The Indie game, Nine Parchments, is a beautiful top down, action RPG with a light story of a group wizard apprentices who are in search of Nine Parchments scattered around the realm to retrieve their magical powers. The game can be played solo or with a group of up to 3 other players. I happened to play it solo, couch co-op, and online. However, I found it much more enjoyable, humorous and easier with a group. Nine Parchments is a pretty basic spell casting action RPG. You advance through a series of whimsical fantasy environments that change as you progress, blasting enemies with various elemental magica attacks and fast moving blink attacks like Tracer from Overwatch. There’s some strategy to figuring out which spells work best against which enemies as each spawn has different resistance and counters. The levels are a series of dungeon crawling like encounters with some elite mobs sprinkled in depending on which difficulty you play on. Each section ends with a boss fight in an arena-style battle that isn’t very difficult once you nail the rhythm down even on solo.
You begin the game choosing between a boy or a girl wizard to which they have 3 different starter spells, but quickly level up and progress until they eventually gain a total of nine from over 40 available abilities. These powers range from a projectiles, spread attacks, beams and area powers. Beams can be combined with other player beams for lethal combos. Once you get a nice, strategy you can combo out enemies easy — for instance, I throw down 3 area healing spots then fire of a freeze projectile that freezes the enemy and then I proceed to blast it with a deadly spell to finish it off. Fire, Ice, Electric, Healing, and Deadly (Think of a purple ghost ball like Gengar’s Shadow ball from Pokemon) are the different elemental powers you can obtain.
The game itself is very linear and repetitive but when playing with a group, the gameplay is a lot more enjoyable. The different environments are gorgeous especially on mobile and the music really sets the mood. It’s best to have a diverse spell set as the enemies towards the end get pretty difficult. For example, an Ice enemy can also have a fire resistance buff, making it immune to both Ice and Fire spells. Making it super difficult to slay if you only have Ice and Fire spells. You do have the option to whack enemies with your staff but that does minimal damage. However, if an enemy is weak to spells that you have, you can down them in seconds.
As mentioned before, the game is mostly co-op based and the main menu makes it easy to jump into a game that others are playing or host a game to which others can pop in at any time. You can have multiple save files making it easy to jump in and out of games with people. A huge plus is that you get to keep any unlocks and experience gained. I did have one very big problem in that you have to start a whole new campaign to switch characters or items. I presume that is why there is multiple saves and ease of jumping into different co-ops but still, the ability to switch characters or at least items would be ideal.
Unlocking characters seems kind of bizarre as you have to complete certain side quests and find their hidden staves throughout the levels. It does, however, increase the games replay value. Once I unlocked the cat character, I was set. Anyone who knows me knows that I love me some cat characters in games. I had to find his staff and the only way to unlock it is to complete a short but fun room clearing scenario towards the very end of the game. Like I said though, it has replay value in that you can still keep your level and start over with your newly unlocked character.
There was a big flaw for the Switch where you could only have one save and if you started a co-op game then you would have to start the long game over again. At the time of this review here at the GWW, the game has been patched and you can now have multiple saves.
Nine Parchments brings a fun solo or co-op, top down, action RPG to the Nintendo Switch. Elemental magica action makes for a good co-op dungeon crawling experience. It’s fast moving easy to grasp controls make it pretty fun if you want to play something on the go. Running a solo campaign can prove to be difficult as the games AI’s have different weakness’ to exploit, but having the ability to play local co-op or online with ease make it beatable. If you like games like Diablo or Halo Assault then you love this.
Reviewed by Gabe Amaya