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Video Game / Noitu Love

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Clockwise from bottom middle:Xoda Rap, Dr. Tango, Mr. Almond, and Rilo Doppelori.
Noitu Love is an indie game series consisting of two side scrollers developed by Konjak.

The first game is a mix of an action game and a platformer, whereas the second one eschews the platform element to make a significantly faster paced action game. The plot of the games is relatively simple. The first game, set in The Future, pits the protagonist, Noitu Love, and his Mission Control, Lori, against a Mad Scientist, Professor Darnacus Damnation and his army of Mecha-Mooks, the Grinning Darns. The second game (subtitled Devolution) takes place further into the future and pits Noitu Love's Distaff Counterpart and Action Girl, Xoda Rap, and her allies Mr. Almond and Dr. Tango, against the Grinning Darns who've mysteriously risen again. And this time, Rilo Doppelori is leading them.

The first game can be downloaded on Konjak's website, while Devolution can be bought on Steam (with the soundtrack freely downloadable from the aforementioned website). The sequel was also ported to the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS eShops in September of 2016.

This series contains examples of:

  • Actionized Sequel: While both games have a strong emphasis on combat, the first one has a fair amount of puzzle/platforming elements to go with the action, while the sequel is more of a straight Beat 'em Up.
  • All of Time at Once: In Devolution the time period changes in each level because of this.
  • After the End: The sequel takes place about half a millennium after the rejuvenated Darns wiped out the unprepared humans and laid waste to Earth. The only reason places from 2288 are there is because Tango recreated them in her bid to gain limitless power.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The final level in both games is the Peacekeeper headquarters, being invaded by the Darns.
  • All Your Powers Combined: How Xoda plays in Devolution. She has innate, but limited, Psychic Powers, and is nimble enough to squeeze her way into some tight gaps. Things that Noitu himself couldn't do without an Evomatic nearby, and even so not at the same time as Xoda can.
  • Anachronism Stew: Used as a plot point in the sequel; in addition to the Darns being back, the areas visited have been "devolved" from the modern day to other time periods. This is Tango's distraction while she prepares the Evomatic; her hidden towers are recreating the past (and have already recreated 2288) to throw the heroes off her trail.
  • Anchors Away: Sailorman in Devolution wields a chained anchor as a weapon.
  • Animal Mecha: Among the Darn Army's new creations in Devolution are a wolf-themed robot named Cyberus and a mechanical sea snake/dragon named Sea Serpent. Neither of them have the signature grinning that other Darn machines have.
  • Animesque: The games' art-style features some influences from Japanese video games and anime.
  • Animorphism: Used in the first game to help Noitu Love get places and defeat bosses.
  • Another Side, Another Story:
    • After beating Devolution as Xoda, you can play the story again while playing as Rilo Doppelori. The plot shows her beating all the bosses Xoda faced, including the Sea Serpent that clearly blasted her away in Xoda's story. It ends up tying into the main story by the end, though, where the two characters meet at the Darn Base, and both go different ways, with Rilo going to activate the base's self-destruct and fight a new boss.
    • After beating the game as Rilo, Almond becomes playable. His story doesn't tie into the others, and since part of the plot revolves around Almond's capture, it's clearly non-canon.
  • The Artifact: Rilo isn't much of a doppelganger in Devolution (Lori is long gone by that point), so the game overhauls her role but keeps her appearance.
  • Artifact Title: Noitu Love is nowhere to be found in the second game, though he's still mentioned. As for its Sdrawkcab Name, evolution is no longer a game mechanic in the sequel, though it becomes relevant as part of the villain's plot.
  • Attack Its Weakpoint: Just about every boss in both games. The only ones who don't have one are either attacked indirectly or are small enough for their entire body to count as a hitbox. Sergeant Killburne from the first game even has a panel saying "Weak Point" as his weak point.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: Two segments of Devolution are like this, both involving a continuous stream of Darns walking in on a balcony and attacking from above, while ground obstacles (Darns Scraps in Level 2 and swinging axes in Level 3) are also present.
