Collecting and battling creatures has been something of a mainstay in RPGs throughout the years to the point that numerous games from popular developers have tried their own hands at creating a unique experience. That being said, of all these games a certain Nintendo property reigns supreme but now 2020 has seen the largest insurgence of monster gathering and fighting games perhaps ever. The latest game to try and put its own spin on things happens to be Nexomon: Extinction and rather than sitting on a single platform, the game has landed on nearly everything available so now that it has been released, is it worth picking up?
In the first few minutes, Nexomon: Extinction may not seem too different from the series everyone is thinking about as players wake up to find the fellow children in town excited as it happens to be the day they all become “tamers” and obtain their first Nexomon. What quickly becomes apparent however is that things aren’t as cheerful as one may hope, players start as an orphan alongside others who wish to join the Tamers Guild in an effort to make a better life for themselves. Although not blatantly stated, the player’s situation is most likely a direct result of how the world in Nexomon: Extinction is exactly that, at the brink of extinction.
While many have grown to love Nexomon and the creatures themselves aren’t normally aggressive towards humans, the rise of Tyrants, vicious dragon type Nexomon, and more dangerous elements have risen up and battle against the Tamers Guild with the world caught in the middle of it all. As such, players find their first venture into the woods immediately interrupted by a massive dragon Nexomon that nearly kills them, only to be given their starting Nexomon by a mysterious tamer who vanishes into thin air and then saved by the ghost of a long dead tamer who appears to be much more famous than she lets on.
This style of darker storytelling immediately helps grab the player’s attention in a way that other games in the genre haven’t in years. Nexomon: Extinction isn’t entirely a story of doom and gloom but this heavy start continues to weave a satisfying web of storylines that keep things interesting throughout the entire campaign, delivering a more intriguing and enjoyable single player experience than one could have possibly imagined from what many may initially pass off as a knock-off.
Another noteworthy element of how Nexomon: Extinction stands out from its competitors is how well-written many of the characters are and the sheer amount of comedy that is spread throughout the game. The game is incredibly self-aware of itself and breaks the fourth wall frequently by either poking fun at the situation players have found themselves in or the genre as a whole. This style of humor works amazingly well given how familiar most players will be with the genre and allows for them to experience something completely out of the ordinary from the standard fair for a monster collecting game.
In many ways, Nexomon: Extinction plays similar to how fans of the genre are used to as players will be limited to carrying six Nexomon with them at a time while exploring a 2D world featuring various towns, routes between towns, optional caves and side-paths, and other locations all of which are dotted with patches of grass where wild Nexomon reside and other Tamers willing to do battle with the player’s team. What is different happens to be how these battles play out as well as the way catching Nexomon actually works as things are a bit more complicated than simply tossing a trap at a weakened opponent.
Whenever the player enters a battle, be it against another Tamer or a wild Nexomon, they will do battle with their own party. In something of a more limiting twist, all of the Nexomon in the game are single type creatures which limits some of the standard versatility monster battling fans may be familiar with and targeting various type weaknesses and strengths can play a solid role in defeating the enemy, though it would be nice if there clearer indicators of what types are effective and weak against one another.
Whereas stronger moves are generally limited to only being able to be used a certain number of times, Nexomon: Extinction pust a different spin on things by giving every Nexomon a stamina meter that will be depleted every time a move is used. Players can sacrifice a turn to allow their Nexomon to recover some stamina or swap them out for another party member, making sure that the player tries to keep a more balanced party. This style of combat does mean things are a bit slower and also more difficult in nature, but this style of battling is something of a breath of fresh air in what has become a stagnant system over the years however it would also be nice if there were a way to speed things up a bit more given how long some battles can be at times. This is especially true thanks to how quick other Tamers can be willing to participate in a rematch after they’ve already been defeated since, while it is nice to always be able to fight a competent AI team, being able to do so less than a half hour after already battling that same NPC is a bit much.
As for catching the over three hundred and eighty Nexomon available in the game, players will find that the system is once again familiar but a bit more complicated in an effort to set itself apart. When battling a creature players can toss a Nexomon Trap at them at any point and the capture percentage is displayed with a number of variables that range from how hurt the Nexomon is, how tired it is, whether it’s been fed a treat or not, if it has any status ailments, the type of trap being used, and more. This, plus a little quick time event every toss, makes catching a Nexomon a more involved process. Speaking of these Nexomon, players will find that while there is a ton of variety on offer here, there is a little bit of magic lost with some starter types when a few can almost immediately be caught within the first hour of gameplay. Players will also find that they can equip Nexomon with up to four “runes” that provide various boosts to their party including a post-launch “exp share” style rune that makes grinding easier.
As mentioned before, players will find the world of Nexomon: Extinction quite an open experience that only rarely puts a roadblock in the player’s way in an effort to keep them from wandering too far off the beaten path and some of these paths have some great rewards to them and the colorful cast of characters that players can interact with in the world also offer a variety of side-quests that players can also undertake that also offer some fun little rewards and end up being entirely optional should the player simply want to continue the story. It is worth noting that Nexomon: Extinction does not feature any form of online play or even trading which is a bit of a surprise so players will want to take note of this as it is a single player only experience.
Visuals & Audio
By focusing on a 2D presentation Nexomon: Extinction flourishes with a vibrantly colorful and well designed world that fits right in with the fact that there are constant battles across the land. Most important NPCs feature well-detailed character portraits while important events are even given nicely drawn CG scenes. As for the Nexomon themselves, there are a few duds in the mix but for the most part they are each unique feeling in their own way and players will be eager to try and catch every one they might come across and see what it might evolve into.
As far as the soundtrack goes, the game features a solid set of background music that fits well with the genre of game that Nexomon: Extinction happens to be but it is worth noting that there is no voice acting of any kind which is a bit disappointing given the level of writing the team could have worked with.
Nexomon: Extinction feels like something of a love letter to the older creature battling RPGs that takes many features that fans of the genre have grown familiar with and makes them a bit more complex to keep things interesting while also offering a more difficult experience that occasionally borders on being a too bit drawn-out for its own good. Thankfully these unique gameplay elements are accompanied by some great storytelling with a solid comedic streak running through it. This makes the game one that may not be ready to stand up to giants quite yet but is certainly on its way and one that players will want to check out, especially if they are fans of the creature gathering genre though don’t expect anything outside of the single player story once everything is said and done.