If you’re familiar with the world of Ni no Kuni, you might be glad to hear that you can now enter it via your mobile phone.
Available now on iOS and Android, Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds can also be played on PC but it’s very much a mobile-oriented game. Select a quest and you’ll find that the game mostly plays itself, leaving you free to enjoy the beautifully realised world and simply take things in. There’s the occasional quick time event during story scenes, requiring you to recreate the motion of sliding your finger across the screen by grabbing and moving your mouse. So, you can play on PC if you wish, and if you do you’ll enjoy an improved performance and visuals that are more sumptuous. But the convenience of playing mobile ultimately wins out.
Either way, sinking into the world of Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds is a treat. After creating your character, choosing one of the five classes available and then tweaking their appearance to your preferences, you’re thrown into what appears to be a grand tale. Entering a virtual reality experience called Soul Divers, you find yourself in the Nameless Kingdom, where a princess is in peril. Her quick actions get you – and her pet servant Cluu – to safety. And so your adventure begins, with the aim of seeking out the assistance you need to free the Nameless Kingdom from the clutches of evil.
Ultimately, you come to realise that the world you’ve entered isn’t quite so virtual after all. Needless to say, the stakes are raised. After all, the fate of two worlds now rests on your shoulders. But thanks to the friends and familiars around you, it’s a burden you don’t have to carry alone. It’s a fairly typical JRPG setup, but that doesn’t make it any less engaging. Besides, the charm of the Ni no Kuni world is enough to make it stand out, what with its cute familiars and colourful visuals. Especially when you consider that this is a mobile game.
And for those who are into JRPGs there seems to be a lot to love here. The narrative is genuinely interesting, and there’s even a decent amount of voice acting to draw you further into the game’s story. All of the other typical JRPG features are intact, too, such as equippable gear which can be upgraded, and a whole host of skills which can be learned and equipped. As this is a Ni no Kuni game, there are, many familiars to acquire as well, and up to three can be equipped ant any one time to bolster your combat abilities.
While quests can feel a bit passive at times, what with your character moving of their own accord to complete them when accepted, you can take control if you see something that piques your interest along the way. You have complete control between quests as well, allowing you to explore area to your heart’s content. For the most part though, you’ll be glad that Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds pushes you forward, as it keeps you encountering new things while taking the stress out of navigating a 3D world with a mobile device.
It’s just a shame that combat largely plays out on its own, too, as it’s the one area where it feels like your input should make a difference. Though even when you do get control, the action-based system simply find you pushing onscreen buttons to perform standard and special attacks, and sometimes calling upon familiars to use their unique abilities. It’s all very simple, which is both a strength and a weakness. For avid gamers there isn’t much challenge here, but for those who want a casual experience, it’s simply fun to be along for the ride.
In any case, with Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds being free-to-play, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a download if it piques your interest. At the moment, all signs point to it being an enjoyable way to spend those moments of downtime, especially with its wonderful soundtrack. And while we imagine it will eventually throw plenty of menial quests our way that aren’t so crucial to the story, its beautifully realised world and laid-back nature probably won’t make them feel all that arduous. As mobile games go, this is certainly one to watch.
Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds is available now on iOS, Android and PC.