Nexomon: Extinction – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by VEWO Interactive and published by PQube, Nexomon: Extinction is a monster catching RPG, set in a vibrant world, filled with cute/creepy monsters, intense battles and challenging quests. This game is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. If you have interest in picking this title up, links to the game on all platforms will be linked at the bottom of this review (where available).

Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to extend my thanks to PQube for providing the copy of Nexomon: Extinction used for this article. The provision of this title has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions expressed within are my own.

Now with the introduction out of the way, let’s get into the review, I will be giving a very brief plot outline as I don’t want to risk spoiling the narrative for players. So with that being said, it’s time to start the review.

Story – in Nexomon: Extinction, take the role of a young person who has been chosen to get their first monster and join the guild of tamers, setting off a chain of events that could change the world forever. As part of the newest batch of Nexomon tamers, do you have what it takes to capture the many beasts of this land, becoming the greatest tamer and saving the world from extinction?

Gameplay – Nexomon: Extinction, follows the traditional JRPG formula that made other games of the genre popular. Featuring a top down viewpoint, a wide variety of story and side quests, intense turn based battles and over three hundred monsters to collect.  Similar to other games of the genre, this title features a large open world for the player to explore, with new paths that open up as the story progresses, bringing new creatures, to capture and tame. But be aware, this title is single player only, with no plans for multiplayer at this point in time.

After the initial story segment, the player gains their first monster and is introduced to the core mechanics of being a Nexomon tamer, with tutorials that teach the basics of battle and catching monsters. The battle is like most RPG titles, with turn based combat in a one-on-one setting, where the player will battle until the energy of their enemy is depleted, they attempt to flee or the monster is captured.

The major difference in the combat that separates this title from games like Pokémon, is the way that attacks work. For each attack, the monster uses a portion of stamina, with stronger attacks using more and weaker attacks using less. This is both a positive and negative for the experience, as the stamina system adds an additional layer of strategy to combat encounters, since players must decide between using a weak attack when low on stamina or risk defeat by trying to recover enough points for a heavy attack.

The second issue I had while playing for this review was the lack of breathing room between turns. In the event that a party member is defeated, another is chosen to fight, after this the enemy will attack immediately, with the potential for the monster to be defeated in a single blow. This means that an entire party of weaker monsters can be decimated by a single opponent, giving almost no chance of escape unless the player is lucky enough to have the enemy miss with an attack.

There are a couple more things I wish to discuss about the combat system before moving on, the tamer battles and elemental attribute system. First are the tamers scattered around the different areas, with markers above their heads to show their status giving the option to avoid battles in order to heal. However, there are some battles dictated by the story, making them unavoidable. Tamer battles function identically to wild battles, with the same issues, which is unfortunate as these problems can cause a lot of frustration.

Last is the attribute system, which functions similar to other JRPG titles, with weaknesses and resistances that can dramatically shift battle. For example, fire is weak to water, water is weak to grass and grass is weak to fire. This adds another element of strategy and gives party balance a lot of importance, as a poorly balanced team can lead to an increased level of difficulty.

Now with the combat covered in a way that I am happy is spoiler free, let’s move on to the capture system and other gameplay mechanics.

In order to capture a Nexomon, the player must use a device called a trap, first weakening the target before trying to catch the monster. When deploying a trap, a percentage will show the probability of a successful capture. This percentage can be increased by damaging the target, giving them food, the type of trap used and more. When the trap is deployed, a series of button prompts will appear on screen, although I am unsure how the button prompts influence the chances of a successful catch.

At the end of an encounter, if the battle against wild/tamed monsters has been won, the player will earn coins and experience points. Experience is awarded to the monsters that were active in that encounter, leveling the monster up, giving new skills and even evolving some at specific levels. Coins are used as the currency for the world, allowing the player to buy recovery items, additional traps and much more, with different prices and items available depending on the area and/or story progression.

Outside of the basic monster catching and battling, the player is also given quests to complete throughout the experience. There are two types of quest that a player must complete, story quests that must be completed to progress the narrative and side quests that are optional. The way that players can see if there is a quest available in that area is by a star mark above an NPC character, these appear throughout the games overworld, allowing objectives to be easily found.

Whenever a quest is completed, the player will be given a reward, with the possible rewards ranging from a bundle of coins, to special Nexomon traps, rare items and much more. The story and side quests are rewarding to complete, with some featuring quirky interactions and self-aware commentary. Some of the objectives will lead to additional quests to complete, with more challenging requests and better rewards offered each time.

The last thing I want to discuss before moving on is the open world style of exploration. The world of Nexomon is made up of several thematic regions, including a beach, a haunted forest and a frozen cave. Each area features monsters and characters that fit that zone, with ghost type monsters in a graveyard and water type monsters in the frozen tundra. These environments have their own charm and personality fleshing the world out.

Now I have covered all parts of the game I feel comfortable doing so while avoiding spoilers, I will be moving onto the other aspects of the game, starting with the controls.

Controls – Nexomon: Extinction has a very simple control method that works well for the most part, with simple inputs to select options and an easy to pick up control method. The only issue I had with the controls in general was the slight delay to overworld movement. As player movement follows an invisible grid, holding the button for too long can cause the player to move too far, walking into encounters. Aside from this mild inconvenience, the controls work well both docked and undocked.

Difficulty – on a personal note, I am unsure how to talk about the difficulty, since the issues and mechanics I mentioned in the gameplay section can make the experience difficult in the early game. The challenge can be lessened depending on the first choice of monster, taking time to grind for experience to level the party and earning coins for recovery items. There are many beginners’ traps in the game, but these challenges can be overcome with enough time and patience.

Presentation – the visual style for Nexomon: Extinction is reminiscent of classic JRPG titles, with a top down viewpoint, chibi style character sprites and anime style portraits during character interactions. The art is fantastic and the best part of the experience is the monster designs, with each Nexomon having a unique look and style. The performance in both docked and handheld play is very good, with smooth animations, clean crisp visuals and vibrant colors.

The soundtrack for this release is filled with thematic compositions that fit each situation, with music that goes from bright and breezy while looking out at a beach, to dark and spooky when surrounded by ghosts. There is an absence of voice acting, with all reactions either displayed via the characters portrait or a bubble over the head. The lack of voice acting isn’t an issue as the game works well with text being the main way to convey the narrative.

Final Thoughts – overall I would say that my time with Nexomon: Extinction was a bit of a mixed bag, I had fun, but the flaws with combat did hinder my enjoyment at times. The worst of which was the full party kills that occurred often during the early sections of the game, which are not fun at all and I feel it could become a major problem for players.

However, I have more positive than negative feelings towards this release, the effort and quality that has been put into this title is worthy of praise. The monsters are creative, the world is vibrant and the self-aware jokes/references were very entertaining. I can recommend this release to fans of classic JRPG titles, Pokémon specifically, but the difference in gameplay style and game mechanics may be a little jarring for some.

In the end, I give Nexomon: Extinction a score of 4/5. A challenging and interesting take on the monster catching RPG genre, with a roster of cute and creepy monsters, that each possess their own unique look and charm that add to the single player experience. If you want to check this game out for yourself, links to each version will be available below.

Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)

Link to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version (HERE) – links out to official website

Link to Steam version (HERE)

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