[Review] Nexomon: Extinction – Nintendo Switch

Written by Joachim Ziebs
  • Developer: VEWO Interactive
  • Publisher: PQube
  • Release Date: 28/08/2020
  • Price: £16.99 / $19.99
  • Review code provided by PQube
  • Version reviewed: 1.0.1

Introducing: Nexomon Switch Review

I was told that Nexomon: Extinction draws on the artstyle of earlier generation Pokémon games. Looking at screenshots of those games, which I never actually played, I can agree with that. For sure, this brand new monster catching game will elicit feelings of nostalgia in those who did. I’m simply not one of them, so I won’t be swayed from the path of the righteous review.

After watching a grim and foreshadowing introduction, you start your journey by leaving the orphanage you grew up in. You’ll receive your first Nexomon in a botched ceremony and venture forth. Choosing your Nexomon partner for life is important, because there are nine different starters, one for each element: normal, fire, water, plant, mineral, wind, electric, psychic and ghost.

Decision made, you are now officially a tamer of the guild, only to realize that humanity is caught in the midst of a war where mighty Nexomon are fighting for power. These powerful monsters are called Tyrants and have already driven humans to the brink of extinction. It’s up to you to carve out a future for us. But be careful! Not everything is as it seems at first.

What did I get caught up in?

Your journey is structured like a traditional RPG with a main quest line for story progression. To loosen things up and give you deeper insights into the world of Nexomon and its characters, an abundant number of side quests has been prepared for your perusal. Solving all those quests and saving humanity is your objective.

While the story itself is dark and grim, the constant comments on standard RPG tropes as well as the frequent breaking of the fourth wall lift the mood and make you laugh (or groan if that is your disposition towards this kind of humour). I found the script to be very funny.

The mechanics of the game are also more like a traditional RPG than your modern monster collection game. Each of your Nexomon has HP, ST and experience values. Each of the four possible attacks of the Nexomon feature values for power, accuracy, stamina usage, speed and critical chance. Using an attack will decrease your Nexomon’s ST (stamina) by the stamina value of the attack. Needless to say, powerful attacks use more stamina than weaker ones. Use up all your stamina and your Nexomon will be too tired to fight.

What really spices up the turn-based battles is the fact that the attacks themselves have a speed value. You need to balance your team not only for varied elemental attacks, but you also need to make sure to have some very quick moves available as well, even when they aren’t that powerful in comparison.

All these stats can be improved by equipping the Nexomon with different cores. You can get a hold of those throughout the game by finding them in the vast open world, earn them as quest rewards, or synthesize them from shards bought or mined. Fine-tune your team to the absolute max!

While we’re speaking of the game’s mechanics, Nexomon: Extinction has very little hand-holding and quality-of-life features. Tutorials are kept to the barest minimum. There is no indication whether the attack of your Nexomon will be efficient against your opponent or not before you execute it. There is no sharing of experience. Your Nexomon has to fight to gain XP. No easy levelling up by simply being a part of the team. That won’t cut the mustard!

But don’t worry! There’ll always be another tamer ready for you to battle, because tamers you have previously bested are eager for a rematch once you get a bit stronger. That’s part of the dynamic difficulty, adapting to your team’s strength and level. The stronger you are, the stronger your opponents will be.

Getting stronger

Getting stronger means catching Nexomon. Catching Nexomon means being careful, resourceful and quick. You see, you need to throw a Nexomon trap to catch one. Before that, lower their HP and … and, what?

Simply throwing traps won’t do. Catching a Nexomon takes a lot more than the above. Sure, lowering their HP is a start, as is adding status effects. Choosing the trap corresponding to the Nexomon’s element will raise your chances of a successful catch, too. Feeding the monster their favourite food will do the same. Luckily, you’ll get a nice break down of your chances before you throw the trap.

Think that was all? Think again! The trap needs some seconds to activate and these are filled with you pressing the A, B, X, and Y buttons in the correct order. Fail here and live to regret it as you see the Nexomon jumping out of the trap. It’s tricky business for clumsy people like me. I still like it, because it is so different and well done.

Easy on the eyes!

As I’ve already mentioned, Nexomon has the charm of older monster catching games. Luckily, it’s not executed in pixel art, but in a gorgeous, colourful chibi style. The locations are cute and vary between sun-kissed beaches and gloomy underworlds. Sometimes it feels like you walk through a rainbow, sometimes the darkness engulfs you. The animations of the tall grass, where Nexomon can be caught, as well as the NPC’s animations are fluid. The backgrounds of the battles are well done also. It’s like sugar for your eyes. Let’s hope you’re not diabetic!

No bug elements!

Enjoy Nexomon: Extinction on the go or connected to the TV. In either mode, there aren’t any problems.

Conclusion

Nexomon: Extinction tempts by evoking nostalgia, but traps you with its own charm in the end. It is well executed and has a cleverly written narrative. The focus on RPG elements is both interesting and unique. A total lack of quality-of-life options for people not wanting to grind is the only downside.

PROS

  • Fourth wall breaking narrative
  • Charming monsters
  • Great art style

CONS

  • Lacking quality-of-life features
  • Some fonts on screen are too small, especially when playing handheld

Verdict
The game is like honey, it trapped me easily!

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