PC Games

Published on July 9th, 2024 | by Marc Rigg

Noreya: The Gold Project PC Review

Noreya: The Gold Project PC Review Marc Rigg

Summary: A large, gorgeous world filled with interesting things to find and defeat, that is well worth the time investment, despite the frustrating start.



Metroidvania is a genre that I have a lot of love for. From the classic, titular games making up the portmanteau that is the genre, to newer titles turned classics in their own right such as Hollow Knight, Axiom Verge, and Dead Cells; I’m always eager to try out new entries into the genre.

This brings me to Noreya: The Gold Project, the newest game from Dreamirl and published by PixelHeart.


As with the previously mentioned games, Noreya: The Gold Project is a 2D Metroidvania game, and a beautiful one at that. It’s a wonderful example of what can be achieved with pixel art. In the world of Noreya, gameplay is what you would expect from a Metroidvania. Set in a sprawling, open-ended map, littered with secrets, alternate pathways, and enemies.

Routes are blocked off by doors or some other obstacle, most of which require a switch of some description to be activated first, often conveniently placed on the other side. Frequently requiring a unique ability to access via an alternate method. Early on a wall jump massively increases the amount of accessible areas as well as adding some welcomed verticality to the gameplay, as up to that point it had been relatively flat.

Combat in the early game can be a bit of a slog. The main method of dispatching the numerous, horrific, shadow-like enemies of Noreya is with melee attacks. Enemies are everywhere, take multiple hits to be defeated, and can very quickly reduce what little health you have to nothing. This is exacerbated by healing pickups being infrequent throughout. Sprinkled in with regular enemies are ghostly, higher versions of the regular fodder, which cannot be killed until later on in the game and will take you down even quicker.

To the developer’s credit, they recently released a patch that mitigated this issue somewhat by reducing the impact that the ghostly fiends have in the early game by limiting where they’re able to travel, as well as some general balancing of the first areas.

This doesn’t last too long, though. Defeated enemies drop gold, which serves as the primary currency of the game. This gold can be spent on up to 50 upgrades at statues scattered around the map. Upgrades range from stat upgrades to improvements to the traversal system and defensive abilities such as being able to consume a small amount of health to generate a shield for a short period.

These statues also contribute to the shaping of the world around you. Each presents the choice of aligning yourself with either the God of Gold or the Goddess of Light. There are two mutually coexisting versions of the world, each dedicated to one of the deities, complete with their own secrets, paths, and changes. You can change between the two on the fly, but this can limit the bonuses and secrets available to the player. It’s an interesting concept. Dual-world gameplay is nothing especially new, but it’s typically not presented in a manner such as this.

Getting around the world, especially once a few movement upgrades have been acquired, is an absolute joy. Thanks to smooth animations and responsive inputs. Chaining together jumps, dashes, wall jumps, etc all feel great.

Final thoughts

As I mentioned towards the beginning of the review, Noreya: The Gold Project is a beautiful example of what can be achieved with pixel art. Backgrounds are thick with detail over multiple layers, creating a fantastic feeling of depth to the world. The simple animations fit with the art style perfectly and don’t feel out of place at all. It’s very pleasant in a similar way to the recently released Animal Well. This is paired with a tremendous soundtrack. Composed by Sarys/MisterMV, ambiance fills each of the maps, beautiful soundscapes that only exaggerate the feel of the world.

Overall, Noreya: The Gold Project is an excellent entry into the 2D Metroidvania genre. While a steep learning curve may turn some players off initially, it’s well worth sticking with beyond the opening hours.

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