Get Magically Lost in Nigate Tale
Despite being a game journalist for nearly a decade now, I somehow hadn’t covered Monster Girls. I’ve edited plenty of Monster Girl content, but never played anything myself. And though I had some familiarity with that genre, I had no idea what the isekai genre was. Apparently, it involves being transported into a strange world as a central plot concept, which brings us to this Nigate Tale preview. Nigate Tale is an isekai game filled with beautiful Monster Girls. You crash land there and get trapped in an ever-looping day. While that does give you unlimited attempts to escape, first, you’ll have to find the parts of your broken flying machine.
Nigate Tale is a top-down, rogue-lite with charm to spare. Our boy, Roy, starts out with a few basic tools to help him on his infinite quest. He has a melee weapon, a long-range weapon, an auxiliary tool, and a dodge roll. Though your starting gear is pretty basic, you can eventually forge stronger stuff. Combat is incredibly intuitive, easy to parse and works wonders with a 360 controller. Press X to use melee, Y for ranged, B for auxiliary, and A for the roll. You make your way room by room through gauntlets full of foes. In the Early Access build I demoed, those enemies were nearly all different varieties of Goblins. There are lawn-mowing Goblins, ones with guns, lances, and much more. You’ll also face some smaller foes, such as angry birds (no, not those) and the occasional trap. Traps mostly consisted of spinning buzz saw traps and swiveling laser beams. Generally, you only find traps in rooms dedicated to avoiding them, but sometimes you’ll trip a trigger and get smacked in the face by one in combat rooms.
Like any good rogue, Nigate Tale rewards you with progressive perks you can unlock. This is done by trading in Monster Crystals at the HUB area to unlock handy perks, such as increased health per Blessing, or a chance to revive after death. There’s a lot of tiers of perks to unlock, grouped by type. Some are for exploration, others enhance your magical skills, and some are about technology. But, since the game is about Monster Girls, it stands to reason befriending them has benefits. No, not those. Keep your mind out of the gutter. By befriending Monster Girls with Cake you acquire, you’ll get closer to them. Once your friendship level is high enough, you’ll unlock the ability for a Monster Girl to join you during combat in their Magical Form. Take the first girl you meet, Mayonna. She’s a lovely Octopus gal with a propensity for cooking culinary abominations. When she joins you in battle, she’ll take the form of a tiny pink octopus that spits ice bullets, freezing foes. Each of the 9 or so Monster Girls can join you once you’ve found them and befriended them. In my time with the game, that included a fiery reptile, a gold-obsessed kitty, and a stern centaur archer.
The other main way your gal pals can assist you is with the aforementioned Blessings. At the start of each run, one of them will randomly bestow three Blessings you can pick from. These will vary based on the character. Mayonna gives you ice-based Blessings, others will empower you with flames, and some even reward you with extra gold. None of them is useless, but you may find some Blessings work better with your playstyle than others. I tended to go with fire and ice Blessings, since that dealt progressive fire damage to foes and gave me chances to freeze them in their tracks. Perhaps the most interesting Blessings came from the catgirl, Rothschild. All her Blessings give you a chance to spawn special coins, and when you have enough, you’ll randomly generate some helpful item, such as a cannon or mech suit rampage. If you’re lucky, you might even find her devices strewn about in levels.
But wait, there’s more! You’ll come across something called Gulam Shards, which empower and can even change how your weapons and tools work. You’ll also find magical spells you can cast, though you’ll only have them for the run you discover them. There’s no way to bank spells and use them whenever you want, which is a bummer. But seeing as how they’re effectively screen affecting special attacks, I suppose that makes sense. And there’s also a good chance you can unlock a way to have a spell at the outset of a run via Monster Crystals. I’ve only unlocked a few perks in my time with the game, and there’s plenty more to discover.
The basic loop of Nigate Tale is fun and easy to get hooked on. You’ll fight through stages, beat bosses, die, unlock perks, rinse and repeat. Though the temperature of the combat starts off pretty tame, things can heat up rather quickly. I found that the first time I reached a boss, and promptly had my butt handed to me. Thankfully, by sticking with the game and unlocking more perks, I was eventually able to beat my first boss and reach the second area. The only downside was that it looks identical stylistically to the first area, full of gardens, statuary, and Goblins. While I don’t necessarily mind the style choice, I was hoping each area had a distinct visual flair. But there’s also a chance that will be the case in the final build, which might be a ways away. And speaking of bosses, by far, my favorite was Carl Lucifer. He’s a sassy owl gardener that hounds you with garden shears and has style to spare. He was far more dynamic and felt more like a real boss than Goblin bros Bill and Lance or Daisy the Golem.
Visually, there’s more good than bad in the game. The static art is fantastic and does a great job of bringing personality to the various Monster Girls. Likewise, the 3D models are attractive, if a bit on the primitive side. In a way, Nigate Tale reminds me of Hades by way of RemiLore. Having said that, there’s one aspect of the game that really threw me off – the translation. Not only does it make the dialogue a slog to read, but it confused me about even continuing my game. It asked me if I “wanted to delete my Save,” when really what it meant was whether I wanted to load that file. I’m not gonna say the translation made me hate the game since there’s a lot to enjoy still. But it really lowered the quality of the experience overall, and I fervently hope Hermit Games and 2P Games invest in a solid translation before the final build releases, especially since it’s hard to care about the various Monster Girls if it’s unclear what they’re even saying half the time.
There are also other assorted issues I have with the current build of the game, which I think need to be mentioned. There’s no real distinct audio cues for attacks, which really kept me from playing competently for a while. Since enemies can track you and attack from a good distance away, this could make things tricky. Likewise, the sound effects and music are somewhat muted. Though I’m normally the last person to invest a lot of emotion into a soundtrack, having a really rocking one can make any game better. Lastly, it’s confusing to me how, even with my mouse turned off, the cursor sometimes appears during dialogue, or sometimes there’s even what appears to be Chinese text on the screen. None of these are life or death, but they definitely should be patched sooner than later.
Ultimately, I have a lot of excitement for Nigate Tale. As a fan of rogue, I found this adventure full of Monster Girls surprisingly fun. Sure, there’s still a lot of rough edges, but nothing that can’t be fixed. Here’s hoping Hermit Games can put in the time to make Nigate Tale the absolute best game it can be.