Ni No Kuni is beautiful. The world, the characters, the art, the music. It’s all stunning. Fans of Studio Ghibli (Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) are going to absolutely love sinking themselves into it like a big fat sofa. In fact it’s so lovely that I was prompted to write this just to share the following orchestral hot chocolate.
Outside of this the game is a little bewildering. This is good in a sense as being thrown into a magical fairytale world would lose a little wonder if it was full of the everyday. However in a gameplay sense I am in need of a little guidance. Controlling 2 characters doesn’t sound like many but when each has their own army of monsters and then each can be switched out as a leader (who is then monsterless) it gets a bit confusing especially with the fiddly joypad control system they have here. A little light grinding can give you some advantage but I have always thought that reliance on such things is a major failing in an RPG.
Despite this I still managed to scrape a thrilling victory past the intimidating Bashura and I have the feeling that I will get the hang of this by sheer necessity. Thankfully the game is quite forgiving and a defeat just resets you to the beginning of the fight with full health after taking some of your money. I think is a great concession to sporadic gamers such as myself. Also, it seems very playable in shorter chunks with plenty of save spots and short cut scenes. Of course all this may change as the game progresses but for the moment I may be confused … but I am liking it.