I have a confession, the Nintendo Switch really took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it nearly as much as I am especially after the less than amazing console releases previous to Nintendo’s latest entry. More surprising to me, however, is the incredible third party support that we are seeing arise since the Switch’s release. With juggernauts like id and Bethesda dropping the double-feature of Doom and Skyrim as well Wolfenstein coming in Spring of 2018 it’s an exciting time to be a Nintendo fan. With all the hype surrounding the Switch, one other exciting piece of news to see is the fantastic support for Indie developers and smaller studios. It’s great to see some of my favorite titles making their way to the Switch. Frozenbyte is one such studio, and Nine Parchments is one such game you need to keep an eye on.
As a long time fan of the Trine Series by Frozenbyte, I was excited to hear that their latest title Nine Parchments is due to release December 5th. With a demo finally available on the Nintendo store, I took some time to dive into Frozenbyte’s latest fantasy title. With promises of a magic-centric ARPG co-op experience, I have to say that I was definitely excited to dive in. So after spending way too much time playing a two-level demo, I’m here to bring you my first Impressions of Nine Parchments.
The game’s premise is one of classic magical fantasy. As a student of the Illustrious Magic Academy, you are in training to become the next great wizard of the world. However, after an explosion of unknown origin the pages of a powerful magical book are spread all over the kingdom. You, being a bright and ambitious pupil (and also in dire need of better grades), take it upon yourself to scavenge the land gathering and learning all that the scattered magical pages have to teach you.
As mentioned, Nine Parchments is an ARPG or rather an isometric, twin-stick shooter ARPG. Combat is handled extremely well with your left stick controlling movement while right stick is reserved for aiming your vast array of spells. The bumpers are reserved for spell rotation, with three spells per character being available in the demo. The left and right trigger offer a melee and spell attack respectively. When you mash this all together you get an incredibly fun and rewarding ARPG experience on the Switch.
As alluded to previously I spent more time than the Demo’s two level’s really warranted but I found myself wanting jump back into the combat over and over again. Each of the two characters I played had a unique set of spells the dramatically changed their approach to combat. This made for some great replay and in the case of co-op (both local couch and online co-op are supported) could make for some great team synergies. Another facet of combat that I really enjoy is that it’s not easy. It requires you to play to your character’s strengths while defending against your weaknesses. It’s the smart combat style of combat I have come to expect from Frozenbyte, especially after spending so much time with the Trine trilogy.
The game also boasts unlockable characters, hats, and staffs. The demo really didn’t offer much information in regards to if the hats and staffs impact gameplay at all but based on my experience with the two playable characters in the demo unlocking characters could open up a lot of combat options.
Nine Parchments offers a progression system in the form of upgradeable characters, with combat and discovery seeming to be the avenues for gather XP. Unfortunately, the demo didn’t really do much by way of explaining or showcasing the system so I look forward to seeing it in action when the game releases. One last note (and probably one of my favorites) is that Nine Parchments is set in the Trine universe, so for all of you Trine fans out there I would suspect we will see some great easter eggs along the way.
Nine Parchments is scheduled to release on the Switch, PS4, Xbox One and Steam December 5th, 2017.