They say that the highest form of flattery is imitation. If we go by that, you could say most publications think Pokémon should be quite flattered by Nexomon: Extinction. But hear me out: in many, many ways, I prefer this approach to what Game Freak has been doing for the past few years. No small feat, considering I used to be a competitive Pokémon player. Why do I prefer the copy? Let me tell you.
No more DS-looking Sprites and Environments
Quite simply, every time I look at the new Pokémon games, I feel like I’m looking at some fan-made Black/White HD Remaster. There is no true evolution (ha) in the Pokémon graphical experience since, I’d argue, the GBA-to-DS transition.
Nexomon: Extinction carries no baggage, which means it can approach its presentation however it pleases. It does so with incredibly beautiful hand-drawn illustrations which, when compared to the “official” offerings, look three generations ahead.
Not all monster designs are memorable, but pound for pound, I’d play Nexomon before I play Sword/Shield many, many times over.
The battle mechanics in Nexomon: Extinction are similar to those found in Game Freak’s legendary (he) franchise. Elemental strength and weaknesses, turn-based battles, items, and more, are all ripped right from the Pokémon handbook.
But many things are different. First off, the difficulty is much higher than what modern players might be used to. Much more comparable, I’d say, with DS-era Pokémon games, rather than contemporaries.
Also, instead of PP depleting when using moves, you get a single stamina bar which depletes at different rates depending on which move you use. This means that you need to plan out your strategy quite well, and you’ll probably go back to regenerate and heal your Nexomon a lot.
Finally, in-game currency is hard to come by, so you can forget about stocking up with healing items and going on your merry way. Having said that, as a fan of earlier entries in the Pokémon series, I don’t mind grinding. It’s part of the experience. It even, I’d argue, teaches you patience.
The Nexomon Story
Another thing I quite like about Nexomon is the story. Though it starts off quite generic, it quickly evolves into a tongue-in-cheek comedy which feels altogether more mature than I was expecting. This is a good thing. I was honestly tired of reading the same old Pokémon story over and over. It reminds me quite a lot of the Neptunia series, in a way. Fun, doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Also, Nexomon throws you straight into it. You don’t need to read endless amounts of text to get playing. You get your first Nexomon within 5 minutes. All this to say: the story isn’t obtrusive, and what is there, is quite fun.
It Ain’t All Great
The biggest downside to me is that there is no multiplayer whatsoever. Nexomon: Extinction is a strictly single-player experience. I understand why they needed to keep the scope small. The price certainly reflects this, too (it’s a third of the price of a Pokémon game).
But I can’t help but feel like I would have loved this game even more, particularly with its unique battle system, if I could play it with friends.
Honestly? I love it. For Game Freak freaks who have played the official entries to death, or who have been hankering for a different take on it, it’s a no brainer. It looks great, does enough to differentiate itself to warrant the purchase, and the combat is tough. No multiplayer means that the post-game is basically non-existent. But what is here is a solid single-player campaign that fans of monster taming games will adore.
Nexomon: Extinction is available on PS4, Xbox One and Switch.