  • Bad Future: Year 2888 (the actual year the game takes place) in the sequel, where the Darns have destroyed everything, and Tango's taken over with her towers. Partially fixed after Tango is destroyed.
  • Big Bad:
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In Devolution. Tango's gone, her towers are gone, and with the Darn Base discovered and destroyed in the past, the Darn uprising is averted. However, Rilo is free to rebuild the Darn army, and very much willing to do so.
    • The sequel retroactively turns the ending of the first game into one. Sure, Professor Darnacus Damnation was stopped, but, unbeknownst to everyone, he set up his base's AI, Tango herself, to spring up another Darn Army attack. Which she did, by taking The Slow Path, waiting Noitu to be outlived, then destroying the world unimpeded. Would very much count as a Downer Ending... If it wasn't for the fact that doing this resulted in no working Evomatics around, necessary for her godhood ascension. So, long story short, area-localized time-travel towers, bring the last Evomatic under the hero's faction's custody back after said hero is long gone, infiltrate their ranks while springing up more towers into randomized times to keep 'em distracted, etc., leading into Devolution.
  • Boss Rush: The first game has an extra mode to fight the bosses consecutively. Despite having more focus on bosses, it's absent from Devolution.
  • Bound and Gagged: A variant without the gag. At the start of the fourth level in Devolution, two of the Grinning Darn grunts are watching over a female captive who is tied up this way. Xoda jumps in and takes out the two grunts but doesn't bother with saving the damsel.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the first level of Devolution, you have to duck behind trees as they get gunned down and fall in the water. After that segment, a Darn Dimwit attacks in a boat from the background. One of those waterborne trees takes him out so that you can progress.
    • The second part of Stage 3's boss involves the player character running atop a water wheel that's spinning down a river, and the stage ends this way. If you're playing as Xoda, the intro to her fourth stage shows the wheel suddenly crashing into the desert as she jumps off it.
    • In Xoda's western-themed level, she fights Grinsley Gumsburrow and his "nuclear arm", which breaks apart and flies offscreen once he's destroyed. At the end of the level, the arm's hand shows up again in a Freeze-Frame Bonus, and Sleeper Brakeman's train trips over it.
  • Charged Attack: Xoda Rap has two: a grab-and-throw and a charged projectile. Rilo can charge up a laser blast that can target up to four enemies.
  • Cool Boat: Mordecai Fluke in Devolution pilots one on land. It has giant wheels, a cannonball shooter, and a chargeable laser beam.
  • Cool Train: Sleeper Brakeman in Devolution pilots one that looks normal... until you beat the mini-boss before him, which causes the train to turn into a walking robot and give chase while shooting a cannon.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Devolution ends with an old-fashioned credits reel accompanied by pictures of Xoda giving thumbs-up to various people, followed by all the characters, enemies, and bosses in the game in a yearbook.
  • Crosshair Aware: In Devolution, attacks and movement are controlled by positioning a crosshair with the mouse/stylus/Wii Remote. Also happens with enemy attacks, such as Rilo's missiles (where the crosshairs are numbered in order of impact).
  • Degraded Boss: Two of the second game's minibosses are Grinsley Gumsburrow, the boss of stage 4 in the first game, and the Omega Darn, the first game’s Final Boss.
  • Demoted to Extra: Due to the Time Skip, every character in the first game except for a few major Grinning Darns (Rilo Doppelori, The Grin Reaper, O2-Joy, Darn Fab, Grinsley Gumsburrow, and the Omega Darn) is only mentioned or briefly seen in pictures. Of the returning Darns, only Rilo gets any dialogue and plot importance, with the others just being bosses.
  • Devolution Device: The Evomatics can do this, and they work forwards as well. Darnacus' plan is to use them to turn all the world's humans into monkeys.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: The first game ends prematurely on the easiest difficulty level. The sequel doesn't do this, but it does lock you out of the Optional Boss fight on the lowest difficulty.
