Ni no Kuni has become one of the most beloved RPG franchises of the last 10 years, having made a splash with its Studio Ghibli-like charm and art style. Now Level 5 is taking its hit series on the go with its mobile-centric MMORPG, Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds, which shows that even small games can have BIG adventures.
The story has always been interesting in Ni no Kuni games, from the heartfelt journey of a young boy losing his mother to the story of a king that seeks to rebuild what he lost. Now that the third instalment has been released, we're seeing that story is still a strength for the game.
The game starts you off with creating your character, which, though gender-locked, gives you a lot of choices to make. These range from your typical magic users to your ranged DPS-style characters. Head, arms, feet, and legs all have customization options available as well.
After you create your character, that’s when things become weird. You get thrown into a world of turmoil and strife in well, an MMORPG that becomes “real”. Like most Isekai games (a Japanese genre where players are transported to another world and must survive and conquer the bad guy), you have no idea why this is going on and you assume it’s just a quest. This is kind of a stale trope in JRPGs about virtual reality worlds and makes me wonder, do game developers not know the history with stuff like this?
Back to the overall plot at hand: with chaos prevailing, and confusion becoming more overwhelming, you seek to help those in need. After all, that's your role as an adventurer and so for now, you are just playing along thinking it's all just a part of the game's questline.
You are then introduced to Cluu, a flying pig bat, who’s also your “voice.” After the tutorial and battle tutorials (which by the way, are all action) you then lead to the hardest part of any game, naming your character. And with that, you’re sent on an adventure of a lifetime that features fully animated cut scenes and deep exploration.
You control your character with the left analog stick with a third-person camera and then you have your variety of skills on the right. Soon after meeting Cluu, you're then introduced to your partner, Chloe, the female protagonist of the game.
Questing and Combat
Like many mobile MMORPGs that came before it, this one has an auto quest feature which can be a turnoff for some players. It is possible to turn this feature off and do each quest manually, though it is nice for those town quests or monster-farming quests that you don’t want to take the time to do yourself.
The game has two forms of quests you can do. First and foremost, you have your normal main quests which focus on the story and are a great source of XP. Reputation quests go hand in hand with increasing your reputation, which is essential for unlocking new stories and continuing the story's main questline.
To see your reputation, go to the missions screen which then brings up a small grid of quests that can be done or that need to be unlocked.
The quests are well written, and the humour is as good as it's always been in this franchise. With the game being in the Isekai style, one of the first required quests you have to complete has you helping a shop owner who's confused as to why player called him an NPC. Quests can get a bit repetitive at times, but things start to open up as you gain levels.
The combat is great and simple in this game. You have your overall CP, which is your "Level" that is also raised with your armour and weapons. You then have the option to equip three different elemental weapons. Each enemy has an elemental weakness, for example; water types are weak to earth-type weapons, fire to water, and so on and so forth.
You then have three skills you can use and, of course, your ultimate. and let's not forget your cute little pets skills. Combat is action-oriented allowing you to freely move the camera as you save the day. And because this is an MMO, as you explore the massive open-world game you'll come across other players playing as well.
Once you reach around level 5, (the in-game level, not the company, mind you) and complete the reputation quests, you can then help the tree known as Great Uncle Autumn (who looks remarkably like the Deku Tree from The Legend of Zelda). This unlocks the game's version of the Gacha system to summon familiars, which aid you in battle, opening up a variety of different combat tactics that can range from passive abilities to elemental attacks.
With a free summon of ten Familiars and another ten re-rolls, the Gacha is not that bad to start off. There are a variety of different ways to obtain Diamonds (no this isn’t Minecraft so don’t go crazy with Diamonds) which is the currency for the shop, so you can complete daily quests and get them as a reward, or get them as achievements.
Gacha is a part of many free-to-play and mobile games, and Cross Worlds is no different. Many familiars are unlocked through quests, achievements, and of course the summoning system, but there is the ability to pay for various aspects of the game as well. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with paying for a game you enjoy, but that's not needed here as much as in some other games.
If you get bored with quests and the main story, there are lots to do once you achieve various levels. Here's a quick guide to what can be unlocked and the levels that will do it.
World Bosses - Level 38
Field Bosses (A more diminutive form of a world boss) - Level 18
Adventures- Dungeon-like exploration, unlocked at level 33
Chaos Fields - Unlocked at level 25
As you gain levels, you have the option to upgrade your familiars and equipment. Once certain familiars reach a level, they can then strengthen into stronger creatures in a process known as evolution. In order to upgrade familiars, have it absorb your duplicates or even the ones you don't like. The chosen familiars will then gain the absorbed creature's XP, and be able to level up, which then raises its attack, as well as your overall CP level.
Upgrading your equipment is similar to upgrading a familiar, as you can either have it absorb your other weapons to increase your XP or use an item called a varnish which levels up the said weapon or armour more than the other weapons themselves.
Doing tasks and quests will get you a plethora of rewards which range from gaining XP to increasing your max CP to levelling up your character.
The game is big for a phone game and offers many things that players can enjoy, from PVP to World Bosses and dungeons that unlock after certain levels. Once you get to Evermore, the game opens up a lot more, with a small chat section and guilds you can join known as Kingdoms.
Let's take a look at the pros and cons of jumping into Cross Worlds:
· A robust, open-world game filled with endless adventure
· A cute Familiar system that allows you to develop and train multiple familiars
· Beautiful artwork and animated scenes similar to that of Studio Ghibli
· Autoplay for when you’re feeling lazy
· Semi-voiced cutscenes
· Can be played solo
· It’s a gacha game, so be prepared to spend a little money from time to time if you decide to go that route
· Cluu can get annoying
· Gender Locked Classes
· Time consuming if you want to dive deep into upgrading your weapons and familiars
· Autoplay can be a turnoff for some
· Can drain your phone battery if playing on the go
Are you looking forward to trying out this new MMORPG from the studio that brought you Ni no Kuni? Follow me on Twitter and let me know your thoughts.
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