Game Title: Nine Parchments
Developed By: Frozenbyte
Published By: Frozenbyte
Released: December 5, 2017
Available On: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Genre: Action, Role-Playing, Multiplayer, First Person
ESRB Rating: Everyone for Fantasy Violence
Number of Players: 1-4 Players
Thank you Frozenbyte for the review copy!
Nine Parchments is a fantastic multiplayer twin stick shooter. This game is straight up gorgeous! You can play the game by yourself, or up to four players online, or locally. The campaign is a blast to play through, and is very hectic with enemies and friends on the battle field. This is a fantastic game and you should straight up buy this game now!
The game opens with you controlling one of eight wizards at the academy. Here you will learn the basics of jumping, using magic, and attacking. Not only can your wizard use magic, but he/she can jump, dash, and even do physical damage with their staff that they hold. The nine parchments get lost and it’s your job as a wizard to go collect them. The campaign will take you through over thirty levels, until you end up back at the wizard academy. It is a decent length campaign. Your main goal is to make it through the level as you explore each gorgeous level. Gameplay consists of exploration and combat. You will explore each level and try to find the five missing quills that are sometimes very hard to find. Combat is at the heart of the game and you will have up to nine spells to damage the various enemies. There are over forty give spells to unlock. As you find each parchment, usually after a boss fight, you will get to pick one of three spells to add to your inventory. By the end of the game you will have nine spells at your disposal. This adds multiple ways to customize each wizard you play as. Each wizard has three different spells to start with, and what you pick as you play will affect the gameplay. You will use your right stick to aim your spells at the enemies. The shoulder buttons let you change spells easily. There are healing magic, death magic, fire magic, ice magic and even lighting magic. Some are like missiles, others a beam of energy, some do damage to an area on the screen. There are so many combinations and ways to customize your wizard. You will also unlock different wizards, hats, and staves. Some you will find in chests that are spread throughout the level, some will be won by defeating a boss or enemy. The hats just add a cosmetic look to your character, where the staves have some sort of perk attached to it. Enemies will score you experience which aids in your wizard leveling up, and that rewards you will skill points to spend on your character. Fights will get hectic fast, even in the single player mode. You will have to balance your attacks, as all the enemies will have some sort of immunity to an element. This is easy to spot, as yellow is electricity, fire is red, ice is blue, etc. Not only do you have to pay attention to what they are immune to, but you need to know each enemies’ weakness, which is usually the opposite of what they are immune to. Life counters death, fire counters ice, etc. There will be multiple enemies, and as the game progresses, you meet enemies with an immunity, but then also a ring around them that grants another immunity. The chaos gets intensified while playing with others. Not only do you have to know your attacks and enemies, but you must dodge friendly fire, because, yes, your friends can kill you just as quick as enemies. The idea is to use teamwork to take down all the different enemies and is where the game truly shines. It was a blast play through the story with other people, whether it was online, or locally. The chaos that ensues is hilarious and really involves coordination and working together to get through the levels. You can change the difficulty any time. In hard mode the enemies’ spawns are randomized and more difficult. Hardcore mode means that if your whole team dies it is game over, which really adds a challenge. There also sections of levels that will have a character quest, and once you complete it, you are rewarded and can now play as that wizard.
The graphics on this game had me dropping my jaw in awe! Just like the Trine series, this game is quite a sight to behold. There were many times I would just stop and explore, just to look at the gorgeous scenery. Each group of levels have their own look and feel. The opening levels are on a beach and the water and lighting are just amazing. I remember seeing a rainbow in a waterfall, colorful coral reefs, and crystal blue water. There are many different environments, beach, caverns, snow levels, and even some that feel like fall. The leaves are all orange and red, grass, trees, just everything looks beautiful. I cannot tell you how fantastic this game looks. The enemies are all varied and colorful. The sound is great, with some good voice work including the narrator. The controls were spot on and the game runs smoothly whether docked or in handheld mode.
The biggest issue I had with the game so far is that there is only one save file. When I started the game, I picked single player just to jump into it. When I wanted to join online, you erase whatever file you had previously and start at the beginning of the game again. Your character level stays the same and everything you have unlocked, whether it’s hats, staves, or skills. If you want to go back to single player? You must start the game over again. Now the developer has already addressed the issue and multiple save files are coming and that is great news! Another compliant is that while playing online, why can’t I just choose a level and start from there? Why do I have to start at the beginning, each and every time? Now you can join a game, and see where someone is. If they have an opening great, but why not let us choose what level we want to play? My last compliant is the difficulty at times. Most of the game I got through okay, but some parts would feel like there was a huge difficulty spike. I remember about midway through the game, I got stuck in this one area for like an hour, and couldn’t figure out how to defeat this onslaught of enemies. I did figure it out, but man was it hard. Frozenbyte is a great developer and they already planning on fixing things. They are open to feedback and I appreciate that. I have full confidence they will continue to make this game the best it can be. These are all minor complaints, as the game is fantastic.
At the end of the day this is truly a magical adventure. The graphics are stunning and the gameplay fun and exciting, especially with other people playing. I would encourage anyone that is even remotely interested in this game to give it a go, as this game is a steal at under twenty bucks.