Nine Parchments Nintendo Switch Review.
I have been saying for the longest that having Diablo 3 or a Diablo-esqe game would be amazing to have on the switch; lo and behold we get this gem right here called Nine Parchments from the company behind the Trine trilogy, FrozenByte.
The games combat focuses more on ranged combat than it does close quarters however that isn’t to say that you can’t use close quarters attacks, it’s just that it’s better for you to use you varied magic abilities. There is a lot of variety when it comes to spell types and elements which make combat feel significantly dynamic. The gameplay gives off a twin stick shooter vibe as the right analog stick is often used to aim your spells while you dodge various enemy attacks and obstacles. There isn’t as much of a emphasis on looting as the game narrows the focus down to making this more of an action RPG; many may feel this makes the game come off as repetitive especially if you’re coming from games like Diablo, Sacred, Divinity and the like. Regardless of this, Nine Parchments is still an excellent adventure both in single player and multiplayer (yes there’s also online multiplayer which is amazing.
I think I forgot to go over the general premises of the game; The hook if you will whether you’re playing with friends or by yourself, is that you’re a new fledgling magician going through a magician school until the titular parchments are cast to the void. You are one of eight characters (although initially only 2 are available) that’s out to find the parchments and ultimately save the day. The story isn’t the main focus here so I just went into the game just enjoying the campy story that was present and focused on the fun of the gameplay and the gorgeous visuals. If you want to know the tone of the plot, just think of it as Trine and you’ll get the idea (fyi the wizard from Trine is actually in this game).
The meat is in the combat, which requires deft movement and balancing of magic attacks. To begin, you have three spells but eventually gain a total of nine from an assortment of distinct spells. They vary in damage, range, and execution, but all come from one of six elements. It takes a little while to grasp what each spell does, as some are normal projectiles or beams while others are area-of-effect incantations, but after a few stages, I was able to effortlessly bounce between my spells to attack enemy weaknesses and openings. Spells are all elemental (i.e. fire, ice, electric), and most enemies are of a specific one. If you attack a fire enemy with a fire attack, it does no damage. This can get frustrating when you square up against certain enemies that become almost impossible if you don't have the right type of attack and elemental weakness. By the time this happens, you have more spells, but even with a balanced spread, I'd occasionally get railroaded into these moments.
But that was all in single-player. Multiplayer is very much the ideal situation for Nine Parchments. Having more character and play variety washes away those single-player complaints and is the optimal way to experience the game. Folks can drop in and drop out whenever, making it easy to bring new players in even when you're in the middle of a level. It is annoying that you can only have one active save at a time. Yes, your character's level and experience saves, but your progress is wiped away. It's frustrating especially when you're going between single-player and multiplayer. You have no option to start over with a new group while keeping your old save, even when going online it seems (I’ll follow up shortly to confirm this).
Within each of the over 30 levels, you will find various forms of collectables that are hidden, some in plain sight and others a little more hidden. Within each non-boss level, you will find 5 feathers which are used to unlock different items. You’ll find staffs and hats but hats are purely cosmetic and the staves are few and far between. Most treasure chests I found in the levels just had experience points and nothing else. A core element of the Diablo-like experience is good loot, and the loot here is subpar. The best part of the hidden items is that they lead to the hidden characters. Getting the staffs of the locked characters will unlock a side section in a later level to unlock the hero. The first of these segments appears halfway through the story and it seems like the idea is you won't really touch these optional characters until after you finish the game. In multiplayer, those characters can come out whenever you find them, once again confirming that the best way to play is with friends.
Nine Parchments is amazing, yes it has its issues but all in all it’s a very fun dungeon crawler. Nine Parchments has the potential to be one of the most amazing indie games available on the Switch especially with how awesome the online is. For the price you really can’t go wrong at all and this gets the Kasanova Seal of approval.