Prepare for a magical and awesome adventure! Developed and also published by Frozenbyte. This Finnish studio known for Has-Been Heroes and the Trine series now brings Nine Parchments an action game with heavy RPG influences, where up to four players play as wizard apprentices in search for the lost nine parchments to uncover their secrets and learn powerful new spellse. Gather up your crew, pick up your most powerful staff and your most fashionable hat and follow us in this review from the Astral Academy to the mysterious ruins and wild lands of this enchanted world.
- Gorgeous! Nine Parchments is undoubtedly one the most beautiful games of this generation. Period. Wonderful levels full of color, details and life at every inch. Every little aspect of this enchanting world really impresses me, including enemies that are incredibly well animated and the visual effects of spells, which are simply amazing! It’s worth mentioning I’m playing the game on the original Xbox One. I can’t imagine how beautiful it must be on Xbox One S with HDR or on Xbox One X.
- The sound is not far beyond. The music received equal attention from the developers, building the perfect atmosphere for the game. The dubbing work is also pretty good, with a small British accent that gives character (especially Cornelius) a good charm.
- As mentioned in the intro, up to four players can play local or online,with one of seven characters: Cornelius, Gislan, Marvek, Carabel, Rudolfus, the Mechanical Owl, Nim and Amadeus, each one with 4 versions (that differ in what are their starting spells). In your first run, only Cornelius Crownsteed and Gislan of Alcyon will be available, but you can unlock other characters (and versions) as you progress through the game, collecting staves and hats and completing tasks for the other apprentices. The last version of each character (a winged and powerful one) can only be unlocked by playing in the hardest difficult setting, and that is no simple task.
- The game also shines in RPG elements. Every time you level up, you receive 1 skill point that can be used in one of three skill trees to upgrade an ability. To unlock upper tiers, first you must use enough skill point in the previous tiers. Every apprentice gets access to one of three spells through recovered parchments after each boss battle. Expect great replay value to unlock all characters and spells!
- The spells you start the game with and the spells you learn during gameplay are all elemental aligned: fire and Frost, life and death, lighting and steam. Fire opposes Frost and vice versa, while same applies to light and darkness and lighting and steam (no Pokémon rules here). Spells are divided in beans, projectiles, channeled and area. To identify what element/spell to use against each kind of enemy is crucial to survive the battles.
- Your character has a life bar and a mana bar that gets depleted as you use your spells. As there’s one mana bar for each of your spells, remember to constantly switch them to let them all charge. Just consider that, besides the time to recharge the mana bar, some more powerful spells have also a cooldown time. It is an interesting concept that keeps you forced to use some tactics.
- You can easily lose track of the story of the game. Short cut scenes and dialogs during stages (that I often missed because I was admiring the visuals or taking screenshots) are all that reminds you of what you’re looking for during the game. Even in your first stage, inside the Astral Academy, the story isn’t developed. Players who want to go right away into action will enjoy this.
Nine Parchments[Score: 8.5/10] With gorgeous graphics, great music and intense gameplay, I can easily recommend Nine Parchments for every Xbox player. It has deep and challenging action style gameplay with good RPG elements that will keep you entertained for hours, playing solo or with friends. With many things to unlock, it grants you a feeling of accomplishment (with a great replay value, don’t forget about it). Now prepare your spell book to face many hordes of enemies, young apprentice. A long road lies ahead for you to become a master wizard.