Nexomon: Extinction Review (Switch)

Gotta Tame ‘Em All, Nexomon!

 

Nexomon: Extinction

 

I’ve been in love with monster-collecting games for a long, long time now. I don’t care if it’s PokémonYo-kai WatchShin Megami Tensei, or Dragon Quest Monsters; if it’s a game about collecting and battling monsters, I’ve probably played it and ended up loving it. And if I haven’t played it, then I’d probably still love it after doing so. If you’ve been a monster-collecting connoisseur as long as I have, you tend to pick up trends surrounding this little sub-genre slice of gaming heaven. Most of those trends are pretty cool. One trend that’s not so cool, though, is comparing everything to Game Freak’s magnum opus. That seriously drives me crazy. Just because a game revolves around collecting monsters doesn’t mean that it’s trying to copy Pokémon. No self-respecting monster-collecting franchise would try to blatantly rip off Pokémon and pass it off as their own franchise. No franchise except for Nexomon, anyway.

Were this any other monster-collecting game, I would probably dedicate most of my review to explaining what exactly makes it stand out at its own thing. But I can’t do that with Nexomon: Extinction. It’s literally just a Pokémon clone. The entire series is. I’m not trying to be mean or overdramatic. There’s literally no way for me to dance around that fact. Because of that, I’m going to have to switch things up—otherwise, I’d basically just be writing about a nondescript Pokémon game with a few differences here and there. So, for this review, and this review only, I present to you critical my analysis of Nexomon: Extinction and its heavy paralleling of the Pokémon franchise!

 

Welcome to the World of Nexomon!

 

Nexomon: Extinction 1

Man, this blows that whole thing with Professor Birch out of the water.

 

Despite having absorbed so much of its source material into itself, Nexomon: Extinction‘s story is surprisingly original. There’s no cookie-cutter story about collecting badges in a picturesque world. In fact, it’s the opposite. Nexomon: Extinction takes place in a world ravaged by constant warring between humans and the creatures which they once happily collected. Terrifyingly powerful Nexomon known as Tyrants have been tearing the world asunder for far too long—each attempting to crown themselves as the new King of Monsters—destroying most of the human settlements and sending wild Nexomon into a panic which, in turn, harms humanity even more. The game begins with you, an orphan, and several of your orphaned compatriots being welcomed into the official Nexomon Guild in hopes of turning you into the next generation of great Nexomon Tamers so that you, in turn, may help fight to keep humanity alive. Oh, and you’re also apparently the Chosen One. Go figure!

I genuinely like the premise of Nexomon: Extinction. A post-apocalyptic monster-collecting game where the world is in shambles because of the very creatures that you’re trying to collect is really cool. On top of that, Extinction makes the world feel desolate and broken without feeling the need to make it scary or overly threatening. That takes some real talent. Unfortunately, I can’t give the same kind of praise when it comes to the way that the story is actually written.

 

Nexomon: Extinction 2

I hope you like self-referential humor!

 

Nexomon: Extinction’s writing is the video game script version of a socially awkward kid who desperately wants to make friends but only tells self-deprecating jokes because he’s worried that everyone secretly hates them and wants to beat them to the punch in case they actually do. I’m not saying that it shouldn’t have funny moments. There are plenty of humorous scenes and Easter Eggs in Pokémon (remember Elesa’s book full of movie-related Pokémon puns in Gen V?). But the humor in Pokémon is handled differently. It’s self-contained and typically stays within the meta.

Nexomon: Extinction‘s idea of humor, on the other hand, revolves around either breaking the fourth wall—usually in an attempt to make fun of itself—or by making people act uncharacteristically stupid. Stuff like this gets really old, really fast, and constantly breaking the fourth wall makes it difficult to stay immersed. In games like these, it’s important to use humor sparingly and to be clever about it when you do. And, most importantly, be more confident in yourselves, guys! This story could have been really cool had the writers spent less time going, “haha, this is a video game,” and more time developing Nexomon lore.

 

Your Very Own Nexomon Legend is About to Unfold!

 

Nexomon: Extinction 3

Not gonna lie, the aesthetic here is really cool.

 

Let me cut to the chase, here; Nexomon: Extinction is trying to do too much with too little. Compared to Pokémon games (yes, even Gen I), Extinction‘s world feels very small. Now, a small world isn’t inherently bad. Games with fewer places to go have the opportunity to spend more time developing each area, thereby making each place feel special and unique. I do think that, to some extent, this game tried to do that. But it didn’t succeed.

