I am always an avid supporter of new games in the monster catching genre. I will shout from the roof tops that new games in the genre are more than just mere ‘Pokemon clones’ and that Pokemon does not own the entire genre. It was not even the first game so how can it? There is no denying that it is the biggest game in the entire genre and by default is the comparison to all others but other games deserve to be viewed in their own right – and then there is Nexomon: Extinction. Is it more than mere Pokemon clone? I certainly think so.
Nexomon: Extinction developed by VEWO Interactive and published by
Pqube is a gritty take on the monster catching genre. No longer are you out exploring an inviting world full of promise that your idealistic childhood dreams are about to come true. Instead, the world is on the brink of extinction due to impossibly powerful Nexomon known as Tyrants fighting for world domination. From the beginning the player quickly finds themselves intertwined in the plot to restore safety for humanity.
The story itself is quite engaging and easily immersible. The unfolding story follows a logical chain of events with enough twists and turns to leave the player desperate to find out what happens next. Nexomon: Extinction takes the more childish approaches of other games in the genre and flips it on its head in a way that has been much requested by fans of the genre for many years. However, the writing itself does not always mesh well with the story presented as certain characters constantly break the fourth wall which immediately destroys any immersion in the story. On top of this, characters often make jokes that do not seem to fit in with the atmosphere of the game and often felt rather jarring with no real reason for their inclusion.
Nexomon: Extinction’s gameplay is rather simple. There are nine different types (mineral, grass, fire, etc.) and each individual Nexomon can only have a sole typing which means that battles go no further than simply switching to a super-effective Nexomon and using your strongest move. As opposed to individual PP for moves; each Nexomon has a stamina bar that is depleted when using a move – with the stronger moves using significantly more stamina. Even super-effective Nexomon take a few attacks before they down their opponent and so often times the player will have to switch between their entire team to get through a battle. This is not only the case for boss battles but even for trainer battles and random encounters with wild Nexomon.
This leads the game to feel needlessly grindy. The game scales to the level of your own Nexomon which often makes it feel like the necessary grinding needed in every new area is pointless. It is often more beneficial to just catch a Nexomon in a new area instead and incorporate it into your team. As someone who chooses monsters based on their appearance and gets attached to them, it was difficult to accept this and swap out Nexomon consistently to move forward. VEWO Interactive have stated numerous times that they want the game to be a challenge and that it is not meant to be easy. The game itself is not difficult per se but the constant need to spend time grinding due to the level scaling makes it tiresome. Level scaling in itself is not a bad thing; however I believe that if it was based on story progression as opposed to your own Nexomon’s levels it would work much better.
Otherwise, game-play is quite straight forward. You find yourself exploring a vast array of natural environments on your quest to stop the world’s extinction – from freezing tundras to extremely hot volcanoes. Routes in between each area are fairly long and consist of trainers that are repeatable after a short period of time. This sounds great in theory but with the level-scaling and needing to heal your Nexomon after every battle it can often be a tedious affair. As you process through the game you will gain abilities that allow you to explore even further – often finding shards that can be used to create cores which you equip to your Nexomon. Each Nexomon can have a total of four cores and they consist of things such as stat boosts, experience boosts and more.
Other than a few bugs that I encountered playing pre-patch; the game itself runs incredibly smoothly. Transitions between battle, routes, entering and exiting homes and healing Nexomon are all so seamless. There is no necessary dialogue or wait time for the sake of it. The first time I really noticed this was when I went to heal my Nexomon and it consisted of a quick question and a flash. It might not sound like much but when you are repeatedly doing the same task over and over again it is nice for it to be as quick a process as possible.
There are 381 Nexomon in total and most of their designs have no right being as good as they are. I would go as far as to say that encountering new Nexomon was the best part of the game. The designs are so well done and downright adorable, often suiting the environment that they are encountered in particularly well. All of the evolution lines progress seamlessly in a logical fashion and seeing the final evolution seems a fitting reward for slowly grinding up your team with the lack of EXP. Share at the time of writing.
Overall, Nexomon: Extinction is a breath of fresh air in the monster-catching genre. It takes aspects from other games in the genre that players have wanted changed and built upon them. There are similarities as is the case with all games in the genre but the more gritty story line, Nexomon designs and difficulty make it stand out in its own right. It is clear that the forced difficulty through grinding and sense of humour in the game will make or break the experience for a number of players and so Nexomon: Extinction is probably best suited to those who enjoy the genre but want a more punishing -albeit charming- experience.
Final score: 7/10