Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds Preview – A Whimsical Fairy MMO Tale

Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds Preview




There’s no escaping the fact that the latest Ni no Kuni games are gorgeous adventures with quirky characters and breathtaking scenes. When Netmarble decided to expand on the franchise by creating an MMORPG spin-off, we nodded and couldn’t wait to hear more about it. Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds is the result of a collaboration with Level-5 and features all the charm and magic of the previous games, but with an added massively multiplayer twist. From what we have experienced before release, it goes beyond and above what we expected, as there’s more to it than wonderful looks and bright colors.

A World Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds Preview

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Anyone familiar with Ni no Kuni knows that the series is basically grounded on a fantasy setting. However, Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds spices it up with a plot twist that we did not see coming, at least until it was revealed through various trailers – you, the player, is a beta tester for a virtual reality game called Soul Divers, and this is how your adventure begins. You enter the world of Ni no Kuni and find out that things are falling apart somewhat, and you are asked to intervene. Besides, something seems off – this doesn’t feel like a game, it feels real… Could there be more to it?

The answer is, obviously, a resounding yes, but I don’t want to go into spoiler territory. Let’s just say that you are now inside this world and must dig deeper to find out what is going on. I wish I could see more of our world in the game, but so far there was no location or option to jump back to our reality, who knows if something like this is in store later in the adventure.

Before diving into this brand new world, you must pick one class out of the five available: Witch, Rogue, Destroyer, Engineer, and Swordsman. The classes are varied enough, although gender-locked, and you may find some of the usual roles here, including the tank and the support class. It’s not a matter of picking the allegedly best class, since there’s no such thing – as always, it depends on your playstyle and, personally speaking, the visual design, something that makes matters even more complicated in a gorgeous game like this one.

Make Yourself at Home

The beginning of the adventure does feel a little conventional, terrific aesthetics aside; we are taken by the hand in a series of quests that serve as an extended tutorial, introducing this new world to us, meeting new characters, and unlocking tons of options during the first day or two. This intro isn’t meant to be a challenge, but more of a world-building effort where you see feature after feature opening at a constant pace. Quests and even combat are handled automatically, a choice that will never be consensual, but ends up making sense as the true challenges will appear later, and request your undivided attention. Leveling up your class and increasing its combat power is a task that will take you through many menus, as you enhance and polish gear, hatch and train Familiars, and decorate your very own corner of paradise in the Forest.

The Forest is your place to relax in this world, the farm where you set your Familiars free and watch them frolic around in all their cuteness. At heart, this is the housing system of Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds, where you can place tents, trees, and tomato fields for that inevitable bit of agricultural leisure. It ends up being another way of leveling up your character as well, albeit in a much more relaxed style.

But what are these Familiars that I keep babbling on about? They are your little adventure companions, your cute battle buddies that come in different rarities and are eager to evolve into fearsome warriors. They are one of the options available in the Summon, which also includes equipment and costume banners. Familiars are far from being shallow, they have a wide range of aspects that deserve careful consideration, such as their elemental disposition, or being an attack or defense type. Although it may seem tempting to let the choice bow down to cuteness, it does require more thought than that.

Combat does feel appealing, and you can be certain that auto-battling isn’t going to take you through all the challenges. Soon you’ll find out that resorting to manual control – or at least semi-auto – is vital to overcome some bosses and even mobs. Luckily, we have very capable combat mechanics in place, with the option to pick one of three different weapons on-the-fly due to the elemental nature of each enemy. You have the convenient dodge, class active and passive skills, and special abilities, more than enough for you to tailor a build to your liking.

Your Adventure, Your Kingdom

Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds has a strong community focus which even includes taking pictures of your character and uploading them to your in-game wall for others to see, rate and comment. But the biggest social feature is undoubtedly the Kingdom, where various members unite and strive for the same goal. At its core it’s the guild system that we know and love, but with an actual kingdom to expand and decorate. Sadly, I couldn’t explore the kingdom’s possibilities in full due to the lack of players online, but I can see it becoming a go-to place.

Don’t let the easygoing start of your adventure in Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds fool you – things will get more demanding after a few days of leveling up, as you explore new regions and discover different ways of advancing your combat power. Between some fluffy dice kicking, Familiar hugging and PvP brawls, there’s always something to see and do, including massive world bosses and hidden collectibles. Take your time to enjoy the marvelous sights, the dialogues with your loyal but overly excited companion Cluu, and you’ll get the most out of this adventure. Who knows, it may end up being more than a videogame, after all.

Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds launches globally on May 25, 2022 for PC, Android, and iOS. It is a free-to-play game with optional microtransactions. You can get some free in-game goodies if you pre-register, check the official website for more information.




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