Game: Digimon World: Next Order
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows) and PS4/Vita)
Developer | Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
Age Rating: US 10+ | EU 7+
Price: US $59.99 | UK £54.99 | EU € 59,99
Release Date: February 22nd, 2023 (January 27th, 2017 for PS4)
Review code used, with many thanks to BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment.
For whatever reason, I managed to miss the digital pet craze of the late 1990s. So when Digimon World: Next Order was released for the Nintendo Switch, it was an ideal opportunity to get a glimpse into the world of Digimon. There are two additional features compared to the original 2017 release, an even easier mode of ‘beginner’ and the ability to run. The original DLC is included in the base game.
Will I become obsessed with Digimon, or will they drive me crazy?
Welcome to the Digital World
As you begin the game, you select your level of difficulty, beginner, easy, or normal (you can change this within the game, as well). You also select a male or female character to play. As I am new to the world of Digimon, I selected beginner. I chose the male character and used his default name Takuto.
As Takuto picks up and puts on his Digivice, he is sucked into a strange interdimensional world, where he is confronted by a Machinedramon.
Luckily, Takuto’s two Mega Digimon partners, WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon, are there to fight for him. This opening scene acts as a mini tutorial, teaching you the basic mechanics of battling and introducing the new concept of ExE (Extra Cross Evolution).
This is a type of Digifuse which creates an extra powerful form, in this case, Omegamon, but it only lasts for that battle. With the Machinedramon defeated, Takuto is transported to Floatia. Here he meets Jijimon, who explains what has happened in the Digital World.
Unfortunately, WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon don’t survive the battle. However, as partner Digimon, they can be reborn. You get to select two new Digimon, there are ten eggs to choose from. However, your new Digimon will be at the ‘In Training I’ level, so you must re-train them.
Jijimon then tasks Takuto to help unravel the mystery of the Machinedramon and reunite the residents of Floatia.
And so your adventure begins.
Caring For Your Digimon
Young Digimon are cute, but they grow quickly and change unexpectedly. At one point, I ended up with RedVegiemon and Numemon, neither of which I particularly liked the look of. Larger Digimon has an annoying tendency to get in the way, so much so that I walked into several enemies because I couldn’t see where I was going.
Your Digimon will need feeding three times a day, so you must search for food. Foraging is easy, as many mushrooms, fruit and nuts lying on the ground. Floatia has some meat fields, and you get a daily ration of 5 pieces. This increases slightly when Palmon returns to the city. The daily allowance will be enough for young Digimon, but without foraging/battling, you will run out as they get older. As Floatia expands, you can plant more fields, so there is less need for foraging. Wormmon will gift you a fishing rod, so you can fish – yet another food source!
A little while after eating, the Digimon will need the restrooms. There are conveniences in each region, and you can carry portable ones. Not only does this necessity become a hassle, but it also seems inappropriate for higher-level Digimon – maybe that’s why Mega Digimon don’t need to use the restrooms. I wish this courtesy was extended to Champion and Ultimate Digimon as well.
After a hard day of training, battling and questing, your Digimon will need to sleep. Sleeping inside a building will ensure a good night’s sleep, and they will restore more HP and MP. Occasionally, they might refuse to wake up, so you can scold them for disobeying.
Being new to the Digimon World, my first Digimon death came as a bit of a shock! The ones shown above had just had a good night’s sleep and then died on waking. I wasn’t given any warning!
Fortunately, there are certain foods and skills which will increase Digimon’s lifespan. Likewise, certain activities will shorten their lives (untreated injuries, fatigue, etc.). Digimon will also perish if they fail to evolve in time. As Floatia expands, one of the residents can transfer 6 hours of life between your partner Digimon, but this only delays the inevitable.
It’s odd to play a game knowing that, at some point, your well-trained partners will die, and you will have to start all over again, training some more.
In many RPGs, your companions will level up as they battle. Although this happens in Digimon World: Next Order, you also improve Digimon skills by using the training hall. In fact, unless you level up your starter Digimon to Rookie, you will be foolish to leave Floatia.
You select which skill you want each Digimon to increase in the Training Input Panel and then start training. There is a roulette-type mini-game which, if successful, boosts the number of skill points awarded. Eating certain foods, having the right tamer skills, and time of day will all help boost the skill points gained. Luckily, there are Digimon in the Training Hall who will help explain the training mechanism. Training causes fatigue, so your Digimon will need a rest after a couple of sessions.
It’s easy to spend the whole day in the Training Hall, you will need to feed your Digimon, but there are restrooms in the building if needed. However, I did notice that as my Digimon got bigger, it was harder to see their care requirement bubbles.
The key to successful training (especially after the Rookie level) is to determine what Digivolution skill points are needed. For Stingmon to evolve to MegaKabuterimon (shown above), the HP and STA need to increase, but not the MP and WIS. When Floatia expands, then there is a Dojo which helps identify the most likely Digivolution path for each Digimon, as well as an Advanced Item shop which sells Digivolution materials.
Battles commence when your character touches an enemy. The battle arena forms, and the Digimon, on both sides, launch into attack. You can support your Digimon with words of encouragement, and this increases the Order Power, allowing for stronger moves. You can also throw in items to restore HP or MP whilst battling.
The Digimon will fight according to the AI rules, but you can overrule this and use different attacks or even the Digifuse / ExE moves (given the right circumstances).
