Genre: Adventure RPG
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, mobile and Playstation)
Developer|Publisher: VEWO Interactive | PQube
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US E10+
Price: US $9.99 | UK £7.99 | EU € 11,71
Release Date: September 17th, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to PQube
What if I really enjoy a certain kind of game, and I have finished all the games in that series? And then I found a game that, in my ways, copies my favourite? Would I jump on it and take it on board with enthusiasm? I think I would…that’s the thought that entered my mind when I picked up Nexomon for review. Frankly, I’m surprised at how much it copies the Pokémon games. The catching mechanics of course, but there are more games out there that take thankful inspiration from the Gotta Catch Them All Formula. In this monster catcher, however, Nexomon at the time resemble Pokémon and even the music has a distinct feel of the soundtrack from one of the Pokémon games.
So like I said, I think I would take the chance to jump into a new adventure if the game was good. Is it? Let’s check it out!
Gotta Catch All Them Nexomon
Nexomon is the prequel to Nexomon Extinction that was released in 2020 (find our review here). Originally released in 2017, it’s my first time in this critter catching game.
It follows the standard routine of any monster catcher game, you choose from seven unique starter Nexomon to begin your journey and travel the world to catch, evolve and collect over 300 unique Nexomon. Make the best-balanced team to help you in turn-based battle and meanwhile, save the world from the merciless Nexolord.
When you take your first steps in Nexomon you’re introduced to a bit of history. Long ago, humans were masters of their world, and then the leader of Nexomon showed up to wage war on them. In the centuries of fighting, some humans learned how to tame Nexomon and with their aid, fight the invaders. They won the war and the world has been at peace ever since.
At the current time, you are the child of two scientists that are getting visits from one of the world’s most powerful Nexomon tamers, a guy called the Nexolord. As you feel there’s something very shady about him and you decide to follow him, helped along by the robot Atlas your friend Ellie made for you. And so begins the quest where you go from town to town chasing Nexolord and stopping his evil plans.
Comparisons and Differences Too
As I mentioned in the intro, there is no escaping comparisons to Pokémon games and the ways they are alike. But there are differences as well though that is worth mentioning.
In Nexomon you don’t travel from gym to gym, but instead from town to town where you have to battle the town’s champion. No need to battle through the ranks of minions, instead the champions are more a part of the overarching storyline. Plus, all characters, even the trainers you meet on your journey that want to battle you, are unique characters.
Out in the wilds, you encounter wild Nexomon that have a label added to them of common, uncommon, rare etc. which is a good addition. It entices you, of course, to go for the rare ones. When it comes to the moves the Nexomon you catch have, they all seem interchangeable. So levelling up a critter you caught early on doesn’t seem to be worth it, when you can catch the same one later on at a higher level. You can’t name them yourself either, which made me less attached to my team.
A Nexomon unlocks additional skills when it levels up, letting you choose which one you want to equip. This is a good feature, no need to let go of certain skills as you can only have four moves to use. You can always change it back.
Limping Back to Town
Don’t let the cute and colourful artwork fool you: to me, the battles are harder than in the recent Pokémon games. This is caused by the fact that levelling up is slow, very slow. Only the Nexomon that you use in battle gets experience, and the first one out in your party gets the most exp. That shouldn’t be a problem, but the difference is staggering.
If a critter isn’t drawn out trying to beat your opponent, it only gets 2 exp. while the first Nexomon in the party gets some 120 exp. I really had to grind to get them to a high enough level to conquer the next Champion. And even looking in the wild for rustling grass to level up some more meant that I often had to limp into town hanging by a thread because all of my little friends had been bested.
The biggest annoyance for me in Nexomon is the pricing of the items in the shop and the catch rate. Of course, you have to work to earn money (actually, the Nexomon do the work for you) but the price of, for example, a Nexotrap was very steep. As the aim is to catch them all it was annoying that I could hardly ever afford to bring enough traps with me. Add to that that the catching rate is low and you can see my problem. I don’t think I’ve ever caught a critter in the first throw, and whittling the wild Nexomon’s Exp down to the lowest possible didn’t seem to help at all.
I feel there’s nothing wrong when a game copies a popular gaming series, as long as they make it a worthwhile adventure. I feel the developers of Nexomon have done that. The graphics are cute and colourful, the soundtrack reminded me of the Pokémon tunes and it was a nice change to catch a different kind of Mon.
Nexomon doesn’t come with all the frills and extras in gameplay that make Pokémon games amazing, but it does bring back challenging battles and a good storyline. The only serious niggle I have is the catching rate combined with the price of Nexotraps.
Final Verdict: I Like It