In recent events Electronic Arts has come under fire for the creation of loot boxes and grinding of epic proportions to unlock parts of Battlefront II and a game design that lends itself to pay to win. There are even designs these days where games require you to pay $59.99 USD for the game then another $39.99 USD just for the season pass which gives you a few bonus multiplayer maps and possibly more of the story in single player. So it is quite refreshing to find a game like Nine Parchments.
Nine Parchments has you take on the role of a student at the magic academy. The head master is in the process of telling the class that they are the worst class he has ever seen and will not be moving on to the advance level. However, in the middle of this lecture an explosion occurs and the pages of a spell book are blown away by the wind. You take it upon yourself to go adventuring and collect all the parchments that have blown away and complete your spell book to try to graduate. As you gallivant and explore the world in search of the parchments you run into a variety of monsters and bosses that stand in your way to recovering all the parchments.
Nine Parchments is a twin stick shooter, where you use the left analog stick to move around the map and then use the right analog stick to aim and target on your enemies. Each mage starts with three spells and as you go through battles you need to balance the mana and type of spell you use. The spells fall into several categories of elements from: healing, lightning, frost, fire, and shadow. There are monsters that have elemental characteristics and it is important to use the right spell because these monsters will have resistances based on those characteristics. Each character also has a teleport to help you get out of trouble instantly. There are two charges to the teleport that slowly refills as you use it, so it is critical to strategically use your teleport or you will be caught in a situation where you don’t have it when you need it.
The graphics for the game are beautiful. The colors are vibrant and creates a picturesque background that could be turned into a portrait that you want to hang on your wall. The game follows the lore that was created in the Trine series and follows the gorgeous palette that the Trine games have historically been known for. The monsters and bosses have gorgeous models although Frozenbyte does do a lot of re-skinning to defining the elemental characteristic of the monster. The music for the game has a tinge of quirky humor that is embedded in a mystical and magical world. The sound effects and voices are well done and when I cast a spell the sound is exactly what I expect to hear when it hits the enemy.
Frozenbyte has provided a complete package with the game. There is a great single player campaign with 32 levels, out of which eight are boss fights. The game truly shines when you have four players. Hilarity tends to ensue in the multiplayer scenario because everything is cranked up to the next level, not only do you have to manage your mana, the enemies resistences, the limited space with which to work, the greater amount of enemies, but also friendly fire. Frozenbyte has made a unique aspect in the game where your spells can hit your allies, so if you aren’t watching where you are aiming, or they aren’t watching where they are moving you could be blown away by your own spells. Because Nine Parchments really shines in the multiplayer realm, Frozenbyte has done a great job in implementing a variety of ways to link up and play with your friends or random players. You have the ability to have local play with multiple controllers, through LAN play with your friends, online with friends and random people, or online with a group of completely random players. Multiplayer really adds extra dimensions to the game which you don’t get by trying to collect the parchments by yourself.
Nine Parchments allows you to unlock other characters and skins for those characters through specific achievements. There is so much to collect in the game from feathers, chests, hats, staves, spells and statistics on how much friendly fire you have dealt and how much friendly fire you have taken. However, with all of this there is an issue of replayability once you have collected all the items in the game. Frozenbyte has set it so that at high difficulty levels the monsters spawn randomly instead of in a pattern and this does add some dynamic to the game.
Frozenbyte does provide proof that if you make a game of passion it can turn out amazing, you do not need to steep yourself in greed and develop a game around micro-transactions. The gameplay for Nine Parchments is a solid 9/10 because the multiplayer really creates a unique adventure each time you play it, and Frozenbyte has made it easy to find a group to play with. The story is very simple and whimsical and is an 8/10 because its very straight forward, there really isn’t much character development, and the plot isn’t extravagant by any stretch of the imagination but it provides the necessary backbone for you to know what your goals and missions are. Overall Nine Parchments is an 8.5/10 and is a great game if you are looking for a multiplayer co-op game that doesn’t require everyone to be in the same room like many of the party games on the Switch today.
- Steam: Nine Parchments
- Nintendo eShop: Nine Parchments
- Twitter: @NineParchments
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nineparchments/