Initially, there isn’t a huge amount of strategy in battling, but as you progress, more of the quests become battles, and some of the opponents are tough! Using boosters and better combinations of partner Digimon make it easier to succeed. Although the strength level of the enemy is shown, it doesn’t necessarily translate into how easy/hard they are to defeat. I could defeat a level 23 Shamamon, but struggled with a level 8 Meteormon.
As your Digimon become stronger, the enemies will avoid you. However, it’s still worth fighting lower-level enemies for the chance of loot, especially food and restorative items.
After some battles, you get the chance to praise your Digimon, and this will boost your bond. Successful battles will also give you a chance to find out Digivolution information. The more information you know about how to evolve your Digimon, the more focused your training sessions will be.
Each Digimon has a default attack, and they will learn more attacks as you progress through the game. You can select which attack to use and the tactics to employ via the Partner menu. More advanced moves use more MP, so make sure you balance the attacks with your Digimon’s skills.
As your character wanders around the lands, they gain experience and will level up. Each level gains Tamer Points, which can be converted into additional skills. These include new attack slots, cooking, boosts to training, regaining HP & MP while moving, and increased lifespan (a very useful skill to have!).
Exploring the Digimon World
Digimon World: Next Order isn’t a truly open world; there are some blocked areas, which only unlock as you progress through the story. However, there is certainly a lot of lands to wander around. The in-game map shows the locations of quests, as well as fishing spots, material spots and conveniences.
Each region has a distinct feel – from green plains to fiery volcanos, from shipwrecked coves to sandstorm deserts. Travelling between areas takes quite a while, especially if you encounter battles. Luckily, you can quick travel home using an auto-pilot, and when Birdramon joins the city, you have the option of a fast travel service to pre-visited places (for a price). Wizardmon will offer a free service, but it’s limited to just one location, which changes daily.
When you reunite Greymon with Floatia, they open an Item Shop, and you get a tent. The tent allows you to cook (if your Digimon is hungry), rest or sleep comfortably whilst travelling. Unfortunately, the tent has durability, so it will need repairing after a couple of uses.
Restoring Floatia and Recruiting Residents
I was looking forward to building up the City of Floatia. Initially, it’s just Jijimon’s house, the meat fields, restrooms and the training hall, with three spaces for additional businesses. One of those spaces is filled when you successfully battle Patamon, just outside the city. This first reunited resident opens a warehouse – somewhere to store all your precious finds!
However, it takes quite a while before Floatia becomes a true city. I woke up one morning and was in a transformed place. Only then can you start improving the city, using all the materials you’ve collected throughout your journeying. The new Floatia is large, but you can use the map to quickly travel around it.
The prosperity and growth of Floatia depend on the number of reunited Digimon. The Digimon will give you a task to complete or challenge you to a battle. The quests are stored as Digimail, but don’t flag as active or complete, which is disappointing. Some of the tasks are relatively easy to complete, however, there are others which depend on future quests or specific skills. Botamon, in Jijimon’s house, gives you hints as to where to find Digimon. However, several times the ones suggested were in areas I couldn’t get to, because there were Digimon blocking the way, who wouldn’t say what they needed to move.
For me, this unbalanced approach to questing was not enjoyable and caused several lulls in play whilst I wandered aimlessly trying to find a recruitable Digimon. That said, this is a game which keeps giving. Nearly every resident will bring value to Floatia, whether it’s a new building or help in resource gathering. The range of activities is quite amazing.
The controls are relatively simple and intuitive, but to activate the Digifuse/ExE attack, you need to press L, R and A simultaneously.
There is a lot of information to absorb, and although there are Digimon available to explain things, it can be overwhelming. I couldn’t always remember what I’d been told, but there was no help in the menus, so you must speak to that particular Digimon again. Not much good when you are out and about! However, the text is large enough to work well in both handheld and docked modes.
The opening video and music is fantastic. Each region has a different tune, and although in keeping with the vibe, it did get repetitive. Parts of the story are voiced, which works nicely. However, during the battles, the voiced words of encouragement and the ‘mild language’ when failing were irritating.
Digimon World: Next Order doesn’t autosave, but it does offer 3 save slots.
One of my major niggles is the excessive use of confirmation screens. Whether it’s to move between sub-areas, pick up items, use the fast travel, the warehouse or the training hall. Nearly every interaction has on-screen confirmations and it disrupts the flow of the game.
This is a substantial game. It takes around 40-60 hours to complete the main story, depending on how many times and when your Digimon die. Mine usually died just before a boss battle, so I had to spend a lot of time levelling them up again. However, if you want to complete the Digimon field guide and collect all the cards, you could easily double that time.
Has Digimon World: Next Order made me a Digimon fan? No.
I’ve got a love/hate relationship with Digimon World: Next Order. I love the strategy involved in Digivolution, the auto-battling suits my gaming style, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the vast map. However, I found the unpredictability of death slightly distressing, the relentless cycle of caring for and retraining my Digimon frustrating and the unbalanced questing disappointing.
Final Verdict: I’m Not Sure
This is a much better review for Digimon world Next Order than I have seen from The Gamer or Nintendolife, both of which seemed to be written by people who were completely unable to learn how to actually play the game. My only major gripe is that it acts like there’s no way to see death is coming. This isn’t true. Most of the time, Digimon will start slowing down and panting every now and then if they’re close to death, which makes it much easier to deal with.
Thank you for visiting LadiesGamers and taking the time to comment. I appreciate the clarification on being able to ‘see death coming’ – I will watch out for that next time I play.