VEWO Interactive and PQube are releasing Nexomon: Extinction this week, and they were kind enough to send me a copy on the Nintendo Switch. The game is a classic monster catching game with a richer story than others. There are almost 400 Nexomon for players to trap, battle, and evolve. Fans will be able to play the game on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One starting August 28. Will you catch them all?
So, I’ve been playing Nexomon for a bit, and I’ve got a lot of thoughts. I want to preface everything by saying that the more I played the more I enjoyed it, but the bar had dropped considerably before rising at all. What did I like though? Well, for starters, I like the art. I think it’s a lot of fun and well made. The art initially drew me to the game and it’s still one of my favorite parts. In addition, you can change your name and avatar on the fly to fit your mood. That’s a surprisingly nice feature. While I would’ve preferred a character customization option, this is still nice.
Also, I really appreciate how grand the story feels and how much of a role the story plays in the game. In some popular games of the same genre, the story seems extremely secondary, but in Nexomon it’s at the forefront. In fact, it makes it feel more like an RPG. You have a companion named Coco who is hilarious. The game does have a good sense of humor and that really makes it enjoyable.
Now we’re going to start looking at problems and my ideas for addressing them. First, the game requires too much grinding in my opinion. I know I’m going to get a lot of flak for this, but I feel like I shouldn’t have to do much if any grinding in order to progress the story. Sure, I’ll have to fight some tamers and wild Nexomon as I go along, but I shouldn’t have to dedicate time to raising my team up several levels. In order to get past the second story beat (where you fight a Tyrant), I had to go do some hardcore grinding. Granted, I’m sure part of this has to do with the fact that I chose Behilda as my starter instead of one of the more advantageous ones, but I caught two Electric-type Nexomon and even after grinding a few levels for my whole team I barely got through. Also, it shouldn’t be an extreme challenge to survive a Nexomon 1 level higher than you. It often feels like you’re being destroyed unless your Nexomon is a higher level. Another grinding issue is the need to do a lot of grinding for money. Due to how little money I got from fights, Nexotraps and other items felt very expensive, and when you get trade quests that ask for any items I felt like they were asking too much (especially when asking for 10 Nexotraps). Now, one thing that does help with the grind is the fact that tamers are pretty quick to be up for rematches. The problem there is that they also get stronger which means you may have to do more grinding to win the rematch.
Another problem I have is just about everything to do with battling in Nexomon. I found it very annoying that the only type charts I could find online to explain weaknesses and resistances covered everything except Ghost and Psychic-type Nexomon, and I had chosen the Ghost as my main partner. This means that I’m left guessing and taking notes on weaknesses and resistances. Also, instead of a number of times that a Nexomon can use an ability, they have a mana system called Stamina with many attacks having very high costs for the amount of damage they deal. I do not care for this system as, especially early on, you have little flexibility and only get a few attacks in before your Nexomon is tired and has to rest for a turn (or two) or you have to spend a turn using an item to restore stamina. In addition, each attack seems to have a speed value that I have no idea what it does. I’m guessing that it somehow works with the Nexomon’s speed stat to determine initiative in combat, but I have no idea. If that’s true, that’s pretty cool, but I couldn’t tell you and that makes me sad. Another big problem with battle is where battle information is presented. They put it all the way in the bottom corner tucked away on a thin line. While this helps the game’s visuals stand out, it can lead to very confusing battles. My final battle complaint is that after a Nexomon is fainted, you send out the next one and your opponent gets a free hit on it. What!? This makes for easy steamrolling and doesn’t give you a chance to recover at all. Fixing this one mechanic would greatly improve the experience.
The final annoying point I want to bring up is the actual process of capturing Nexomon. I go back and forth as to whether or not I enjoy the fact that you have to push buttons in a certain sequence to catch the Nexomon, but even then it doesn’t guarantee a capture, and at the start your chances of capturing a lot of Nexomon is really low. Weakening Nexomon, I typically got a 17% chance to catch a Nexomon. You can feed the Nexomon treats to improve that, but different ones like different treats and you just have to memorize them. Oh, and you also only learn what they like after the first battle with them, so good luck if you ran across an Ultra Rare Nexomon that you really wanted to catch. You can also acquire whistles that give you about a 2-4% increase in your chances to catch a Nexomon. Finally, the Nexotrap you use can provide a bonus. Normal ones provide a roughly 10% boost while special elemental ones can give you a lot more. Naturally, you want to use the elemental ones if you can, but they are very expensive (I believe about 4 times the price of normal ones). During the early game, this typically gave me a capture rate under 45% all the time, often much lower and therefore I had to use several Nexotraps to get one Nexomon. This all sounds fine during the late-game, but during the early-game all of this has really been a nuisance to me. There are other factors that can contribute I’m sure, but I haven’t really found what they are in my experience.
Nexomon: Extinction offers a vibrant world with a deep story and fun characters like Coco. The designs of the characters are great, and the Nexomon are fantastic. However, everything about battle (including the UI) drove me a little crazy, and the amount of grinding needed felt in poor taste. If you want a really challenging monster catching game, this might just be perfect for you. I just felt like it was a bit too much.