Most of the world within Nexomon: Extinction world consists of broken roads surrounded by patches of tall grass, with the occasional town or dungeon (usually an optional cave) thrown in for good measure. Yes, I know that Pokémon, especially in the older generations, is guilty of this, too. But the difference between the two games is that, while Pokémon spaces things out enough to feel at least somewhat natural, everything in Nexomon: Extinction is squeezed together as tightly as possible, creating a world that borders on feeling claustrophobic. It also feels like there’s a serious lack of cohesion. I get that Nexomon of different types live in different locales, but this game goes to some weird extremes. Why is there a volcano underneath the desert? And why does it take me five minutes to walk from there to a snowy mountain? I get that this game doesn’t need to be grounded in realism, but, come on, it could have tried a bit harder to make things make more sense.

 

I Won’t Give Up My Dream of Becoming the World’s Best Nexomon Trainer!

 

Nexomon: Extinction 3

The battles might not be great, but the Nexomon designs sure are!

 

Boy, oh, boy, we’re finally here. It’s time to talk Nexomon battles. Obviously, battling and capturing Nexomon is the core focus of Nexomon: Extinction. Given that this game copies Pokémon so heavily, you might think that the battles would be pretty good. But they aren’t. The Nexomon meta needs some serious re-tweaking if this franchise is going to keep making games. The way this game handles typing is about as basic as it gets. People make jokes about Pokémon being a rock-paper-scissors game, but they’re leagues ahead of Nexomon. There are nine different types in this game. All Nexomon are mono-type, and feature movepools that are almost exclusively made up of that type. And, considering that there are almost 400 Nexomon in this game, that’s a problem.

Part of what makes Pokémon so fun is that you can do a lot of unique things with the same Pokémon types, or even the same kind of PokémonThe games have evolved enough that there are a lot of different strategies that require a lot of different roles. But in Nexomon: Extinction, everything is an attacker. And, when you divide 400 by 9, you’re left with roughly 44 Nexomon within each type that do almost the exact same thing with varying levels of efficiency. That itself isn’t good, but what sucks the most is the fact that Nexomon designs are really, really good. Seriously, I was blown away by how many cool Nexomon there were in this game. But, because they weren’t some super-strong dragon or a starter (or Domigator, who is best Nexomon boy), there’s a good chance that they’re useless.

 

Nexomon: Extinction 5

If your opponent is Leeched then you literally can’t die (and vise-versa).

 

In Pokémon, each move has a designated number of Power Points. While PP varies based on move, most of the time, you don’t have to worry about running out. In Nexomon, you’ve got stamina, which essentially works the same as MP/SP in any other RPG. The problem, here, is that every attack uses stamina—with most of the good moves being 15+ stamina per use—meaning that you’ll probably run out entirely before the battle is over. Moves themselves also seem kind of broken. Aside from the fact that a lot of moves are only slightly different from one another, there are problems with descriptions (I know of at least one move that lists two different critical chances in its description), and the game never outright explains things like status effects. Some things, like poison and sleep, are easy to figure out, but what the heck is frail?

 

What Brings Out the Power of Nexomon is…

 

 

The way I see it, Nexomon is kind of like the fast-food version of monster-collecting games. It’s cheap, easily accessible, and is certainly worthy of being enjoyed by some. However, when you compare it to its more original and carefully crafted counterparts, it’s easy to see just how ersatz its formula actually is.


Final Verdict: 3/5

Available on: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC; Publisher: PQube Games; Developer: Vewo Interactive; Players: 1; Released: August 28, 2020; ESRB: E for Everyone; MSRP: $19.99

Full disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.

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Starting out with nothing more than a Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Kenny has happily been gaming for almost his entire life. Easily-excitable and a bit on the chatty side (once you get to know him), Kenny has always been eager to share gaming-related thoughts, opinions, and news with others and has been doing so on Hey Poor Player since 2014. Although his taste in gaming spreads across a wide number of developers, consoles, and genres, Kenny holds a particular fondness for Nintendo handheld consoles. He is also very proud of his amiibo collection. Some of his favorite games include Tetris Attack, Pokémon Black Version 2, The World Ends With You, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Donkey Kong Country 2, The Binding of Isaac, Kirby's Dreamland 3, Mega Man X, and Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.

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