a time, and restore my Noohra to full. Add in that you have to find the secret cards in each level to improve your deck at all and the early bosses can be a bit of a major roadblock for a while. Then there are hidden objects you have to find to open up Time Locks at the end of each world and to see the objects your marble has to have enough fire to light up the levels more and…yeesh.
Overall, The Prometheus Secret Noohra is an interesting mix of ideas, but some could have been executed better. I don’t necessarily mind that the marble segments are trial and error, but the punishment for error can get pretty big to the point you’ll have to grind earlier levels to get yourself back on track. The card game for the bosses can be fun, but again you’ll have to grind out gold to buy tokens to replenish your Noohra and HP as well as remove any dark traits, you have to win more than one round to win the fight, and your HP doesn’t seem to restore between rounds. While I don’t normally talk about graphics in my reviews, the graphics here don’t really seem like anything special for the most part (ie. nothing that really stands out as amazing and just seems okay). The concepts are there, but I just felt that they could have been done better justice and balanced a bit more.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.