Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
I’m digging this isometric RPG kick I’ve been on lately, so when I saw the opportunity to check out one with a grid-movement system and a monster-taming turn-based combat twist, I jumped at it. Apparently though, I’m behind. I’d never heard of Nexomon until a few weeks ago, so I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond a bit of a nostalgia-kick for a game many of us grew up playing that just isn’t the same these days even if it’s still fun anyway. I received much more, and found a favorite.
The game starts off about as I expected, pick your gender, type your name, wake up as a preteen child in your room with your parents (both of them in this!) downstairs, deflecting questions about the machine in the basement. Head outside to find your friend being harassed by some darkly-clad masked dudes without any glaring red consonants on their uniform trying to steal her Nexomon, some exposition happens and you intervene, and then the powerful and famous Nexolord appears, emerging from your house and leaving a crater in the road outside. Your friend, Ellie, is an apparent child-robotics genius because she immediately hands you a sentient robot that explicitly *isn’t* a Nexomon, and your adventure begins; the Nexolord had been the boss of the bad guy and you didn’t trust him.
Seven starters to choose from in this game, one for each creature type. I’m usually a water-type starter, but this time I went with fire, Sprunk, a cute little skunk with a fiery orange splotch on the chest was gonna lead me to whatever my goal actually was. As far as I could tell at this point, I just kinda took off and my parents were cool with it. You can find the other starters in the wild too, each has a rarity of Special. I ended up with Petril’s later forms in my main party with Fethra and Velokitty hanging out in storage as well. The only one I never encountered, in the wild or through a Tamer fight, was Bevy or any later forms. You do see one walking around like it’s carrying wood at a worksite, but that’s not really the same thing.
The first thing we see as we leave our quaint little home of Parum is the Nexoguard, which appears to be a form of law enforcement. We meet them attending to a home that’s very much actively on fire which they helpfully inform you was done by out of control Nexomon Tamers. There’s a few items here, but not much even in the way of dialogue, just a set piece to frame the rest of what’s to come. We learn as we travel that cities are largely run by Overseers, appointed by the Nexolord, who is meant to be the most powerful Nexomon Tamer in the world. The first Overseer runs a gym, the only one there is, and a not-insignificant number of weightlifters seem poised to challenge your approach. They don’t though, and the overseer fight happens right away. Normal type, “fighting” thematic focus, but not too bad when I went through it. Upon victory, you get directed toward the next overseer, Remus, and off you go.
You’ll battle through different towns, biomes, all very clearly themed to a different Type, each with a hub town that’s got a Shop and a Healing Center, but that’s about where the familiarity ends. There’s no real consistent progression between towns as far as what you have to do is concerned, and it definitely kept the game engaging. It doesn’t feel as grindy, and your progress isn’t restricted based on whether or not a member of your team has a probably-otherwise-worthless move or not, and the time melted away as I moved through the game. As you progress, you learn that the nexolord has Champions, four of them, above the Overseers, and that many of the Overseers are actually opposed to the Nexolord. Some are open, some in secret, some change their heart later.
The game really starts turning around the midpoint. You meet the ghost of a man named Ulzar, the first Nexolord, and he tells you the story of Omnicron, a human-hating King of Monsters who birthed seven children, who in turn created their own offspring, which in turn would become what we know as Nexomon. That’s right, our cute and cuddly skunk, whose tail is now actively a shoulder-mounted flamethrower, and all our other Nexomon friends, are actually the direct creation of mankind-destroying monsters, and themselves hold the potential for that destruction again should Omnicron ever return. You fight Hilda, a ghost-themed wind-type Overseer who turned her whole village into spirits. It’s viewed as a curse by all who live there, and you’re led to believe she’s evil, until you learn what the Nexolord is planning. He intends on resurrecting Omnicron, and Hilda insists this would mean the death of all of her neighbors, so she turned them into ghosts instead, so that Omnicron’s destruction of humanity wouldn’t sweep them away.
You soon learn the truth of the Champions as well, they’re each one of seven children of Omnicron, and wield immense power you can barely hold off, even victory in the fight actually ending with a functional in-world defeat. Gaining allies and power, you learn of a plot to kidnap scientists, fail to keep your friend from being kidnapped too, and learn of an excavation to uncover a fifth Champion, Grunda of the Earth. Grunda isn’t at full power for the fight, so if you’re not running Fire or Electricity, you’ll be alright.
This journey shows you that nobody likes this Nexolord, he’s been working toward this dark tyrannical path ever since he took the title upon defeating his predecessor, and you end up leading an all-out assault on Nexolord Tower by the end, failing to prevent the resurrection of Omnicron and learning that the Nexolord is himself the seventh child of Omnicron, and that your bond with your team prevents them from turning against you, even in the King of Monster’s presence. The tower is the four champions one after another, in themed rooms with a full heal between, culminating in a five-phase fight with Omnicron that repeats the same process without the healing break between, and then absolutely slams you in the face in the fifth phase, with Omnicron himself being Normal, so untyped and without particular weakness, and swinging for way higher than the last four phases swung for, using moves from each.
A wonderfully written and scored monster-catching adventure in which you lead a glorious revolution against a tyrannical inhuman ruler bent on mankind’s destruction, where the real power was the friends you made along the way.Score: 8 / 10