Nine Parchments is a co-op blast 'em up game from Frozenbyte. Frozenbyte is famous for the Trine franchise and developing magic-based experiences. The title follows a group of runaway apprentice wizards who seize the opportunity to complete their spellbooks by going after the lost Nine Parchments.
Unfortunately, as the would-be wizards rapidly acquire powerful new spells without learning proper safety precautions, it's only natural that their hasty progress results in plenty of deaths.
Environment and visuals
The most immediate aspect that hits you when you first start playing Nine Parchments is its gorgeous visuals. The levels have so much color and feel exotic. The game might be one of the best looking titles available on Xbox One at the moment. You want to explore the environment and learn more about its deadly inhabitants.
Unfortunately, you never get a chance to explore the world because you're always led on a predetermined trail. While it's understandable that the focus of the game is on a bunch of reckless wizards and their journey, it would've been nice to go off the beaten path once in a while.
Gameplay and mechanics
The game combines spellcasting with role-playing elements, in a title that is more of a brawler than an adventure game. From the trailer, it appears that the gameplay is similar to Diablo III, but in reality you're thrust into various combat scenarios. Players go from arena to arena, taking out monsters. Once all of the creatures have been destroyed in a section, a passageway opens up to the next area. You keep on doing this until you reach the end of the level.
Nine Parchments is filled with numerous mystical creatures but many of them are protected by magic. For example, glowing orange beasts can't be harmed by fire. Sometimes certain foes also have arcane shields so you need to take them out with a separate attack first. The game becomes increasingly complex as the levels go on, with monsters of all abilities attacking you at once. This is where playing the game with friends comes in handy.
The ultimate goals in Nine Parchments are to unlock new heroes, level up your characters, and collect magical loot, filling your wardrobe with a wide variety of hats and powerful artifacts. These items not only allow you to customize your wizard's appearance, but also give you added bonuses like increased damage.
Nine Parchments features a lot of replayability based on how characters are upgraded and which ones you've unlocked. Throughout your journey you're given choices such as which spells to unlock and which attributes to upgrade.
Nine Parchments features online and local co-op multiplayer. The title can be completed on your own, but it's much easier when you have other players watching your back. Often, the variety of foes on screen becomes too immense so it's impossible to survive their combined attacks.
The game isn't that hard on standard difficulty settings, but it becomes quite the challenge if you decide to turn that up. But you also get better rewards.
Comparisons and performance
Nine Parchments runs like a dream on current-generation consoles because it features 60 frames per second (FPS) gameplay. However, it's even better on Xbox One X because the title hits 4K resolution at 60 FPS. The Xbox One X is the only console to offer such a crisp image because even the PlayStation 4 Pro is locked at 1080p.
I originally played Nine Parchments on Nintendo Switch and experiencing the game again on an Xbox One X is a revelatory experience. It not only looks much better, but the increase in frame rate also tightens up the controls. Shooting enemies with ice beams and fireballs is much more precise because of reduced input lag.
Nine Parchments for Xbox One review conclusion
Overall, Nine Parchments is a good game that needs more open environments and a stronger story. Nowadays, the plot is what distinguishes one experience over the other because there aren't many truly original gameplay ideas out there. Unfortunately, Nine Parchments fails here because it takes place in the Trine universe but does not provide a compelling narrative like Trine and Trine 2.
The technical foundations of the game are strong, but it needs more open areas to explore because it feels a little too linear. There are collectibles to find in each level, but they're easy to come by because the arenas are so small and corridor-like. If Nine Parchments gets a sequel, Frozenbyte needs to address these concerns and build from there.
- Gorgeous visuals.
- Easy to learn.
- Great setting and theme.
- Simplistic combat.
- Restricted environments.
- Simplistic story.
Nine Parchments will is expected to be available on Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4. The game should launch on Xbox One on March 7, priced at $19.99.
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Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.