Drinkbox Studios is known for its colourful, offbeat games, and its latest offering, Nobody Saves the World, is no different.
You’re probably used to choosing a character class before you start playing a game; a particular type of character with its own attacks and skillsets. What you’re probably not used to is frequently switching between more than a dozen character classes as you play, making use of each individual’s abilities, and being able to share an impressive roster of unique skills. Enter Nobody Saves the World, a game where one minute you’ll be playing as a mermaid, the next a slug or a magician. And it’s marvellous.
A lite-RPG action adventure, Nobody Saves the World casts you as, well, nobody. Finding yourself trapped in a dungeon as a formless humanoid, you’ve only got one item to your name: a magic wand. This isn’t just any magic wand, though. It has the power to change you into another form. That’s only a rat to begin with, but it’s enough to get you out of the dungeon by squeezing through a hole in the wall.
As you play through Nobody Saves the World, you’ll unlock new forms. You won’t need to use each and every one of them, but you’ll need to switch frequently to make use of specific skills. The mermaid or turtle, for example, are the only characters who can swim, so you’ll need to make use of them to traverse waterlogged areas of the map. You’ll probably want to unlock all of them, though, because every character has its own quirks and they’re fun to try. How about a bodybuilder who pummels his enemies with a barbell? Or a horse who can kick his opponents into oblivion? You’ll undoubtedly have your favourites, but they’re all worth a try.
Unlocking new forms means working your way through a tree of sorts, levelling up earlier forms by completing a range of quests. Using certain skills and killing enemies in a particular way will earn you XP, and as you gain XP you’ll level up. There’s an overall level for your character, and each form has a grade. Between quests specific to each form, and quests that can be completed no matter who you’re playing as, Nobody Saves the World constantly keeps you occupied with new challenges to complete.
There is a narrative to Nobody Saves the World which, as the title might suggest, involves saving the world. Isn’t it always? You’ll need to earn stars to progress, which ultimately unlock key dungeons you’ll need to complete. You’ll earn stars by completing the afore-mentioned quests as well as completing lesser dungeons which, for the most part, you can complete in any order you’d like. The world of Nobody Saves the World is your oyster, and you can tackle it as you see fit.
Of course, there are level recommendations for each area, and so it’s easy to stumble into a part of the world that you’re just not ready for yet. You do level up at a steady rate though, particularly if you keep switching between characters to complete their individual challenges. Things can err ever so slightly into grinding territory when it comes to unlocking some of the later character forms – but for the most part, playing Nobody Saves the World is that much fun that you won’t mind.
This is a bizarre and delightful adventure from start to finish, and it kept me hooked for the entirety of its 15-or-so hour runtime. And I’ll certainly be jumping into New Game Plus mode before long. There’s a satisfying gameplay flow, with a mixture of dungeons to complete, mini side quests to find, and dozens of brilliant NPCs to engage with. Combat is at the heart of the game, which is simple but fun, and hugely customisable thanks to the range of forms available at your disposal.
You see, each form has its own signature skill, then three other abilities which unlock as you level up. The fun of combat comes in mixing and matching different abilities across forms. Who says your Guard can’t have the Zombie’s ability to bring back enemies as the undead? And why shouldn’t your Necromancer be able to gallop through enemies unscathed, like your Horse? Each ability has a particular attribute, such as being a ‘dark’ or ‘sharp’ attack – and since some enemies can only be hurt using the relevant type of attack, it pays to have a character form that can make use of multiple attributes. You can change forms mid-fight if you need to, but it’s much more convenient to have all the attacks you need in one form.
This speaks for itself via screenshots, but Nobody Saves the World is a beautiful-looking game. Its top-down 2D cartoon aesthetic is incredibly eye-catching, and every area of its world, and indeed every character, exudes personality. It’s colourful and playful, and that’s reflected in its writing too. Practically every conversation you have with a non-playable character will bring a smile to your face.
Making your way around Nobody Saves the World‘s map is nothing but a pure joy. This gorgeous, whimsical adventure feels like a more playful A Link to the Past at times – if A Link to the Past had you changing into a slug or a zombie, that is. If you’re a fan of accessible action RPGs and enjoy laying waste to tonnes of enemies, you can’t go wrong here. Once again, Drinkbox Studios has taken an oversaturated genre and turned it into something unique and delightful.
Nobody Saves the World Review – GameSpew’s Score