So many games have tried to replicate the Pokémon formula; some have been quite successful with it (I’m a big fan of the Digimon series of games), whilst others have fallen flat as they’ve lacked the charm of Nintendo’s beloved franchise. Nexomon: Extinction, the monster-catching RPG from the team at Vewo Interactive, is the latest release to try and re-create the experience that Pokémon’s adventures have offered since the 90s, and you know what? It’s actually pretty impressive, with an enjoyable story to uncover, an attractive world to explore, and over 300 different types of Pok- I mean, Nexomon to capture along the way as you fill your Nexopedia.
Nexomon: Extinction sees players heading out on a grand adventure across the world as they take on the role of a ‘Nexomon Tamer’, all whilst capturing a wonderful array of creatures along the way, battling other tamers who’re in their path, and ultimately learning as much as they can about all three-hundred-and-eighty-one Nexomon out in the wild.
Sounds familiar, right? Well, it will be for just about anyone who has played a Pokémon game before in almost all facets of its design, with just a few changes made along the way to differentiate the adventure from Nintendo’s counterpart. That’s not a bad thing by any means; why fix what isn’t broken, after all? It’s just worth bearing in mind that you’re not getting an adventure that’s wholly original here, even if it is impressive in scope.
One area where Nexomon: Extinction spices things up is with its capture mechanics, with the process of capturing a new Nexomon a bit more drawn out than simply weakening it with attacks and throwing a ball at it. Sure, you’ll still have to weaken them and use traps to capture them, but this time around there are traps that are more effective at capturing specific types of Nexomon as well as food that you can feed them to increase your chances of success. Where Nexomon: Extinction really shines though is with its meters that display the likelihood you have of capturing each Nexomon based upon your actions thus far, with it giving a clear indication of your chances and how you can improve upon them – it’s a neat idea that streamlines the process and ensures less time is spent wasted with unsuccessful capture attempts. Oh, and you’ll also have to mash buttons in a QTE with each attempt too, so you’ll want to bear that in mind.
This is where I felt that Nexomon: Extinction excels over Pokémon, with the capture process feeling more in-depth and involving here. Admittedly, it can drag the process out a little, but each success just feels all the more satisfying.
Battling on the other hand will feel a lot more familiar, with tamers taking up to six Nexomon into battle, having alternating turns, and choosing between four different abilities to use against their opponent. Of course, there are different factors to take into consideration such as a particular Nexomon’s type, their strengths, their weaknesses, and status effects, but it’s all run of the mill stuff as far as monster-catching RPGs are concerned. It’s efficient, but ultimately very familiar. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: why fix what isn’t broken?
Having neat capture mechanics and fun battling would be nothing without an enjoyable adventure to complete though, and fortunately Nexomon: Extinction delivers there. The world is under threat from vicious Nexomon known as tyrants that are looking to bring an end to humanity – luckily for you, you’ve just turned the right age to become a Nexomon tamer… yay! Thus, you head out on a journey across a myriad of colourful and creative locations, all whilst battling other tamers and collecting as many Nexomon as you can in order to stop the tyrant threat. It’s all brought together with a narrative that remains compelling throughout, with some brilliant writing bringing it all together. The game certainly isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself (and its inspirations), whilst the characters you encounter during your journey certainly help bring it all to life. You’ll even come across plenty of side quests to complete along the way, adding an additional incentive to all of the monster-collecting and rewarding the player in the process. It’s good stuff and there’s plenty to uncover across the game’s attractive open-world.
Whilst Nexomon: Extinction gets all of the basics right, there are some areas where it could feel a little lacking when compared to its peers. For one, the lack of multiplayer functionality was a shame, with no form of competitive battling or Nexomon trading available in the game. This has always been one of my favourite things about the Pokémon series, so for it to be missing here does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity.
Then there’s the fact that a lot of the Nexomon don’t actually feel all that unique in battle, with plenty of the same moves being used across the board. Now this is something we’ve seen in Pokémon before and for all of the monsters to have unique moves would be a big ask, but the fact that some of the battle animations could be a little limited as far as cinematic presentation is concerned could leave the game feeling a little short of the mark here.
They’re minor complaints and neither is game-breaking by any stretch of the imagination – maybe it’s because I’m used to having that little bit *more* from the Pokemon series that they even sprung to mind? They didn’t stop it being a whole lot of fun scouring the world trying to ‘catch them all’ though, with Nexomon: Extinction certainly proving to be an addictive experience from start to end.
I’d be remiss not to mention the quality of the monsters found in Nexomon: Extinction, with the colourful cast of over three-hundred creatures featuring some remarkable designs. I’ve actually found that the Pokémon series has lost its way in this regard over the years, so it was refreshing to see creatures here that felt fresh in design, whether that’s when being cute, creepy, cool, or just outright weird. It adds even more incentive to capturing and evolving all of the creature that you can and encountering a new one on my adventure was always a treat.
Nexomon: Extinction’s adventure will feel familiar to anyone who has played a Pokémon game before, but it does more than enough to stand out as an entertaining and addictive monster-catching RPG in its own right. Between the clever capture mechanics, the compelling narrative, and the unique (and huge) roster of monsters to capture, Nexomon: Extinction offers more than enough quality adventuring to keep you hooked in for hours on end.
Are you a fan of monster-catching RPGs? You won’t want to miss out on Nexomon: Extinction…
Developer: Vewo Interactive
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC