Nine Parchments is a action co-op RPG and like any title that has a focus on co-op you should really be playing with other people. The player can choose between a total of 8 characters who are tasked with the duty of traveling the world on a journey to find nine parchments (hence the title) that literally flew out of a hole in the wall.
On your quest for the missing parchments the player will have to traverse linear levels and tackle hordes of enemies that grow increasingly more difficult and particularly more hectic. Beaches, icy tundras, gloomy mines and other locales the wind has managed to blow these important pieces of paper everywhere and the world you explore certainly is nice to look at for an eShop title. None of the locations are massively original, but give a nice sense of accomplishment as you start off in seemingly peaceful environments and then end up in darker more sinister areas. On top of that the soundtrack does a great job of setting the stage and adds a certain layer of whimsical excitement to this wizarding apprentice’s adventure.
For those not familiar with the genre, Nine Parchments features a isometric camera that follows the players across the map, as they run along every so often they’ll come into contact with a horde of enemies. Depending on how many people you are playing with determines on how many enemies spawn and I must say playing with four people can be incredibly dangerous as a myriad of nasty enemies appear to stop you in your tracks. Once these enemies have appeared it is then up to you and your teammates to take out your opponents for the opportunity to move on. Characters have a selection of spells they can use with a variety of elements letting you target an enemies weakness or find yourself relying on an ally to finish them as your selection of spells doesn’t quite cut it. Exploiting weaknesses, healing teammates and just trying to stay alive in general makes for a concise, but good experience as these is the main bulk of the game in a nutshell, but it works.
The enemy design is particularly good as you’ll face off against a variety of creatures that will force you to mix up you strategy to take them out. As mentioned above some might not be weak to your selection of spells, but also others might be able to reflect all projectiles fired directly at them which calls for one your teammates to distract them whilst another runs behind and starts to fire. Then of course any action RPG wouldn’t be complete with out a selection of bosses and you will get some thrown at you which will require you and your associates to work together to tackle the beast. The designs are decent and fit well with the part of the world you find them in. Apart from taking on hordes of enemies and tough bosses you can also track down blue quills in levels that unlock new gear for the player and also fulfil certain challenges to unlock new staffs that have different benefits. The selection of staffs is fairly robust and at easier levels the staff you pick isn’t too important, but later on in the game or on harder difficulties it certainly can make a massive difference.
Then of course any RPG wouldn’t be complete without mentioning what is on offer by the levelling up system. As I previously made mention Nine Parchments gives players a selection of eight different characters, these eight all have different skill trees and then they also have four variations of the same character that gives selection to different spells. As you level up you then choose what skills to purchase and what spells to add to your arsenal. The game really does do a good job of making the characters fill a role, as even though the spells on offer overlap between certain characters the focus of the skills means that a particular player is more focused on healing whilst another specializes in ice. It’s this combination of skills and spells that make a nice change and makes the focus on teamwork even more evident.
If it isn’t abundantly clear yet, I spent most of my time playing Nine Parchments with other people and that is the way it is meant to be played. It offers local co-op, online with strangers, and then a mix of local and online. All in all the online experience is smooth and worked fine. The game was designed to be played this way and can get a little frustrating when playing with total strangers, but what team based game doesn’t? Nothing better than an ally using their freeze beam on you by accident and killing you for the 15th time, but I think it’s what adds to craziness of encounters. Of course you can alter the friendly fire rules and have the damage be reflected back to your opponent if someone is just being too ridiculous. As for the single player? It’s not that it’s bad, it is perfectly functional, but that’s about it. Functional. Single player is not the focus and can become tedious fairly quickly.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Nine Parchments was provided by Frozenbyte for this Nine Parchments review.