It’s hard not to draw comparisons when it comes to Nexomon & Pokemon. Not just in the name alone, Nexomon: Extinction is very clearly inspired by the popular monster catching game. What makes the journey so fun with Nexomon though is its interesting catching mechanics, main story, side quests, and the fact that it’s constantly poking fun at the genre it’s paying homage to. It’s like you and your feline friend Coco came from some different world entirely. Coco is always making comments and wondering why random trainers would want to fight you and give you money if they lose. Coco even makes a quip early on about the children having to go out into the woods until midnight, proclaiming that the head trainers have clearly “never played an RPG before”. It’s this self-aware humor, classic turn-based gameplay, and great Nexomon designs (there’s over 300 for you to catch and evolve) that make this such a fun game to play.
The story of Nexomon: Extinction reminded me of a Godzilla movie. These giant Nexomon called “Tyrants” are fighting for dominance and it’s up to you and a bunch of other orphan trainers to restore balance to the world. Before your journey beings, you can choose from an assortment of male and female protagonist skins. You also have the chance to change what companion follows you around (like how Pikachu follows you around in Pokemon Yellow), but these are found throughout the world later on. You can even change your character and companions appearances during the game at any time, so you’re not stuck with what you started with.
After a brief introduction with our headmasters, we’re thrust into battle with a giant dragon and we’re able to choose our starter Nexomon. I was overwhelmed when I was given the choice of NINE different Nexomon to choose from. I’m so used to the Grass, Fire & Water types as your only choices in Pokemon that being able to choose from so many here had me actually thinking about who I was going to pick. Typically I go with the Fire-type, but this time I decided to go with a Ghost-type named Behilda. She’s adorable and carries her head around in her hands, so I figured why not. You can check out the other starters below to see which one would be the right fit for you.
Combat will be familiar to you if you’ve played any of these types of games before. Different types of Nexomon are effective against others, but what makes your move-set so interesting is that they don’t have their own set amount of uses and all share the same stamina (mana) pool. You can spam a certain move if you want, but once you’ve run out of stamina, your Nexomon will become tired, and will need to wait until their stamina comes back to continue fighting. This works against enemies as well. When you go up against the big, bad Tyrants, they’ll take way more then a few hits to take down, so it becomes a game of survival until they’re too tired to attack so you can just unleash all your attacks on them to claim victory. What’s nice about this is that you can’t always rely on one type of Nexomon to get you through. If you’ve been buffing up only one and they run out of stamina, you’re going to have to switch to another and find yourself at a disadvantage. The only thing I found annoying during combat is that if your Nexomon faints and you bring out another, the enemy will attack you right away. If you’re going up a challenging opponent, it can quickly become a slaughter-fest and you’ll find yourself starting back at the beginning of the area you were exploring.
Catching Nexomon is a slightly different affair than what you’re used to. You’ll see the patches of grass shaking this time, but if you don’t walk right into the part that’s shaking, you can just avoid combat altogether. If you do decide to fight, you don’t just attack a Nexomon until their health is low and throw a Nexotrap at them and cross your fingers. I mean, you can do that, but you’d just be making things harder for yourself. There are different factors that come into play and certain Nexomon like certain types of foods. Feeding a Nexomon its favourite types of foods will increase your chances of capturing it. When you toss a trap at a Nexomon you need to input a series of button commands (I played on PS4 so it was the triangle, circle, x & square buttons) for the trap to work. Even if you do the input correctly, there still is the chance that the Nexomon will break free. To further your chances of catching one, there are different types of whistles you can find that give you a 3% increased chance to catch that certain type of Nexomon, and this buff stacks with each new whistle that you find. What’s also nice about this catching system is that it tells you the percentage you have to catch the creature based on how the battle is playing out, so you know your chances and don’t really need to toss and waste a trap until you think you’ve got a good chance of nabbing it.
The world of Nexomon is bright and colorful with plenty of animation and life despite its fixed top-down perspective. You’ll travel to ghost towns, deserts, and massive cities, but there is always that ever looming apocalyptic story going on in the background. Medic camps can be found on paths and can be used for healing. Abandoned cars and broken bridges are commonplace in your travels. Nexomon: Extinction is light-hearted but there are these hints of peril that will keep you invested in the story. There are shops where you can buy items and you can equip your Nexomon with different “cores” that can give them bonus xp, defense, coin drop, etc in battle to give you an edge. To help you navigate this world, there are warp-points that can be found that will allow you to travel between the major cities with ease. You’ll come across trainers during your adventure that can be avoided or challenged, and what’s nice is you can fight these trainers as many times as you like after a certain amount of time has passed from your previous battle. You can get some good experience and coin from these fights, which is a great alternative to just having to grind random battles with Nexomon.
To keep track of everything going on, the main story and side-quests are found in your journal. While the main story is engaging, it’s the side-quests that are worth doing the most. Not only for the loot, but for just how random they can be. One involves you deleting a ghosts browser history from his computer, and another has you helping a forgetful mailman get a letter back from a thief… which I won’t spoil, but the outcome isn’t what you’d expect. Along with these great side-quests, the main star of the show for me was Coco. Coco is your voice in the game since you’re a silent protagonist and Coco just seems annoyed to be in the game. They’re just so negative about everything that’s going on and it’s just so refreshing. Usually in these types of games, everyone is just so positive and striving to be the very best (like no one ever was). Nexomon: Extinction constantly makes fun of these types of caricatures. It’s invigorating to see a game embrace the monster-catching tropes we’ve come to expect and just flip them right on their head.
If you’re sick of Pokemon and its stale formula, Nexomon: Extinction is just a great time. Kids might find it a bit challenging, especially early on, but once you’ve built up a proper team, the difficulty seems to even out. It took me back to the days of the original Pokemon, but provides some new features that are welcome improvements to the genre. The writing is consistently hilarious and catching Nexomon can become very addictive. If you’ve been looking for a new monster-catching game to take up your time, Nexomon: Extinction will be right up your alley. – NVJ
Nexomon: Extinction is available on August 28th for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch & PC
PS4 review code provided by PQube