Developed By : Frozenbyte Published By : Frozenbyte
Release Date : Dec 5, 2017
Prepare yourselves, to step into the shoes of an amateur wizard deemed “too dangerous” to be trusted on his own, along with the rest of his classmates, only for them to set off on an adventure by themselves anyways. The game begins with you walking through your training as Nine Parchments teaches you the basics of the game. Once you arrive in the classroom, your instructor informs you and your classmates that you are in much need of more training. After delivering this news, a loud boom goes off and everyone rushes to the back of the room to discover that the school’s Nine Parchments containing extremely powerful spells are now scattered. In true academic spirit, the students decide to abandon their studies and go off searching for the Nine Parchments, learning what they need to know along the way.
Now, before I go further with this review I would just like to point out that one of the biggest draws of this game is an up-to four person co-op experience that I was, unfortunately, unable to experience. However, one of my friends and another writer here on The Switch Effect reviewed this game for his own site, and was able to get the full co-op experience, so I will post a link to his review at the bottom of this page. So just keep in mind that, going forward, this review is focused on playing this game as a single player experience.
In total, Nine Parchments offers eight characters you can play as, but when you boot the game up for the first time you’ll only be able to choose between two : Cornelius and Gislan. Each character comes with their own traits, stengths, and weaknesses, as well as a unique skill tree for you to level up as you play the game. There’s also three character “advancements” you can unlock as well, these being stronger variations on the base character you choose. For the six characters that are still locked from the beginning, gaining the option to play as them is as simple as finding their wizard staff in the game, and using it to complete a trial. The three variations for each character come with their own list of achievements that must be met to unlock them. with the first variant being achievable in a single playthrough, while the others require you to beat the game (the final variant only unlocked after beating the game on hardcore mode).
Combat in this game is a lot of fun and extremely simple to use. All character movement is done with the left stick, while the right aims in a direction. The spells contained in your arsenal can be rotated through by pressing L and R, and can be used by pressing ZR. Each character is also able to jump and teleport. Enemies can become quite populous in certain areas, with some being powered by a certain element that needs to be countered. This is by far one area of the game where I could see the benefit of not going alone on this adventure. When the enemies seem to be coming from anywhere, a great advantage would be coordinating with someone else to say “I’ll take the enemies on the right side,” or “You take out the fire enemies”. While it wasn’t a struggle going it alone, it definitely would have been a bit easier with a partner.
The world in Nine Parchments is so full of color, and it’s absolutely stunning no matter where you go. Above ground scaling mountainous areas, or underground in dark caves. It may take place in a fixed isometric view, but you get to see more than enough of the world surrounding you to be blown away. All the while, your journey is emphasized by an orchestrated soundtrack that accentuates every level.
There is so, so much about this game that is truly enjoyable. The story is a lot of fun, and witty enough to pull a few laughs out while you’re playing. Though the game is geared towards playing with friends, I really like that the game doesn’t become broken just playing alone. One feature in the story is a spell called Last Chance, which activates once all player-controlled characters have died. Once activated, one of the players will be restored to life at random, and this spell can only be triggered once per level. Obviously, if you’re the only player-controlled character, you can take advantage of this solely by yourself.
One other detail that really stuck out to me about this game was the concept of friendly fire. I’ve seen in advertisements that you can suffer this in co-op gameplay from your own companions, and when battling enemies they can take damage from each other as well. It’s a fun thing to tweak to your advantage if you feel pinned down in a fight. But, the reason this detail stood out to me so much is, to me, it keeps everything true to what these sorcerers and sorceresses represent : dangerous and reckless students who haven’t learned everything they need to and are just winging things on their journey. It makes sense that they wouldn’t have the mastery behind their spells to prevent damage to falling to their allies. It’s a tiny detail, and it might not have had that thought behind it when the game was being developed, but either way it brings a tiny bit more humanity to these students.
I however would like to believe that the small detail was in fact planned like that, because everything about this game has that feel to it. The world pulls you in with it’s colorful beauty and it’s fantastical beasts, the story and the characters driving it are relatable. Nine Parchments is a fantastic RPG, whether you play it with friends or solo, and its a game that will be at home in just about anybody’s Switch library.
As I mentioned, I didn’t get to play this game utilizing any co-op features, so if you would like to read a review that focuses on that aspect of the game, please read this : http://www.fountainarcade.com/2017/12/nine-parchments-switch-ramblin-review.html
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