There have been a couple attempts to explore the darker sides of Pokemon-likes. Monster Crown, which is in early access on PCs, gets dark, is violent, and embraces eldritch horror. On the other hand, we have Nexomon Extinction. It asks what happens when we have these monsters around, they’re actively hostile, and this means there is a war between monsters and humans. The answer is, we get a single-player game that both fun to play and quite clever.
Nexomon Extinction Review – Destiny is Thrust Upon Some
You are an orphan. Which feels like it isn’t all that uncommon in a world where gigantic and devastating Nexomon known as Tyrants roam around and dragon-types are constantly hunting them down. You’re in an orphanage not far outside of Parum, the capital city of the country, Tamer Guild hub, and pretty much last safe space. On the day you and three of your fellow orphans become tamers, a dragon touches down and nearly kills you. This prompts intervention from a high-level trainer and gets you caught up in a war between Tyrants, their masters, dragons, and members of the Guild, all while you’re also registering as an official tamer and climbing the ranks.
While you are the star, with Nexomon Extinction allowing you to choose from multiple appearance options, it is your companion Coco who steals the show. You are generally a silent protagonist, though you can choose responses to learn more about the world and its lore or for comedic effect. Coco constantly breaks the fourth wall, points out illogical elements, offers “outs” when the going gets tough, and is a delight. It’s running commentary that can be clever, sarcastic, and silly.
This level of humor, which can sometimes even be dark, permeates a storyline that goes out of its way to have a narrative that can be more elaborate and have more twists than a typical Pokemon-like. It also attempts to slightly more cinematic. The game is littered with CGs that show up at important moments to introduce characters and Nexomon that will matter. As a whole, it’s more story-heavy than you’d expect in a very positive sort of way.
Nexomon Extinction Review – Wandering Around a Dangerous World
What’s interesting about Nexomon Extinction is its open-world approach. This is the sort of game where you can go to lots of places almost immediately. After defeating your first Tyrant, you unlock a fast-travel system. Earning higher rank badges can unlock access to new areas and new shop items, though a place like Drake Isles will be “recommended” for Silver-ranked tamers, but could still be visited by anyone. Side quests will be open regardless of your level or rank, providing ways to get extra income and items.
This freedom means you have a better range of starter creatures to form your party. (Which is good, since there is no trading with other players or any online elements.) Like Pokemon, you can only have six Nexomon with you at a time. Like Dragon Quest Monsters or a more typical RPG, each character can have four moves that cost a certain amount of stamina to use.
Other genre staples are featured here too. There are eleven different elemental types, each with their strengths and weaknesses. Leveling up creatures and training them could lead to evolutions. In a change I felt was rather positive, some moves can have additional side effects, like demotivation, binding, burning, freezing, or poisoning, to provide an incentive to use them and make them more viable. You can also acquire cores and equip up to four of them to your favorite characters, to do things like boost certain stats or experience earned.
So you have over 380 total choices. And some of those also pay tribute to the original Nexomon game. After reaching the capital, you can trade for an Experimental Lure that will make creatures based on original characters possible encounters in the wild. So, for example, buying it means Florozard will show up outside the city limits in shaking grass. And these look like older designs. For example, Divette is absolutely connected to the older Vozette and Idolette.
Nexomon Extinction Review – The Daily Grind
While it is generally delightful, a few things do hamper the overall experience. One is the actual catching process. In an attempt to be a little more tactical and realistic, the potential capture chance is influenced by how tired a Nexomon is, if you have fed it, if it is suffering from a status effect, what sort of NexoTrap you will be using, and if you have items like a catch-rate-boosting type-whistle. This means your odds could start at around 15-20% even if the foe’s health is at 1 or 2 HP, because you’re using a basic trap. Once you throw a trap, you then have to go through a quick-time event for every catch, tapping action buttons in a few seconds in the hopes of having a chance to catch it.
It’s tedious, to be sure. But then, you have to factor in other elements. NexoTraps can start at 100 coins for a basic one and, while you can earn a few coins even from basic Nexomon encounters, affording an adequate supply of traps is expensive (even if you are occasionally selling unwanted Nexomon as part of the trading side quests). Life in this world is very costly. And sure, trainer battles are available readily and will very quickly want rematches, but even those don’t always provide the funds you need.
Nexomon Extinction is also a rather difficult game. Even if you have characters strong against the elemental types in an area, it doesn’t feel well balanced. I found myself constantly fighting to try and earn levels, rushing back to the nearest medic in an attempt to conserve the little money I had earned to save for more important things.
In general, Nexomon Extinction is a novel Pokemon-like. Its story is quite enjoyable and packed with personality, humor, and even some twists about the state of the world. There are lots of cool monsters who are really appealing, with movesets you could really work with and build parties around. But it doesn’t have everything you might expect from a game in this genre, since there’s no multiplayer element. Also, it can feel quite tedious due to the rate of experience you earn and amount of money you (aren’t) getting. Still, it’s definitely worth a look, especially when you consider its price.
Nexomon Extinction review code provided by publisher. Version 1.00 reviewed on a standard PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.