  • Enemy Roll Call: Done at the end of the credits in Devolution, via a yearbook. This is the only place where Tango Source's identity is revealed. Additionally, if you haven't fought Shady Hans, Waltz, or Shadowaltz, their images will be silhouetted out.
  • Exact Words: Yes, Grinsley Gumsburrow does have a nuclear arm aboard his blimp. It's his right arm.
  • Excuse Plot: The first game's plot is that the evil Professor Darnacus Damnation has built an army of robots, the Grinning Darns, and wants to Take Over the World and turn everyone into monkeys. Noitu must stop him. It basically boils down to "there are bad guys, go kill them". The sequel has a more complex plot underneath that, but most of it is restricted to the final levels, and there's a lot of unanswered questions by the end.
  • Go for the Eye: The Omega Darn's weak point in the second game is his still-attached eye (his left eye has popped out on a spring).
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Played for Laughs. The Big Bad of the first game is Darnacus Damnation, "Grinning Darns" is the name of Darnacus's army, and the zombie enemy is called Darn Piece of Crap. Ironically, most major Darns in the first game swear at least once.
  • Helpful Mook: In Xoda's Unexpected Shmup Level in the sequel, Darn Nitwits can be used to chain Xoda's Combolt Battery beam so it can get behind shields. They're required to beat Sleeper Brakeman.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: A few bosses in the series are beat like this.
    • A giant flying Darn head in the first game is defeated by having it chomp down on the homing missiles that it shoots at you.
    • Both the second and third phases of the first game's final battle are defeated this way. The nameless turret is defeated by getting it to shoot parts of the wall that reflect its shots back at it, and Darnacus himself is finally beaten when you climb onto the arena's upper levels to activate his deadly laser while he's too distracted laughing at you to get out of the way.
    • The Janitor robot in Devolution has no weak point. Instead, it must be hurt by manipulating gravity so that its electricity bombs fly back at it.
  • In Case of Boss Fight, Break Glass: A common weak spot for some Darn vehicles, such as the Sky Crawler in Devolution.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: Said by the Darn Dimwits serving as the first boss of the first game: "Is Noitu we see! Is going to die!"
  • It's Up to You: That Peacekeeper group both Noitu and Xoda are a part of? Yeah, don't expect them to help you stop the Grinning Darns. Even when the Darns invade the Peacekeeper headquarters in both games, no one's doing anything but cowering in fear.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Sergeant Killburne's weak spot is a banner that says "weak point".
  • Meaningful Name: Lori's Evil Knockoff, Rilo Doppelori.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Grinning Darns are Darnacus' robot army, with many different types within.
  • Metaphorgotten: At the end of Xoda's Story Mode, when the Big Bad reveals her Evil Plan, Almond says it is playing God, but Tango retorts that she will become a god, and then goes back to the heroes' statement, pronouncing proudly that "I'd just be playing with myself".
  • Musical Assassin: There's a lot of music-themed bosses— the first game has O2-Joy and the disco dancer enemies, while the latter has O2-Joy again, Darn Fab, and The Grinning Four. The only one for whom music plays a role in defeating the boss is O2-Joy, however.
  • No Ending: While Xoda's and Rilo's stories have ending scenes, Almond's doesn't. After beating his Final Boss, he congratulates himself for doing his part in taking out the Darns, and the credits roll.
  • No Final Boss for You: Xoda and Rilo both get unique final bosses, but playing as Almond ends the game after beating Tango Source, who's already fought in Xoda's game.
  • No Name Given: The second phase of the first game's final battle, a turret found inside the Omega Darn, is listed in the credits simply as "I didn't name this."
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • O2-Joy in both games. In the first, you must trigger his Berserk Button (jumping on his piano) so he'll move down to hitting distance. In the second, he's on a background stage, and to hit him, piano keys must be stepped on when he moves to the left or right, causing a piano hammer to hit him. He becomes a more conventional boss after hitting half health, though.
    • Janitor in Devolution. It lacks a weak-point, but will drop bombs that create electric fields. The trick is to wait for them to activate, then flip gravity so they fly back at the Janitor.
