Pokemon — a multimedia franchise all about catching monsters and trading them with friends — took the world by storm during the 90s, and remains popular to this day. However, in recent years, there has been a growing number of gamers becoming dissatisfied with a perceived lack of innovation in Pokémon's flagship titles.
This sentiment may have contributed to an increasing volume of third-party takes on the 'monster catcher' formula Pokemon popularized. Examples include indie titles like TemTem, Monster Crown, and Coromon. There have even been higher-budgeted titles like CAPCOM's Monster Hunter: Stories and Square Enix's Dragon Quest: Joker trying to capitalize on Pokémon's formula. One of those titles has finally made it to the Xbox One X and that is Nexomon: Extinction.
Developed by Vewo Interactive Inc and published by PQube, Nexomon: Extinction, a sequel to 2017's 'Nexomon', aims to provide the traditional 'monster catcher' formula with new twists. Nexomon: Extinction offers increased difficulty in battles, a bleaker setting to become immersed in, and most importantly; loads of cool monsters to capture and tame. Does it succeed? Let us find out.
The darker Pokemon
Bottom line: If you're looking for an Xbox Pokemon alternative with a bit more teeth, Nexomon: Extinction fits the bill.
- A more challenging take on Pokemon
- A deep setting you can get immersed in
- A wide variety of creatures to collect
- No multiplayer features whatsoever
- Can occasionally feel grindy
Nexomon: Extinction The good stuff
|Platforms||Xbox, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4|
You take the role of a young teenager (with a customizable male or female avatar), who has been chosen to become a member of the Tamers Guild, a group of warriors dedicated to protecting humanity from creatures called 'Nexomon Tyrants'. You do this by going out into the wild with your tamed Nexomon and put them to battle against their angry and feral brethren. During battles, you can capture the Nexomon creatures once they are weakened using 'Nexo Traps,' after which, you can add them to your team of up to six critters.
Along the way, you will also battle other Nexomon Tamers. They can range from friendly Tamers looking for a spar to criminal elements looking to steal your possessions.
Nexomon: Extinction differentiates itself with its interesting and bleak setting, at least when compared to its main inspiration. As you venture beyond the beginning area, you will discover towns destroyed by the Tyrants and see giant ancient remains of them littered throughout the land. In this world, people have been deprived of hope and driven to mistrust each other.
Without spoiling, as you progress through the story and set things right, village populations start to become more welcoming, rewarding the player with a sense of accomplishment, alongside various items to aid the hero in his or her travels.
It's not all doom and gloom. There's a fair amount of humor and colorful characters to help offset the bleakness, so things don't become too overbearing. Setting this world right is going to take a lot of work, and a lot of battles.
As is tradition, the combat system is turn-based. In 'monster catcher' games, you would send a monster whose elemental type and move set has an advantage over your opponent's and switch out when needed. This usually results in a rock-paper-scissors type battle with the occasional status effect or buff to shake things up.
Nexomon: Extinction changes things up by putting less emphasis on type advantage and more on move priority, accuracy, and resource management. Firstly, Nexomon moves share the same stamina pool. So, you must be careful when using moves that cost too much stamina unless you have healing items on hand.
Secondly, when you select moves, they will list the amount of speed and accuracy each has. Meaning that while some moves are extremely powerful, your opponent may use a weaker move that has a status effect that comes out faster, which may render your Nexomon helpless.
I really liked Nexomon's battle system. It encouraged me to try out new strategies and various Nexomon party compositions for different situations when the need arose, especially against boss fights which can be tough. Tyrant Nexomon and Nexomon Tamer bosses are often several levels higher than you. Also, enemies level scale with the game's story progression, so going back to past areas will continue to provide a challenge.
Thankfully, there is 381 Nexomon to catch and experiment with. Completionists will be busy for hours trying to catch them using various items, obtained through the game's many side-quests. Not to mention, Nexomon can evolve into more powerful forms if you level them up enough, making training your team all the more rewarding.
Nexomon Extinction The not-so-good stuff
While Nexomon: Extinction is a solid single-player game, sadly, unlike its main inspiration Pokemon, it is only a single-player game. It has no multiplayer features of any kind at the time of writing. So, no trading or battling Nexomon with your friends. When you're building a game that so closely draws inspiration from another, the omitted features become more glaring.
Be warned, it can get grindy when you need to level up your Nexomon, earn money, and mine crafting materials. You may need to grind to compete against the aforementioned bosses and the game's level scaling. However, there are items that help mitigate this, so your mileage may vary on your tolerance towards repetition.
Finally, and this is a minor gripe, I found that Nexomon: Extinction's occasional attempts at fourth-wall-breaking humor don't really land well, and only serve to undermine the game's story.
Should you buy Nexomon: Extinction?
Nexomon: Extinction doesn't drastically change the 'monster catcher' formula, and the lack of multiplayer can be a major turn off. However, the more challenging combat, combined with the more serious setting and the wide variety and creativity of monsters to capture definitely makes up for it.
Overall, I liked Nexomon: Extinction. If you're looking for a more challenging take on Pokemon's campaign or just something to scratch that turn-based single-player RPG itch for a low price, I definitely recommend this one.
Nexomon: Exctinction is available now for Xbox, PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch. Be sure to take a look at our list of best upcoming Xbox games for 2020!
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