Everything we experience in life comes with some sort of dialogue. There are ones we can see, such as the friendships and relationships we have with others, and then there ones that are intangible which could change your life. Dialogue is important when it comes to discovering new things in the world, as it opens up new doors that you never thought were there. The indie scene right now has created a wonderful dialogue of its own, speaking to gamers in such a way that it’s now more pervasive than ever before. Nintendo has created its own ‘Nindies’ section for its gaming catalog which focus primarily on ensuring that indie companies get the attention they rightfully deserve.
So this now brings us to the point of the article which is Frozenbyte’s latest spell casting, co-op action RPG titled Nine Parchments. At first it may seem like it’s paying homage to some of the classic top-down co-op titles like Gauntlet Legends, which it takes reference from, but once you dive deeper into the gameplay you start to realize that Nine Parchments creates a dialogue of its own.
What to Expect
Nine Parchments is all about magic casting, collecting new upgrades via spells and equipment, but also about working together to collect items while taking down powerful enemies. It’s an all-in-one package that action RPG fans will take a liking to because it’s fresh, vibrant, and doesn’t shy away from trying new things to stimulate the mind. Everything happens in real time meaning that all the spells you cast are entirely in your control, and depending on the creatures you encounter, ensuring you’re equipped with the right spell to take them down becomes even more important. As you run around this enchanting world filled with uncertainty at every turn, Nine Parchments challenges you to always be on alert as enemies appear out of the blue, and will often times make your life miserable.
The game gets progressively harder the longer you play, and with the various difficulties you can play on, Nine Parchments comes with plenty of replay value. The game runs at 1080p 30fps in TV mode while 720p 30fps in handheld mode. Now, while 30fps isn’t necessarily what many of us are used to since we now live in the 60fps world, the game runs exceptionally smooth and we can see why 30fps was used. There’s a lot going on so ensuring the game can continuously maintain a steady frame rate is very important. Now that you have an idea of what to expect from Nine Parchments, let’s go into the gameplay more and emphasize some more of its finer points along with some minor issues.
You start off the game as an apprentice wizard and your master ensures you that the path ahead isn’t going to be an easy one. The tutorial you experience is very straightforward and teaches you basic controls, along with how to properly use your spells as you engage in battle. The story then progresses and there seems to have been an explosion within the campus, and now, all Nine Parchments have been dispersed all around the world. It’s your mission now to go out to recollect all nine so that you can continue on with your journey to become the masterful wizard you dream to be. As we mentioned earlier, Nine Parchments immediately reminded us of the classic Gauntlet Legends where you choose from a group of powerful wizards, all of whom come with their own unique abilities to fend off powerful creatures. As you run around trying to collect your quills and level up, battles will constantly take place and so, it’s your duty to pay close attention to each enemy you come across.
As we mentioned before, each enemy comes with an element that you’ll need to assess before attacking them. At first you’re equipped with ice, fire and a curse spell but as you progress further, you’ll be able to customize and unlock much more. Some enemies will have fire based spells which means that any fire attack you try to hit them with, it’ll notify you that the enemy is immune to it. So the game becomes more about counterspells and strategic planning since there are a lot of times where say, a fire based enemy will have a lightning or ice based shield to protect them and you’ll need to break that shield first before hitting them. So it’s not just simply running around and disposing of what’s in front of you, there is some thought that needs to be considered especially when you have a much larger group of enemies to deal with. Boss Battles are a little different since not all of them will present an obvious clue as to what they’re weak against, and so now, it comes down to trial and error to determine the best course of action. We did plenty of times in the beginning but eventually, once you power up enough and organize your spells for whatever comes your way, you’ll be fine.
Single play is certainly fun and Nine Parchments really puts you to the test because you’ll have to react to certain scenarios differently each time, which forces you to be creative and not rely on similar patterns. The enemy attacks can track your movements and so, your movements will need to be less predictable and more mobile to ensure you don’t get caught in a trap. That’s the beauty about the single player aspect since there’s always a challenge or obstacle to overcome and you’re never left feeling like you were truly overwhelmed. There’s always something that you can do better to ensure survival since the more loot, you find, along with customizing your wardrobe with more powerful staves, the more fun things become. Then there’s, of course, the co-op play where the game becomes a totally different experience altogether.
In single play, it’s more about working for yourself and coming up with divisive ways to outwit the enemy to ensure you don’t die quickly. With co-op play, that same premise still remains but now, you’ll need to pay close attention to your comrades, since in Nine Parchments, there’s a thing called ‘Last Chance Revival’. What this means is that while you’re playing and a person dies, they have one chance to revive themselves and come back into the fray to assist you. So once everyone uses up that last chance then it’s game over. The game at that point becomes more about teamwork and ensuring that everybody is prepared for anything that comes their way. No clumsy play is encouraged since if you die, it puts pressure on your mates to stay alive, so therefore you’ll need to play with focus and make sure that you protect everyone, if possible. Making sure that each person is equipped with a different spell is so important since every enemy will present a totally new challenge, so ensuring that say, someone has has fire while you stick to the ice based attacks will keep the team alive for much longer.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Nine Parchments is full of mysteries and it’s all up to you to discover them as you dive deeper into the beautifully crafted yet devious world. Both the single player and co-op play present their own unique challenges which encourages you to go beyond and be more creative. While the game isn’t long when compared to other action styled RPGs, Nine Parchments comes with a lot of replay value meaning that you’ll be coming back to collect more unique items so that you can unlock more powerful spells for the end game. As we stated earlier, the game runs only at 30fps which may turn some people off, but to be honest, it shouldn’t deter you to at least give the game a try and see just why it’s such a blast to play not only by yourself but with friends as well. Hours will surely fly by as you immerse yourself and try to gather every hat possible, while constantly creating new tactics to tackle bosses on the harder difficulties.
There were times when things felt a bit sluggish with regards to character movement, perhaps it could’ve been a drop in framerate but it really didn’t rob us of anything down the road. Some enemy AI were a bit predictable which we made sure to point out but again, it wasn’t an issue that would take away from the overall experience. Nine Parchments is worth the experience if you’re looking for something new to play over the holiday season so be sure to support Frozenbyte!
A challenging ordeal for any action-RPG fan.
Customization is quite fulfilling.
Charming characters and nice voice acting.
The co-op play is truly where the fun begins. Offline and online!
Local wireless play!
One Joy-Con support is included.
Incredibly beautiful looking game.
The game felt a bit sluggish at times.
Some enemies started to become too predictable.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Nine Parchments is very fun when you throw the element of surprise into it all, since players will have to create new tactics to keep things feeling fresh. We hope to see more content come from Frozenbyte because this title really provided a nice experience. For those who have dived into Nine Parchments already, let us know what you think of the game in the comments below. We’d love to hear how your experience went. Of course be sure to follow us on Twitter and Twitch also to know when we go live with Honey’s Gaming!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!