[Beyond PlayStation] Nine Parchments Review

by EdEN, Owner

Nine Parchments from Frozenbyte is a colorful and fast-paced single player and co-op action RPG now on Nintendo Switch. Learn more about it in our Nine Parchments review!

The game is an action RPG release that focuses a bit more on the action than on the RPG side of things, all while still giving some nice character progression as you gain experience, level up and carry on with your quest. As you can tell from its trailer, and from the screens in this review, it’s a very colorful release with plenty of particles and spells flying in every direction. While you can certainly take on this one on your own, it is when playing in 2-4 co-op that the game truly shines – either locally or online.

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The controls in Nine Parchments are set up as if this was a pure twin-stick shooter, which makes it easier for everyone to pick up a controller and dive right into the action. You’ll move around with the left analog stick and can aim with the right one, while the B buttons is used for jumping around. You can cycle between your available spells by pressing the L and R buttons, and can activate your selection by pressing the ZR button. The ZL button can be used for dishing out some damage with a melee attack. And if you want to quickly get somewhere or avoid enemy attacks, you can use the Y button to blink. Remember these, as well as to not walking too close to the edge of your current platform or else you might end up dead in a blink!

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Before you can dive into a new adventure you’ll need to select between the four available difficulty settings. While you can change difficulty at any time, you can only select hardcore when starting a new game. The available difficulty settings are Easy in which there are no elite monsters; Normal in which there are elite monsters and your experience gain is, well, normal; Hard in which enemy spawns are randomized, and enemies themselves are more difficult and challenging; and Hardcore in which if all adventurers die then it is game over – on the plus side you can unlock guilded characters which raises the level cap for these magical adventurers to 60.

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Something you need to consider is that each spell has its own cooldown timer, so if you can’t use one offensive spell to decimate your opponents because it has basically “ran out,” then you should switch to another offensive spell continue to deliver stable damage to enemies.

Speaking of magical adventurers, this game features eight characters for you to play as: Carabel the Glacial, Cornelius Crownsteed, Marvek the Torrid, Nim the Cleaner, Owl, Gislan of Alcyon and Rudolfus the Strange. Oh, and that wizard guy from Trine. You know the one. Whathisname the wizardingguy who presents blocks grabbed out of thin air. At first, the only two available characters are Cornelius Crownsteed and Gislain of Alcyon – you’ll have to unlock the rest by finding their staff and completing their unlock quest! Each character has specific starting spells for their journey. For example, Gislain of Alcyon has Small Life Circle (small circle for healing), Lighting Spray (sends out a burst of lighting) and Death Beam (a beam of death!). There are different from Cornelius’ Ice Beam, Small Fireball and Death Circle (you know, the opposite of the Small Life Circle).

Nine Parchments Review - 4

As for the game’s story, a group of apprentice wizards decides now would be a great time to search for the lost Nine Parchments so that they can gain access to very powerful spells. Their adventure will take them to many colorful and charming locations, as well as to some dark locations with plenty of enemies, and if you’re not careful, you’ll end up dead before you know it. Sure, this one could even be labeled as a magical top-down shoot ‘em up since the action can be pretty hectic, but the added RPG elements do make this a better game – leveling up and searching for loot is always a fun activity!

On top of exploring new locations, vanquishing evil foes and defeating large and dangerously deadly bosses, you’ll also get a chance to find some extra items to spice up your wardrobe. You see, as you play, you’ll be able to unlock a ton of hats and staff with your hard work and trigger-happy fingers, and who doesn’t like extra hats for characters to wear? The staff, in particular, are important since finding the staff of the characters not yet in your group will allow you to unlock them after completing a side mission type of thing.

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Nine Parchments has a robust in-game achievement system with objectives such as finding a hat, finding a staff, combining three spell beams into a single beam, dealing 1,500 damage with a single ice spell, killing five enemies within ten seconds with the fire beam spell, having fine enemies kill each other during one fight, dealing 2,000 damage during a single fight, completing the game and plenty more. The list will definitely keep completionists busy since it’s a long one that compares to a full trophy list on PS4 for games with a Platinum trophy.

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Nine Parchments is a game I’ve been looking forward to playing since it was announced by Fronzebyte, and I have to say that the wait has been worth it. I’ve been a fan of the Trine series, and enjoy playing Has Been Heroes on Switch (even more so after the massive recent update to that game!), and I’m happy to say that Nine Parchments is a solid and fun single-player/co-op release that is launching first on Nintendo Switch. The framerate might be locked at 30fps, but that means you’ll get 1080p when docked and 720p when undocked without a hint of slowdown, which is certainly better. IT would be interesting to see Frozenbyte patch the game to offer gamers the chance to do 720p and 60fps docked, if technically possible, but in its current state, the game is a lot of fun.

This Nine Parchments review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Frozenbyte.

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