Nine Parchments Review
For the people who love playing as a sorcerer, wizard, or mage in RPG games, or who simply love magic and casting spells, Nine Parchments is the game for you. It is very similar to the likes of Trine, and Magicka, and also reminded me of my days playing as a Mage on Skyrim, or a Wizard in Diablo III.
Nine Parchments very much plays like an action RPG, except for one major difference: movement controls. Instead of clicking where your character is supposed to go, you instead control him or her using the WASD keys, or the left analog stick, similar to a twin stick shooter. This change of direction allows for a literal change of direction while casting spells, resulting in more fluid combat. Your character can also jump in real time, a feature more seen in twin stick arcade shooters than in action RPGs. The tradeoff is a limited number of spells, since your left hand is now dedicated to movement instead of spell casting keys.
Having fewer spells in your arsenal isn’t necessarily a downside though, as it reduces the complexity of the game; this makes it a simpler, more relaxing game that is accessible to a wider audience. Personally, I found it refreshing to be able to get into a game without having to learn a lot of things about the mechanics. Picking my first character, I was presented with three different spells and that was about it. For hardcore spell casters, the ones who theorycraft a lot, this might turn you off. However, there’s a skill tree for each character, so the game is not as shallow as you might think.
Nine Parchments has eight characters, with four variations (in appearance, spells, and skill trees) each. You start with two playable characters and unlock more as you progress through the game – this is done by completing different challenges and achievements, all related to the character.
Nine Parchments is quite long: the main goal is to progress through a series of levels, collecting all the lost nine parchments of magic spells. The pacing is handled well in Nine Parchments. The game doesn’t waste time; your character regenerates faster whenever there are no enemies around, and all characters can use a ‘blink’ spell to navigate quickly around the map. Blinking in combat is also useful for offensive positioning or or defensive maneuvers. There is virtually no inventory management, as you only equip two items: a hat and a staff. Each spell has its own mana bar and cooldown, so you can essentially spam one spell and then use another while the first regenerates its mana.
The levels and enemies are diverse enough. Different enemy types are resistant or weak to different kinds of elements, so choose wisely when casting your spells. Ice spells won’t work on ice monsters, but everything else will; as you might expect, fire will do the most damage. Sometimes an enemy will have an elemental shield on top of its elemental nature, so you’ll have a to use a combination of spells to get through the enemy’s defences to kill it. Different elements have different effects as well; use lightning spells to stun, ice spells to freeze enemies in place, and so on. This makes for more interesting and fun gameplay.
Looking at Nine Parchments on Steam’s categories and features list, you can could tell that the Developers really did their job. Nine Parchments has single player, co-op, multiplayer, online, local, split screen, full gamepad support, Steam achievements and more. Rarely do you see a game that includes all of those game modes and features right off the bat.
While playing Nine Parchments solo is doable, I would not recommend it. The game is built for co-op gameplay, and you’ll get the most fun if you play with other people, either locally or online. I highly recommend playing in your living room using a Steam Link – I’ve been looking for a relaxing casual couch game for a long time now, and this hit the spot perfectly.
The graphics and the art style are top-notch – way better than I expected. The beautiful effects make casting spells even more awesome, and, best of all, the game still runs smoothly. The story is decent. It isn’t the main focus of the Nine Parchments but the writers still did a decent job of it. The voice acting and sound design are both well done.
I do have a few issues with the game though: Nine Parchments doesn’t allow you to have multiple save files, forcing you to overwrite your current progress if you want to play another game, when joining others, or trying other characters. You can’t even replay the levels that you’ve finished. Already in the middle of the game and want to join your friend who’s just starting out? You’ll have to either forgo your progress to join his game, or he’ll have to jump into the middle of yours. I would hope they fix this in the later patches, as I can’t think of a game that doesn’t allow you multiple saves.
Disclaimer: PC Aficionado was provided with a code for the purpose of this review. All thought and opinions expressed in the review are the writers own and are not influenced by the developer and/or publisher in any way.
- Great visuals
- Great pacing
- Easy to pick up
- Local/Split screen
- Gamepad Support
- Only one save file
- Cannot separately replay levels