Nine Parchments Review(Nintendo Switch)
Updated: Dec 18, 2017
''Nine Parchments is an action-focused game with light RPG-elements, where magical mayhem meets easy controls''. This is how the game describes itself and I have to say its pretty accurate. Nine Parchments is made by Frozenbyte,the same developers behind great games such as Trine and Trine 2.
In this game you get to play as many characters and each character has their own skill tree to level up and advance the further you get into the game. But ill touch upon that more a little later,for now I'm going to focus on the character,I,myself, played as and built up in my hours of roaming through this world.
In Nine Parchments you play as one of the students aspiring to be the next great wizard,but are forced to go through trials and tests in order to gain permission and acknowledgement from none other than the grand master himself.
Upon finishing the tasks he provides you with in the tutorial,he determines none of the students are worthy of becoming wizards at this state in their lives and fails everyone. But just as he decides your fate,strange circumstances occur that causes an explosion in the upper floors of the wizard headquarters and all magical Nine Parchments are scattered throughout the land.
Seeing this as an opportunity to not only prove they're worthy of being wizards and being accepted by their master,equally the same, they see it as a start of a new adventure and they set off to complete the quest to collect all Nine Parchments and bring them home.
The character I chose to start my journey as was a man named Cornelius Crownsteed. He is just one of the 32 playable characters/variations in the game you will get to choose from as you advance further through the game. You will not be able to choose just anyone from the roughly thirty some characters right from the get go though as you have to go through the process of fulfilling specific requirements to unlock them.
To unlock different characters or variations of Cornelius Crownsteed himself(IE: Cornelius Cornflower) you have to search the land for that specific characters staff. Staffs can be found hiding in secret or they can even be drops from the enemies themselves upon their defeat.
You can also unlock different variations of characters by completely specific tasks given in forms of ''achievements''. If you fulfill the tasks required of you,then more character variations will become available for use. Pretty simple and rewarding!
Equipment and weapons in this game are pretty basic,they're both for aesthetic reasons and for practical reasons such as stat boosts. Equipment in this game from what I've experienced during my time with the game are purely for aesthetic reasons and I have not noticed any change in stats and attributes from wearing them. They come in a variety of styles such as your standard wizard hats,crowns and circlets.
Weapons in this game are the opposite of what equipment does,they provide much needed stat boosts to your character. Your weapons in this game are what you would expect,staffs staffs and more staffs. But each staff varies in use, some staffs give you faster spell use,others give you resistance to elemental magic and others can take damage dealt and return it as actual health itself. There are a total of 27 staffs to find and unlock in the game,so you'll want to search long and hard to collect them all.
Experience Points and Leveling Up:
Much like any game with RPG elements,to gain more abilities and a stronger character,you will need to defeat enemies,collection quills and hats and find hidden chests in order to be strong enough to progress further into the game.
Upon leveling up,you will notice the tried and true skill point structure the game has. For every level you gain,you get one skill point that you will use in a specific category that you want to better your character in. You will have the choice between three sections,A/B/C, all with their own upgrades and each section has multiple tiers to choose from. I will attempt to explain this by showing off the upgrades labeled by tiers.
Perseverance: faster spell regeneration
Aptitude: increase spell power and charges
Boxing Lessons: increase melee damage
Viridity: life spell power increase
Elemental Resistance: Fire/Ice/Lightning resistance
Field Work: spell power increase,area spell charges increase
Elusion: Resistance against slowing/freezing and short stun duration
Crownsteed Pride: spell power increase
Vigour: Critcal hit percentage raised
Young Lord: each spell increases power for 10 seconds
Section B and C are unlocked by upgrading portions of Section A on your skill tree and both sections also have their specific spells and upgrades to choose from as well.
Magic and Spells:
What good would a wizard be without the use of magic and spells right? This is where the meat and potatoes of the game really take hold. In this game you can get multiple spells to choose to use and even upgrade as well,spells that range from Ice beams,fire balls,lightning,healing circles that regeneration your health and death circles and death beams that drain health from your enemies.
Its essential to strategize when to use each one of your abilities because no one enemy reacts the same to every magic spell. For instance you will come across a fire enemy who are immune to fire spells, so you must use ice to defeat them and ice enemies are weak against fire,pretty straight forward but so satisfying. It can get pretty hectic when up to 5-6 enemies are on the screen at once and all have different elemental weaknesses!
Controls and meters:
The controls for this game are pretty much what you'd expect from most twin stick shooters.
L and R: These will cycle through your equipped spells for fast and efficient use.
ZR: activates and uses your selected spell
ZL: Does a melee swing with your staff or punching without one equipped
A and B buttons both function as a jump button. Use which ever feels most natural
Y: This uses a dash/teleport spell. This is extremely useful for getting out of tough situations in a hurry. Be careful of your surroundings though.
X: This is your equipment menu. In here you can change your staff,hat or use skill points
You have three different meters you have to pay attention to at all times because it can mean life or death for your character. The green meter acts as your health bar,blue meter acts as your mana bar and your red meter is your dash mater. Dash can only be used two times every 30 seconds or so,use it sparingly.
I want to touch upon the environments and art style a tad here and give my impressions on what I thought based on the ones I experienced. This game has a really beautiful art style,at times I'd find myself ignoring that I needed to move on and instead each the waterfalls in the mountains,look at the ocean and coral reefs or watch as birds flew way off in the distance near abandoned temples.
The game has many variations of environments that players will explore. One minute you'll be in a seaside beach with lavish greens,beautiful water and coral,then the next minute you're in a deep jungle or underground water cavern. While all of these are pleasing to the eye and i loved them, they do tend to repeat scenery a lot.
Multiple different areas will be the same coral looking beach that you played a few levels before hand. While not the exact same level itself,the aesthetic look of it still is. That puts a damper on the immersion a little bit and doesnt give you the impression that you're progressing through the land on a journey.
I wanted to include this for future reference. I have not had the chance to experience the game online just yet,but in the future soon I will give it a try when time is on my side,I will update the review with my overall thoughts then.
Docked vs Handheld:
I tested this game out both on docked mode and handheld mode and only ran into a few small and minor issues during handheld mode.
Docked mode ran pretty smooth at what i felt was a consistent 30fps. I did not notice any screen tearing or frame drops or slow downs. Game looks beautiful.
Handheld mode: This is where I ran into a small issue. A few times during fights that had roughly 5 enemies on the screen at the same time, I experienced a few slow downs and frame drops. Graphically it still looks great in handheld mode and didnt notice any other problems.
Besides frame rate drops here and there,some battles and fights getting tedious and some environment aesthetics being re-used,Nine Parchments is another solid entry into the catalog of games made by Frozenbyte.
If you have ever wanted or wondered what Trine would be like as a twin stick shooter with on your feet thinking and hectic elemental magic battles,then this is a must pick up for you.
Nine Parchments is out now on Nintendo Switch,Playstation 4,Xbox One,PC
-On your toes thinking
-HH mode frame drops
-At times can be tedious
-Use of similar environments