    • Every boss except Darn Reckless in Devolution's Level 4 (as Xoda). They all involve using the Combolt Battery's chaining to get past shields.
  • Rank Inflation: The sequel gives letter grades based on your performance (time spent, damage taken, highest combo gotten) at the end of each stage.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Noitu's and Xoda's primary attack, though in Xoda's case it's much more rapid.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: If you play as Xoda in Devolution, then in Level 3 you're ambushed by Rilo Doppelori, and then when the Sea Serpent strikes, she helps you but quickly falls off. If you play as Rilo, the roles are reversed. On the other hand, in Xoda's Level 6/Rilo's Level 5, the ending cutscene for Xoda and Rilo mesh perfectly (Xoda goes off with Almond, whereas Rilo goes in the other direction to set the self-destruct).
  • Recurring Boss: The majority of bosses in the first game (O2-Joy, Darn Fab, Grinsley Gumsburrow, Omega Darn, etc.) return in the sequel.
  • Robot Girl: Rilo Doppelori. Also, any female-looking Darn.
  • Rule of Cool: Flying skateboards, dash kicks starting from mid air, spinning somersault kicks, wall jumps, etc. Utilize your combat abilities in the sequel well enough and you can fly through huge chunks of stages and even some bosses without ever touching the ground.
  • Rule of Funny: Almost all of the bosses.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Noitu Love and Xoda Rap; their names, when spelled backwards, are words relevant to the villain's plot in their respective games ("evolution" and "paradox").
  • Secret A.I. Moves: In the fights with Rilo and Xoda in Devolution, they can perform moves that can't be done while playing as them.
  • Shielded Core Boss:
    • Sleeper Brakeman from Devolution requires two steps to damage him: Xoda first has to zap the bulb on the train's rear until it pops, and then she has to attack the conductor by chaining to him with one of the Darn Nitwits that spawns from the broken bulb. The bulb regenerates with each hit.
    • Tango's first two phases work like this. Antepenultimate Tango is covered in electricity that needs to be dispelled by breaking the two strands supplying it to her, leaving the egg open to attack until the strands regenerate. Penultimate Tango's weak point is covered by a metal diamond that can be disabled by breaking the orange spots on her wings and pulling the hooks underneath them.
  • Slasher Smile: They don't call the Darns the Grinning Darns for nothing.
  • Squick: In-universe, one of Darnacus's lines after Noitu Love defeats Rilo (where he outright admits he made Rilo to be a "sexy" robot and did "things" to her) has this effect on the others.
  • Super-Deformed: The series is presented in this style.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Nearly all of them in both games.
  • Take Over the World: The goal of Darnacus and Doppelori, and Tango later on.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Pretty much every Grinning Darn is some variation of "Darn Enemy".
    • Tango and Waltz, who are both AIs at Darnacus's secret base.
  • Time Skip: The sequel takes place in 2288, a century after the original game. Except not. It's actually 2888, and everything from 2288 is there because of Tango's time towers.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: The sequel revolves around figuring out why areas are being regressed to time periods before the modern day. Except by the end of the game, you discover that the year 2288 is not the modern day either; it's 600 years old by this point.
  • Transforming Mecha: Sleeper Brakeman drives a transforming train.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: Level 4 of the second game is this for Xoda, as she flies on a hoverboard while using the Combolt Battery, a gun that can chain-hit enemies. It's skipped as Rilo and Almond to avoid redundancy.
  • Unexplained Recovery: All the Darn bosses in the first game explode when defeated, yet several show up in the sequel in peak condition (Omega Darn is at least found in a junkyard and looks very worn down).
  • Unusual User Interface: The Final Boss of the first game requires some bizarre plane operation. Noitu has to fire the plane's missiles by evolving into a psychic, pushing two buttons, evolving back into normal, shooting a wind-up gear about a dozen times to make a missile come down, devolving into a monkey and jumping on the button on top of the missile.
  • Video Game Dashing: Xoda can perform a dash kick on ground and mid-air.

Alternative Title(s): Noitu Love 2 Devolution