Ni No Kuni Cross Worlds Is A Robust Mobile MMO That Mostly Plays Itself
There's a lot to do in Cross Worlds, but the game can do much of it itself.
My swordsman travels the world in search of adventure, battling monsters and helping those in need along the way. Multiple whimsical companions join in his quest, with the chubby and batlike Cluu acting as his right-hand monster. An entire world is succumbing to darkness, and it's up to us to save the day--even if I don't have to do much to make it happen. Ni no Kuni Cross Worlds is a meaty mobile RPG with hours of content, but a lot of that time can be spent letting the game do its own thing.
When the game begins, you're dropped into a virtual reality game called Soul Divers--continuing the isekai-esque themes of Ni no Kuni as a whole (only without the time travel). You choose between five different classes: rogue, destroyer, witch, engineer, and the aforementioned swordsman. Each character can be customized with costumes and colors before given a name and sent into the adventure. From there it's standard RPG fare: watch cutscenes, battle monsters, and explore the world.
What's interesting here is how you interact with this world, or rather, how you don't. By touching the active quest banner on the left side of the screen, your hero travels to the designated area and begins the quest. If the quest involves fighting monsters, the hero will engage and defeat them without so much as a single tap on the screen. As I'm writing this paragraph, my swordsman is wandering through the Kingdom of Evermore and its surrounding area looking for a familiar--the small companions that fight at his side--for a quest.
It's odd, sure, but in a way it's a cool idea: By allowing the player to make progress even when they might be needed with other tasks, the game can be treated like having the TV on while working from home. Granted it's not entirely autonomous; there seems to be no way to have the in-game dialogue progress on its own, meaning every dialogue box must be tapped to proceed. Most questlines require at least a little bit of talking, so you need to throw the occasional tap at the screen to continue. If you're grinding monsters in a dungeon, however, you can simply tell the game to engage and leave it alone. In writing it sounds bogus--why would a game offer a way to not play it--but in practice it's actually clever. I personally have logged a ton of hours into the game that simply would not have been possible without this option.
When you do have the ability to focus solely on it, though, Ni no Kuni Cross Worlds offers a ton of things to do outside of the main questline. Reputation quests make you more popular in specific zones, opening up more opportunities. Bounties sometimes spawn and give you a massive challenge in exchange for great rewards. The Labyrinth of Dreams is a repeating dungeon with 150 levels to clear from the jump. The Familiar's Cradle is a mini tower defense game where you repel waves of enemy boar soldiers--called Boarriors, which is delightful--in order to earn new Familiars to bring into battle. These are just a few examples, but it's easy to see this game is ripe with content.
Controlling the action is simple when you're manually moving the action along, thanks to clear and easily understood touch controls. Movement is on the left side of the screen, attacks and abilities are on the right, and Familiars can be switched mid-battle via the bottom of the screen. Menus are easy to navigate, and the directions for every mission or side quest are crystal clear. The game is incredibly inviting to new players, be they new to RPGS, new to Ni no Kuni, or new to video games in general.
When you're not roaming an endless dungeon or auto-completing quests, there's an array of customization and power-up options available to make your character stronger. You can earn skills, upgrade your class to gain new attacks, upgrade your equipment to boost your stats, find different class-specific costumes to wear, and the list goes on. Eventually you'll be so powerful that not only can your hero fight your battles for you, they'll be able to do so without suffering a single point of damage. If you have to take a rest, feel free; not only will the game drop you right where you left off, but it gives you a reward for taking a rest too. Nothing like coming back into a game only to find you're 10,000 Gold richer simply because it was bedtime.
For a mobile MMO, Ni no Kuni Cross Worlds offers a lot to any player who might venture into its world. There's plenty of monsters to fight and multiple arenas to do so, there's an engaging narrative through-line that will make you want to learn more, and the five different classes cater to various styles of play, whether you're a straightforward swordsman or a dashing rogue. In the hours I've spent with the game I never felt I was grinding for levels or stuck on a particular mission; Cross Worlds does a great job of keeping me engaged even when I couldn't be.
Ni no Kuni Cross Worlds will be available on iOS and Android on May 25. Players can pre-register and pre-download the game now.
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