Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds

Gamer reviews for Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds

Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds Review - From mainstream to mobile. How does it hold up?

Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds Review - From mainstream to mobile. How does it hold up?

Developer: Netmarble

Platforms: Android, iOS, PC

Release Date: May 25, 2022

Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds is set in the beautiful and vibrant world as imagined by Studio Ghibli and Level 5. Netmarble did a great job adapting the IP into the mobile platform, making it accessible to a lot of players as the other mainstream NNK titles are only available on PC and consoles. However, unlike the mainstream games which are exceptional, single-player experiences, NNKCW is an MMOPRG. While most of the game’s content can be tackled single-handedly, there are certain game modes and repeatable boss encounters that will require forming a party with other players. The game also has solo and team-based PvP modes to the competitive types who want to test their mettle against other players - but more on that later.

We’ll start off with the starting characters. There are five hero types to choose from, each with their own strength, weakness, and of course personalities. We have the small and brash Rogue, who is a very capable archer that can also buff his party members. The hulking Destroyer, the game’s stereotypical tank class that wields a hammer in combat - perfect for crowd control and survivability. Next, we have the Witch; a pretty and elegant young lady who is also a deadly spellcaster that wields a floating spear for some reason. The engineer is a young, energetic girl that’s a fan of using firearms and machines to fight while also taking the role of a party healer, and finally, the charming Swordsman who exudes “big main protagonist” energy while being a very capable and flashy fighter.

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All five heroes can be customized by the player to their liking but don’t expect too many customization options in this game. The game will eventually allow you to mix and match hairstyles, outfits, and other superficial decorations using the in-game Costume option. However, the character’s skin color, body type, and height can’t be modified without purchasing an Appearance Change ticket. You can buy this ticket from the shop for 300 diamonds.

All heroes are playable to the player and they can freely switch between heroes, if they wish to build and try them out. Furthermore, any hero the player chooses will share the same name which is going to be based on the player’s registered account name. Additionally, all heroes you’ll create under the same account and server will share the same inventory. Aside from weapons that are class-locked, shared heroes will be able to wear the same armor and deploy whatever familiars they have collected. This means that new heroes under the same account will have an easier time plowing through the content early in the game.

The game offers a convenient auto-combat and auto-tracking features for quests. This means that you just have to tap the quest or task you want to do, and 95% of the time, your character will automatically head to the quest location and NPC, and perform actions needed for the quest like examining key points, investigating the area, talking to other NPCs, and even combat. Even during combat, as long as the weapons and skills are properly set, your hero will automatically fight and execute combos without the need of your input. By default, your hero will only react when he/she is attacked but you can toggle that so your hero will actively seek out enemies to destroy.

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In your journey, you’ll be accompanied by Familiars. These creatures are your pets. Their stats contribute towards your hero’s CP (combat power), while also capable combat companions, thanks to their active and passive skills. Familiars can be leveled up, upgraded, and even given equipment in the form of toys, further increasing their CP contribution and combat capability. You can get these creatures for free but they can also be acquired through Summoning - the game’s gacha system. But more on that a bit later.

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Due to the game’s auto-battle feature, you can expect for some players to mindlessly farm field monsters for hours on end. However, this is only convenient for players on the PC or those using emulators. For ordinary mobile users, their devices will heat up excessively and even run out of power. Thankfully, the game has an AI Mode where the game will allow the character to fight offline and gain rewards for the player. The main catch is that characters can still die in combat if the player is offline so it is recommended to have an ample stock of healing potions whenever this feature is used. The game also provides Rest Rewards to players which encourages resting from the game. The longer the player didn’t boot the game from the last session, the better the Rest rewards will be.

That just about covers up the gameplay. Now, let’s discuss the game’s visuals and sounds. First, let’s quickly cover the game’s audio. The background music is amazing, thanks to the compositions of renowned and award-winning composer, Joe Hisaishi who also worked on mainstream Ni no Kuni games and other Ghibli movies. There are voiced NPC lines in the game but not the full dialogue. Other than that, the game’s sound effects and ambient music are both immersive and add up to the experience.

For the visuals, the game boasts a smooth cel-shaded motif that’s consistent from characters and the environment. The character and creature designs are smooth, cartoony, and fantastical, which gives us the perfect Ghibli vibes going. The environment is beautifully designed and it’s easy to stop what you're doing and just appreciate the imaginative world. Combat animations are smooth and flashy, with no FPS drops or screen tearing from all the action happening on the screen. Of course, your device’s hardware limitations might contradict what I’m saying here but when run on a powerful device or emulator at max settings, the game looks stunning.

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Next, let’s get the crypto-currency aspect of the game out of the way. Yes, there is a system like that in the game. To explain it simply, you earn the in-game currency called Territe by playing the game (dailies, familiar adventure, and defeating monsters in Chaos Fields). Territe is used for various in-game power up options like upgrading your weapons and familiar, crafting gear, etc. Territe can also be converted to Territe Token (NKT) which in turn can be used in the Marblex wallet (crypto wallet) that they can use and distribute and outside the game (store, exchange, sell, purchase). While I do understand most people’s negative view regarding NFTs and crypto, this doesn’t make the game any less enjoyable. You can just ignore this aspect of the game if you’re not into crypto since the game’s content is not FULLY locked behind Territe anyway.

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Finally, let’s talk about the game’s gacha system and in-app purchases. The game does have a gacha system in the form of Summons. If you’re playing other mobile games with gacha elements, then you’re already familiar with how the system works. You’ll spend premium currency or special items for a chance to get something from the pool of possible prizes/items/characters. The rarer/more valuable items or characters have a lower drop or appearance rate compared to their uncommon or common counterparts. Every pull is random and you can either be lucky or not. You can use Summon Coupons or Diamonds when summoning, with the latter being a premium currency in the game.

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The game also offers a pity system guarantees a player with a 4* and Rare 4* as they keep earning Loyalty Points. 1 Loyalty Point is earned every diamond summon, and 0.5 points are awarded when Summon Coupons are used. Once you’ve earned 100 loyalty points, you’ll get a guaranteed 4*. Upon reaching 200 points, you’ll get a guaranteed rare 4*.

The game doesn’t have ads (or any need to) and they don’t have aggressive “in-your-face” notifications about their in-app purchases. The in-game shop has a lot of offerings, with a handful of free stuff that can be claimed by all players, regardless if they’re paying or not.

At the end of the day, how much you’ll enjoy Ni no Kuni Cross Worlds will depend on your long-term objective in the game. Do you want to just go with the flow and conquer as much single-player content you want? Do you want to join a guild and actively play with friends? Or do you want to dominate the PvP scene? Ni no Kuni Cross Worlds has something to offer for every player and with what I have experienced so far, the game holds up on its own as one of the premium free-to-play mobile games out there. Of course, only time will tell if the game will maintain this quality or will it fall from grace in the volatile and highly-competitive mobile game market.

4.5 / 5.0
Review by vhayste | Jun 1st 2022

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