Review – Nexomon: Extinction

Given the juggernaut success that is the Pokémon franchise, you would far more developers would try to create their own knockoff to try to capitalize on Pikachu’s success. Sure, we’ve had games like Monster Rancher and the Digimon Story franchise. However, they’ve done a pretty good job at trying to differentiate themselves from its obvious source of inspiration. They do so by offering unique collection mechanics, gameplay tweaks, and different overall vibes. Then there’s Nexomon: Extinction.

Nexomon

You thought that choosing between three starters was already a tough job? Well, Nexomon: Extinction makes you choose between NINE starters. Deal with it.

I had to do a bit of researching in order to find out the origins of the Nexomon franchise. Eventually I discovered it started out in the mobile gaming realm, a place not exactly famous for respecting intellectual properties or coming up with extremely unique gaming ideas. I was shocked I had never heard of it before learning about its sequel being planned for PC and consoles. I was equally shocked that Nintendo didn’t try to halt its release, as they have persecuted other games in the past for much less.

To be honest, I thought the game was going to be a more blatant clone than what it ended up being. Alright, this is basically the closest to a Pokémon ripoff I have ever seen, but I was surprised to find out Nexomon: Extinction has a handful of neat ideas of its own. Perhaps just barely enough to be considered its own thing. The most noticeable difference is its setting. This is a game set in a post apocalyptic land where monsters have ravaged human cities to the point there’s only a handful of them left. People have eventually learned to live alongside the titular Nexomon and even tame them, but their main role as tamers is to defend humankind from future attacks.

Nexomon

Because Game Freak told us so.

Yeah, this is not exactly a shiny happy story of a ten year old being allowed to leave home and partake in a gigantic journey to become the very best like no one ever was. There are high stakes in here, with you meeting war survivors and ghosts pretty early in the story. This is far from a gloomy game, however. Nexomon: Extinction features hilarious dialogue, full of puns, clever jokes, and most importantly, self awareness regarding the fact it’s a Pokémon clone at the end of the day.

Regarding the gameplay… yep, it’s basically Pokémon. Pick a starter (there are NINE of them to choose from, instead of three), receive “Nexotraps”, walk on tall grass, look for monsters, weaken them, throw a trap, add them to your party, fight other trainers, and so on. Type matchups work almost identically as those in Pokémon, with “mineral-types” being strong against electrics, water beating both fire and minerals, and so on.

Nexomon

It looks way too familiar, but at least the presentation is top notch.

Nexomon: Extinction‘s combat is a bit more streamlined than your average Pokémon game. There are less types, nine in total, and each monster only has one type. Instead of each move having its own stack of PP, every monster has a stamina meter, with each move requiring a specific amount in order to be used, just like your average JRPG. Like a classic JRPG as well, Nexomon: Extinction features an excruciating amount of grinding, to the point of making leveling up your Pikachu to become strong enough to beat Brock’s Onix with Quick Attacks in Pokémon Yellow feel like child’s play.

Nexomon

This cat isn’t a Nexomon, he’s your companion, the one who does all the talking since your character is a mute. He’s also my new spirit animal. He gets my humor.

For a game that was originally conceived for mobile phones, I was legitimately impressed with Nexomon: Extinction. Sure, the overworld visuals feel as if they were created on RPG Maker, but they are still pretty detailed, with tons of varied environments. Being a more fantastical game than its main source of inspiration allowed the developers to go absolutely wild with the overall level design. What impressed me the most, however, was how detailed and well-animated all monsters are. They are 2D sprites, but animated as if they were cartoons, being what should have been Pokémon‘s natural progression after Generation V in case Game Freak decided to ditch 3D battles for their future installments. Pretty good stuff indeed.

Nexomon

They included a pug in here, for all you weirdos who actually find them cute.

I wasn’t expecting a lot from Nexomon: Extinction, given its mobile origins and overall “pre-Gen III Pokémon clone” vibe, but it ended up being quite decent. Sure, it forces you to grind so much that it becomes a hassle pretty quickly, and it does feel way too derivative, but you can still have quite a bit of fun with it. Especially if you’re one of those purists who complain about how easy and streamlined modern Pokémon games are nowadays. Its hilarious dialogue sure helped as well. This will remind you of the good old days of grinding in Viridian Forest, that’s for sure.

 

Graphics: 7.5

The overworld visuals are quite detailed even though they look like something made on RPG Maker. The battle graphics and animations were surprisingly impressive.

Gameplay: 6.5

Your standard old-school Pokémon gameplay with simple controls. There is a bit of input delay when traversing the overworld. There is also an annoying amount of grinding, especially at the beginning.

Sound: 5.5

At times, it sounds like what a Pokémon game would sound like, but for the most part, the soundtrack is pretty mediocre and forgettable.

Fun Factor: 7.0

It’s a neat throwback to the earlier generations of Pokémon with some fantastic and self-aware writing, but it’s bogged down by a ton of grinding, even for old-school Pokémon standards.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Nexomon: Extinction is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC ,and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Nexomon: Extinction was provided by the publisher.