Developer: VEWO Interactive
Genre(s): Role-Playing, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PlayStation and Xbox)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 17/9/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Nexomon is a monster taming adventure that takes clear inspiration from the Pokémon series. I played as a child on her journey to save the world from an evil team. In this case, the Nexolord intends on destroying the world and reviving the Omnicron, an ancient deity known to bring demise to all humans. In concept, it seems like Pokémon titles I have played before. Is it worthwhile? Find out in this Rapid Review.
What stood out to me most about Nexomon was the story. In the beginning, it confused me. My opponents have magical powers, the ability to teleport, and seem to be drastically stronger than my character. However, once each battle began, my opponents and I were at an even playing field. Even though initially I was put off by the zany story elements, as I became more familiar with the world, I enjoyed them.
The world building was enhanced by the lovely cast of non-playable characters I met along my journey. These characters could assist me on my journey, support the Nexolord, or even just want to battle. I found myself remembering the names of each character in the game, and each had their own distinct personality. Due to the magical nature of the world, each character could be vastly different, and they each stood out from the rest of the cast. It was a lovely surprise.
Keep up the Pace
Although the story was engaging and interesting, there were very few options to increase the dialogue speed or skip text. Unlike similar titles where I can press a button to skip cutscenes or dialogue, I was forced to sit through text and occasionally tedious animations. Nexomon features dialogue boxes that show emoticons, representative of how each character is feeling given certain situations. This was a lovely addition. Unfortunately, it was frustrating at the same time because I was not able to progress until the emoticon disappeared. It made progress slightly more tedious. It was inconvenient considering how frequently it occurs. Moreover, there are no options to increase the dialogue speed either. Simple additions to speed up text would both make the game more enjoyable and increase the replay value.
Despite these minor complaints, I had a great time exploring the lore in Nexomon. It featured more content than I was expecting. While it was not eye-opening, nor would I recommend you purchase the game for the story alone, I thought the story was an excellent addition.
Though I found the story engaging and original, I was disappointed by many elements of the gameplay. To begin, the gameplay loop is like Pokémon. Instead of fighting gyms and catching Pokémon, I fought overseers and caught Nexomon. I navigated through tall grass, caught Nexomon with my Nexotraps, and prepared to fight rival trainers by leveling up my creatures.
Combat is one of the most vital elements in Nexomon. Each trainer calls upon up to six Nexomon to use in combat. Each Nexomon can use up to four moves, each of which has an impact on either a rival Nexomon or itself. The key to a successful Nexomon battle is defeating all of your opponent’s Nexomon. I combined damaging attacks, status conditions, and moves that alter the strength of Nexomon to assume victory. I chose from a large pool of moves to select the ones that best fitted my play style, weighing the damage output against the chance to miss. It was engaging and made the Nexomon feel tailored to my journey.
Unfortunately, even though there were plenty of options to choose from for each Nexomon, across the board, the Nexomon move sets were not engaging. Even though there are seven Nexomon types, the creatures did not have stark differences in their abilities. Each Nexomon gets the same number of attacks, and many attacks have the same effect, regardless of what type the move is. The moves lacked personality and failed to capture my attention. They rarely had secondary effects, and the consistent damage output regardless of type left me wanting more. Sure, there is strategy behind making a team that features Nexomon of many types, and balancing my team helped me gain the upper hand, but I was let down by the lack of personality in the moves.
This is compounded by the lack of abilities. Many titles of this genre give their creatures unique characteristics that only apply to them, helping them stand out from the alternatives. Nexomon does not feature this, and it makes many of the creatures blend. To worsen the issue, this title features a rarity system among the Nexomon. Though this incentivizes the capture of rare Nexomon, the more common ones are seemingly useless. They have lower base statistics and do not evolve. There is no reason to use them when the others are simply better. Including a system like abilities, or eradicating the rarity system altogether would have helped alleviate this issue.
Preparing for Training
Sure, there have been a lot of issues with the combat and Nexomon, but there are some things that the developers did that benefit the game a lot. They eliminated many of the redundancies that come with turn-based-role-playing-games. Primarily, they nearly eliminated random encounters. Instead of finding creatures by chance, grass will shake if a Nexomon is hiding inside. This kept me engaged in the world for much longer, as my experience was not burdened by tedious encounters.
One of the most crucial elements in the game is levelling up. Slaughtering enemies grants each Nexomon experience. As I leveled up my allies, they learned new moves and even occasionally evolved into new Nexomon. Not only that, but after levelling up, each had their health and stamina restored. This made the process of travelling through the game much easier. Simply fighting enemies in the wild could restore health if they leveled up. It also made it more fun to grind levels. Occasionally, I found myself leveling up my Nexomon to be more prepared for future enemies. Being able to restore each Nexomon to full health after each level allowed me to keep fighting enemies and continue gaining experience.
Overall, I had a good time exploring the world in Nexomon. Unfortunately, there were many things that took away from the experience. In combination with the lack of online multiplayer, the gameplay is a bit underwhelming. Still, at the price point, there is an enjoyable experience here with plenty of content to explore.
Call the Orchestra
To complement the package, the developers of Nexomon included a soundtrack. It did not leave me wanting more, but it was pleasant for the duration of the game. The visuals were also good. I liked the atmosphere of the world around me and enjoyed seeing the new locations to explore. Unfortunately, I did not like all the Nexomon designs. Some of them looked oddly like humans, which left me mildly unsettled. That being said, the visuals are all appealing whether the art style appeals to you or not.
Finally, I want to report some minor frame rate issues with certain moves. No issues were game breaking, especially as it is a turn-based title, but it was important to mention.
Overall, I had a good time playing Nexomon. There were some lacklustre elements on offer, but there were also a lot of positives. At the price point, it offers a complete package with a sizeable story and plenty to do. However there are many things that the developers can strive to do for their next title.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can purchase Nexomon on the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.